Apr 18, 2014

Just another river walk

There is no such thing as a boring walk along the river.   Rivers everywhere are vital, nourishing places for many kinds of life.   But in our dry climate, a river is an especially lively place, in all seasons and at all times of the year.   Thursday is Date Day for us each week, and  the sweetheart and I keep various local river walks in our back pockets, so to speak, to pull out when we are tired or the weather is bad or we just want to see the latest developments in the river flowing through our town.

One of our easy river walks is a loop leaving from Ye Olde Mille Districte -- our name for the former lumber mill on the banks of the Deschutes River, now turned into an upscale (for Bend) shopping mall, complete with restaurants, the usual chain clothing stores (Banana Republic, the Gap, and the naughty nighty place I can't recall the name of right now), movie theaters, etc.  
The loop heads upstream along the river, and soon enters the pine forests and rocky bluffs of the canyon.  This is a popular trail for shoppers, runners, dog walkers and people you would never expect to see on a 'hiking' trail.   

There is always something to see, and yesterday was no exception.  The first sight we saw leaving the parking lot was, apparently, The Lewis and Clark Expedition in red plastic boats.

There were several more, but, they were spread out all over the river.  There were even a couple of stand-up paddle boarders, the first we've seen this year (background above).   (We routinely ridicule these devices as the lamest, most uncomfortable things ever invented -- but these guys showed more intelligence than most by exiting the cold water soon thereafter).

On closer inspection, the boats turned out to be full of children, suitably bundled up for the weather (it was raining) and accompanied by a presumably knowledgeable adult at the prow of each boat.

Continuing past the shivering masses, we came upon one of the first plants to bloom here:

a wonderful native formerly known as Squaw Currant, but of course now more respectfully renamed Wax Currant.  Sweet pink bells cover the bushes.

Sadly, although common everywhere here, the berries are mealy and tasteless, though deer eat them. 

Continuing up the canyon, we eventually reached the turnaround point, the Bridge of Khazad-dûm
and a good thing, too, because I was getting hungry and starting to bonk.
We did a group selfie by the bridge.

 If you're wondering about the odd expression on my face, it was just because I was thinking about nibbling on some nearby earlobes.   Why not, he didn't need them.

Fast forward to the final stretches of the trail, where it leaves the canyon and comes back out into open woodland.   Someone had thoughtfully decorated a trailside tree

 with a few words along with the easter eggs

Seriously, this is a great trail.  I don't know who the trail fairies are, but I appreciate their work.

Other local residents add their own special mark:

 By this time I was so famished I even considered trying a bit of tree bark.   But we made it back for a proper human lunch and left the beavers to their lignin feast.

Just another river walk.

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