First day of vacation is always a nice opportunity to sleep in and take life at your own pace instead of the pace your work schedule demands. So we slept in all the way to 6am, because our bodies get used to a routine and don’t understand the freedom of vacation… it’s just another day. Gotta get up! We have a family reunion to attend over the weekend, but we got down to our destination a day early to have time to do our hiking and exploring of the local parks and wildlife that we enjoy.
Ridgefield NWR is an area along the Washington side of the Columbia River just north of Vancouver, WA. which is a cross-the-sate-line suburb of Portland, OR. This particular place has very different flora and fauna than what we are used to up in the Puget Sound, the most notable difference was the huge wide oak trees and lack of the tall douglas fir. We heard the usual Stellar Blue Jay call at the RV park where we are staying, but the first bird I saw at the refuge was another blue jay species. All in all this is a very hot and dry time of year and the lake we walked around looked dried up, but there is still a lot of interesting wildlife activity to enjoy. With the lack of a shady tree canopy… definitely bring sunscreen and drinking water.
We always look at the trailhead map and start out with a gameplan hike that most generally we follow through without much improvisation. This time we had a little more improvisation and “create your own” trail than what we anticipated. The sectors on the map of the different tracts are to be trusted and anything that looks like a trail loop that isn’t on the map… really isn’t a loop. We learned that lesson the hard way and made our way back to the parking lot following the decommissioned D line on a very busy railway line coming out of Portland no doubt. We didn’t get run over, but waved and smiled real big for the Amtrak folks… up close and personal.