Fall, hiking, History

Hike — Willamette Mission State Park

On Saturday we went out to Willamette Mission State Park for a short hike. The ladies at church have asked me to lead a hike in October, and I wanted to recce and see where the picnic areas and bathrooms are on the trail I want to walk, and pick a good spot for everyone to meet. We parked at the first parking lot and walked about a mile and a half to the Filbert Grove day use area, where we started what was supposed to be a 4.2 mile loop. The park is fairly flat, no hills to worry about. I wanted something that pretty much anyone could do since I’m not sure of the fitness level of the ladies who might want to join us. I also wanted to find a good place to have a snack or lunch with the ladies.

Willamette Mission Park also has a lot of history, so I hope to be able to present some history of the park to the ladies as well. This year Oregon is celebrating 100 years of its State Parks system.

Jason Lee and the Willamette Mission
100 years of Oregon’s State Parks system.

Near the parking lot we passed some blackberry bushes and Linda had to give some a try.

Someone stuck a feather in this post.

The sky was very hazy due to some fires happening around the area. We didn’t smell smoke though, and didn’t have any trouble breathing. It was supposed to be sunny and 95 degrees, but I think the haze kept things a little cooler. The sun didn’t come out much at all.

Hazy sky
The sun looked like this (zoomed in)

On our way to the Filbert Grove, we stopped to use the bathroom and saw some horses. The riders were standing on a picnic table to get up onto the horses! There are many equestrian trails at the park.

Once we got to the Filbert Grove area, we took a path that led to the 4.2-mile Willamette Mission Loop, found on the AllTrails app. The loop is on mostly paved paths with a smaller part on dirt trails. On our walk we detoured a bit to go to the Wheatland Ferry dock to watch the ferry for a minute. A man went down to the water to fish for wide-mouth bass.

Wheatland Ferry
Someone left these headphones on the little bridge (?)
The man caught a bass and was getting out his phone to take a photo. He let the fish go after he got a picture of it.

Here is some more of the history of the park. The Willamette Station of the Methodist Mission was started across the lake there in 1834. Some “ghost buildings” have been placed to represent the first mission buildings that were built on that site.

If you zoom in on this photo you can read the history of the Mission.
Mission “ghost buildings”.

On the walk you can see the nation’s largest black cottonwood tree across the lake.

Nation’s Largest Black Cottonwood
Cottonwood sign. You can see the tree in the background.

Marnie is very good about picking up trash along the way. She found more than one cigarette butt. Really, smokers? I mean, come ON.

Marnie does trail maintence.

Dirt trail.

Paved path.

There were still a few flowers and berries left here and there.

Mystery berries. We didn’t eat any.

Teasel

Pine tree.

Rose hips.

Osprey nest.

They have their own sign.

There were no ospreys in the nest that we could see, which was too bad. I guess it isn’t time for osprey babies. We saw many birds and squirrels during the day and a couple of deer that were too far away to get a photo of them, and one of these orange and black caterpillars. We wondered what kind of butterfly those turn into. (Edit: They turn into the Isabella Tiger Moth.)

Wooly Bear caterpillar.

The loop was supposed to be 4.2 miles, but somehow all our various devices said we walked between 8.5 and 10 miles. With the extra mile and a half each way back to the car from the loop start we would have added 3 miles, but we wouldn’t have made it to 8 or 10 so I’m not sure how that happened. My feet sure felt like it was more than 4.2 though! We had a good walk and I know a lot more than I did about how to plan for the ladies’ hike in October.

A warm and hazy day.

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