Yesterday we figured out that if we want to do 50 miles before the rain starts, we should average 6-8 miles per week. I think we may be doing some hiking in the rain!
Nevertheless, today was a good day to get some of those miles into our log. Josh did the trial pick this time and we headed down I-5 to Ankeny Wildlife Reserve. It is always a thrill to explore new trails and this was the first of our hikes that was new to us.
Knowing there was the potential again for withered, hot children we stopped quickly for some spray bottles. These were indeed lifesavers and should be packed in every family hiking pack.
The trail started off quite nicely. A path through woods followed by the entrance to a boardwalk. Before we entered we saw another hiker coming off of a seemingly overgrown grass path straight ahead but we chose the boardwalk. Unlike Jackson-Frasier, this boardwalk is raised significantly. The pounding of the kids feet running ahead thundered through the forest. Fortunately there weren't any bird-watching people annoyed at the frantic exodus of all their subjects. Needless to say, we did not see too many birds. We did see some huge tadpoles, a blue heron, some ducks, red-winged blackbirds and little bush-hopping birds of various kinds. The quiet patience required for bird-watching will take some developing.
|Lily was very tired after a late night with cousins.|
|Hiking has a way of making one feel very small|
|A bird blind...if you have the patience|
Once we got to the end of the boardwalk, we decided to follow the grass trail around the pond. It was listed as a good place to take a morning walk because of the heat. For future reference, this would be a good thing to heed. About halfway around, everyone began to drag their feet, complain of the itchy grass, and ask the dreaded, "are we there yet?" If you have never experience the walking version of "are we there yet" believe me when I say it is much worse than the car version.
It is a delicate balance of urging them on and giving them breaks. I will admit that the Israelite wandering crossed my mind several times. There was a quick lesson on the songs sung to keep people going and in step, but when the stride size of your group is so varied, it is almost impossible to keep rhythm.
The road circled around the wetland and just when we were sure to be coming to the end, it just. kept. going!
Josh says these times are necessary and good.
Finally we made it! Not to the overgrown path where we passed the other hiker (where I supposed we were supposed to come out) but back near the beginning of the trail. The plan had been to loop back around and take another wooded trail, but with five exhausted children it was best to take a poll.
The thought of a wooded, unexplored path was enough to tip the scales so off we went down the boardwalk once again.
The trail was narrow and a bit overgrown but all the better to explore, right?
There are some unmarked portions of the trail, but it is easy to find your way around for the most part.
|I love this one.|
|Lily learned how to steer Josh by the head|
|Don't bring your dog...you'll be disappointed as will the birds.|
Ankeny Wildlife Reserve is just about half way between Albany and Salem on Interstate-5. Take Exit 243 and follow the signs back over I-5 to the left. Driving West, you will arrive at the intersection of two roads: Wintel and Ankeny. Both will lead you around to the trail, but Wintel will get you there faster. If you take Ankeny, you will drive around the reserve before coming to the trail-head on your right. There are plenty of signs. Look for the "Rail Trail" sign on Wintel Road.
The Paths are nice up until the end of the boardwalk. Once you reach the end you have a couple different options. Option 1: Turn left on the grass road and walk around a lake and back to the trail. Look carefully for a small path that will take you back to the boardwalk if you don't want to take the long way around. It was a nice walk, but the grass was long-ish and the weather was hot (for Oregonians). Option 2: head straight across the grass road and slightly to the left. You will see a small trail going downhill. This will take you on a nice walk through a forest. Note: it is a bit overgrown and does contain some thorns along the path. If you have a child who likes to whack things out of the way...let them go first. When you hit a spot that looks like you are coming into a random field you have found the entrance back onto the grass road! Turn right and walk until you are back to the boardwalk.
Advice for this trail:
wear long pants and or socks