Sitka Sedge State Natural Area is described as "rarely visited" - just the ticket for a tired and anxious soul needing a clean breath of air.
I spent an afternoon purposefully looking down, taking in the things I take for granted in my neighborhood as I reel repeatedly, round and round. I suddenly noticed art on the ground, lines and patterns, color and texture, life at a different level. It's something new anyway, a novelty in my shrinking world.
So many things can make or break a hike. What makes a hike a good hike for you? Here's what I noticed last time I went to the woods.
Basalt cliffs rose up straight up before us, and I imagined the floods advancing and receding repeatedly at the end of the Ice Age, the entire area being underwater, wiping out whatever was here before.
I spent April chasing Oregon's elusive wildflower bounty, hoping to catch the brief moment in time when tight little buds transform into fields of color.
More of a nature park in the making, the most interesting parts of Graham Oaks Nature Park are not what I expected - the history, ecology, plans for the future, and a fantastic shining white view of Mt. Hood.
But what a difference a day makes. Last Friday most everything melted. The skies cleared and views of the Cascades showed gleaming snow-capped peaks. Clouds of the white and fluffy sort drifted lazily in a dazzling blue sky. The temperature climbed to 50, which we haven't seen in a while. Or at least I don't remember; perhaps it's frozen out of recollection.
Winter teases with a promise of renewal as new growth pops up, often subtle but sometimes shouting out loud. There really is reason to go outside.
An old railroad is given new life, and a reminder to mix life's sweetness with the challenges.
Hiking the Columbia Gorge is always a thrill, and finding a big rock to climb lets me to take the long view.