Saturday, February 29, 2020

Sandy River Delta

Next up, here's a photoset from a few hours wandering around the Sandy River Delta, just east of Troutdale, at the western edge of the Columbia Gorge. It's been public land since 1991 when the Forest Service bought it, but I'd never been there, so I thought I'd go check it out. It's basically 1500 acres of low, flat, and sometimes swampy land, with a trail network that OregonHikers rates firmly in the "Easy" category. The key thing to know about it is that it's essentially a huge off-leash dog park, so be prepared to say hello to lots of excitable, friendly, muddy dogs. Strictly speaking dogs are supposed to be on leashes within 100 feet of the Confluence Trail, but I didn't encounter a single person or dog obeying that rule. The area also allows horses on some trails, but I didn't encounter any the day I was there. Come to think of it, I can't remember the last time I ran across any horses on multiple-use trails that allow them. I don't know whether owning horses is less popular than it once was, or it's just due to chance and timing.

Anyway, as an unaccompanied two-legged visitor the main thing I wanted to see was Bird Blind, a Maya Lin art installation along the Columbia River, at the far end of the aforementioned Confluence Trail. Which gave me a rare chance to combine two of this humble blog's ongoing projects (which was nice since art posts have been pretty rare over the last year or two). So the art at the end of the trail is a small round structure, built in 2008 for the 200th-ish anniversary of the Lewis & Clark expedition, part of a larger series of installations between Astoria and Clarkston, WA. I didn't really notice a lot of birds there so I can't speak to its bird blind qualities; possibly the art and the dog park are working at cross purposes here. In any case, I took a batch of photos of it from various exciting angles, because Art, and continued on with my loop around the place.

Eventually I ended up at a viewpoint along the Sandy River side of the park, just in time for a bit of sorta-golden-hour light, with dark storm clouds rolling in off in the distance. (Note that "golden hour" meant about 3pm, thanks to the season and our, uh, tropically-challenged latitude here.) I liked how some of those photos came out, so I left the photoset in the reverse order Flickr gives you by default. So it starts with those, and then the art photos are more or less in the middle, and the others are sort of 'meh', quite honestly, so that would be today's protip if you have time to look at some photos from a random internet person, but aren't inclined to spend it lingering over each and every one of them.