Adventures, Animals, Antiquing, hiking

Hike – Miller Woods Conservation Area – Part 2

Here is part 2 of our hike to the Miller Woods Conservation Area near McMinnville, Oregon. Don’t forget to read Part 1 first!

After exploring the pond and field areas, we continued on to the forested areas. The trail was sticky mud in many places and I was glad I had on my waterproof boots!

Kangaroo getting a selfie of us while I get a photo of her, haha!

On the way to see a stream, we found this small plant with a protective fence around it — can you see the plant?

Very spindly shrub.

The plant had this label. Neither of us had heard of a Western Wahoo. Sounds like it should get to be rather a large shrub.

There were these nice benches scattered along the trail, and I thought those people knew how to build a trail right! Oh, how we wished for benches when we were hiking the PCT!

A lovely bench.

We reached this summit…

But this was the view…

In one area some trees had signs. We admitted we would have a difficult time telling the conifers apart without the labels!

Grand Fir

Douglas Fir

Another tree full of nesting boxes

This little guy was on the trail, quite aways up from the stream. We wondered how long it took him to climb all that way, and Kangaroo suggested he might be on a thru-hike 😃

Newt friend. (Photo by Kangaroo – she always gets the best wildlife photos)

This is actually a data collection site for snow. Considering that we seldom have snow here, I thought it was a strange location for it.

After the hike we planed to go to the little town of Lafayette, a few miles away, and go to the antique mall there. We didn’t find anything at the antique mall we couldn’t live without, but there were some interesting items. One was a giant buffalo head that was positioned next to the entry door (I believe they were asking $2700 for it!). Because of the moisture in the air, the poor buffalo smelled like wet dog, ugh! There was also a wonderful secretary desk with supports that automatically came out when you opened the door of the desk. So neat! I didn’t get photos of either of those, unfortunately!

Before we went in to the antique mall we walked a couple of blocks down to get some lunch. We went into the little “Cafeyette” and noticed a sign that said they were serving soup, but no other signs of food except pastries and coffee. I asked the lady what they had for lunch and she said they had sandwiches, ham and turkey. She suggested that olives on the sandwich would be delicious, so I chose to have everything except onions on my sandwich, and Kangaroo chose everything as well and did add onions. As they were making the sandwiches, the lady asked if we would like jalapenos, but we both declined. I got an Italian soda to drink and Kangaroo got a berry smoothie, and we sat down to wait for our sandwiches.

BIG yummy sandwich

The lady brought our sandwiches, and they were BIG and very yummy! While we were eating we noticed a man come in and look around. He asked us if there was a menu, and I replied, no, but there are sandwiches. He went up and put his order in and left the building, and when he came back he had an armful of yardsticks. I was about to comment on his yardstick haul when he said that he was going to be using them for projects, and that the man he got them from had only wanted 50 cents each for them so he bought them all. I said they were nice yardsticks too, and he asked us if WE wanted yardsticks, and we said sure, we’d love one, and he gave us each one. It’s a very nice, strong yardstick from the Power and Telephone Supply Company.

A very nice yardstick.

On the way home we came through Dayton towards West Salem, and I suggested we take the Wheatland Ferry since it would give us a straight shot home instead of going around through West Salem. The Boy works in the McMinnville area and takes the ferry home to Keizer most days. I hadn’t ridden the Wheatland Ferry since The Boy’s first ferry ride when he was a tiny baby! It was a nice adventure to end our day 😊

On the ferry

Leaving the ferry

Driving by the hops fields on the way home.

We enjoyed our hike and decided that we will go back to visit Miller Woods in the spring sometime when the birds and other critters will be out.

Just keep walking!

~Ninja

Adventures, hiking

Hike – Miller Woods Conservation Area – Part 1

Yesterday we hiked at the Miller Woods Conservation Area near McMinnville, Oregon. Kangaroo had discovered it on Google Maps and we hadn’t been there, so we wanted to check it out. The conservation area was donated to the Yamhill Soil and Water Conservation District in 2004 by Frieda Miller, who along with her husband had settled the 130 acres in 1967. They wanted the property to be used for nature education. Rain was forecast, and it was indeed raining when we got there. I got a lot of photos so this will be a bit of a long post!

The first thing we noticed when we drove in was this display of different kinds of nesting boxes for birds, bats, and bees. The one at the bottom middle of the photo above is a bat box. There is a small space between the front and back of the box, and the bats go up in there and nest. The photo below is the bee block for mason bees, which are great pollinators.

When we got to the trailhead, there was a group of elementary and middle school aged kids waiting to go on a nature hike. There were probably 13-15 kiddos and just a couple of adults to wrangle them. I thought they needed more adults, but we didn’t volunteer, ha.

We checked the maps and decided to go down to the pond on the Discovery Loop. It was about 0.3 of a mile and went around the pond.

We got down to the pond and saw a few interesting things, but no riparian wildlife. We assumed all the frogs and other pond-dwellers were hibernating.

Interesting tree with large branches growing on the ground.

The pond.
Cattails. They look a bit scruffy this time of year!

Some nesting boxes.

Turkeytail fungus on a log.

These wildlife cover boards with handles were scattered around the area.

Ohhhh…what will we find?

Nobody there!

We (I should say Kangaroo) lifted up the wildlife cover boards we found around the pond and didn’t find any creatures hiding. I was uncomfortable thinking about what we might find (snakes!) but no snakes were found. Along the trail there were more cover boards, and under the last one we did find this guy!

Salamander!!

Nifty gate for no reason – there is no fence on either side of it so it would be easily circumvented.

View from the floating dock.

Across from the pond there is a large field that is being restored as a native prairie. They have even resorted to hand-pulling to remove blackberries and daisies and other plants that are invasive.

Field with a line of nesting boxes on poles.

Prairie field

See Part 2 for the rest of the hike!

Adventures, hiking

Windy

This last weekend we set out to hike at Ecola State Park. We wanted to hike the trail to Indian Beach, since the last time we were at Ecola the trail was closed.

On our way to the coast we happened to see this rainbow and I got a quick photo of it. See it there right in the middle of the pic? It was a little brighter in person.

We got to the park and used the convenient restroom. Then we made our way to Chapman Point to look at the ocean and the wind.

It was very breezy and we spent some time at the point taking some video footage.

We walked to another side of the park and saw the Tillamook Lighthouse.

The Tillamook Lighthouse, or “Terrible Tilly”
Closeup.

After a little bit of exploring, we headed over to the Indian Beach trail.

Some film info about the area.

Start of the Indian Beach trail.

We started down the Indian Beach trail and crossed a little bridge, then almost immediately came upon a “logstacle”.

Now, I didn’t get a photo of the top of the larger log here, but it was perched precariously in the top of a standing tree and looked like it might let go at any second. Nevertheless, we crawled through these two logs and kept on. When we came to a much larger log across the trail, and noticed a few trees really blowing in the wind, we decided to forget the forest trails and head to Cannon Beach where there were no trees to fall on us.

We first stopped at a little park in town next to the beach. It had some neat historical info signs about Lewis and Clark, but the tide was in so far that we couldn’t actually make it to the beach.

Lewis & Clark whale story

Tide was way in.

We drove around to downtown Cannon Beach and parked in the public parking lot. We made our way to the beach and walked for aways south into the wind. The sand was blowing steadily toward us but thankfully wasn’t getting in our eyes. I imagine some of the dogs playing on the beach wished they had goggles, though!

Those white lines are lines of sand blowing in our direction.

Foam on the beach – the foam was also blowing across the sand.

Haystack Rock

The sun was trying to break through – way in the distance you can see the lighthouse.

Well…birds.

After walking for awhile and coming to a river that ran onto the beach, and not really wanting to find a place to cross, we decided to get lunch downtown. I was interested in going to this restaurant but there was a long wait time, and then I looked at the menu and it seemed very expensive. Kangaroo had spotted a fish-n-chips place down the street so we went there.

Oros’ Fireside Restaurant
These signs were on many of the historic buildings in town.

We went to Tom’s Fish and Chips and had…fish and chips. It was pretty good and very reasonably priced.

Delicious lunch

After we ate lunch I wanted to go to the famous bakery next door and see if they had some haystack bread for Mom. They did, but the loaves were so big and I didn’t know if it would stay good during the couple of days that would pass before I went out to Mom and Dad’s, so I didn’t get any bread. I got a couple of pastries for The Hubs and a cookie and then we walked back to Kangaroo’s truck and drove home. For not having “hiked” very much, I sure was tired when we got back!

Just keep walking!

~Ninja

Adventures, Change, Cool Stuff, Family, Fun, People, Photos

A Wedding!

We had a wedding! The Girl and her Fiancé were married on January 14th. We had the wedding at a house here in town that is set up and decorated to hold weddings, and had a bilingual ceremony in English and Spanish, since The Son-in-Law’s family speaks Spanish. It was a lovely ceremony and I would like to get a transcript of it, the minister did a great job. The bride and groom declared that they had a fun day. After the wedding everyone came to our house for cake and coffee and we had a nice visit. The lady who runs the wedding house took photos too so we had some family photos done for the first time in forever, and a photo of all three of our kids together for the first time in years. In fact, it was the first time they had all three BEEN together in years and years! We enjoyed meeting the Son-in-Law’s family, with the rather whirlwind courtship and wedding we hadn’t had the chance to meet them before. Here are some photos for you to enjoy!

The Girl and The Son-in-Law

The Hubs and The Girl

The Boy, The Girl, and The Youngest Girl

Some smooching! 💕

Cutting the cake. The groom chose German chocolate for the cake flavor, even though he had never eaten German chocolate cake before! I was very glad he liked it!

The cake.

It was a lovely wedding and the The Girl and The Son-in-Law enjoyed themselves, which was the most important thing. They now live in wedded bliss upstairs in what used to be just the The Girl’s space, so they can save up for a place of their own. The Son-in-Law fits in well at our house and we are happy to have him here.

Hooray, wedding!! 🥰

Adventures, Cool Stuff

Waves

Marnie and her daughter decided to go to the beach on Friday, January 6th to look at the waves and invited me to join them. We had been having an interesting weather pattern and the waves were supposed to be huge.

We got to the beach and stopped at some waypoints to look at the waves, but they weren’t all that big and it was a bit disappointing. We stopped at one beach, however, and though the waves weren’t all that super there was a woman with a German Shepherd dog who was jumping up onto a big stump and launching him or herself off to chase a stick in the water. The tide was very far in so the dog was doing some swimming! Strangely, although I know I took many photos of the dog up on the stump, they have all disappeared from my phone. I’m not sure what to think of that.

Marnie gets the shot.
A pretty big wave.
Many birds hang out here…

But this was the only one today. Not sure what kind of bird it is, I don’t think it’s on the sign.

Survey marker.
Saw some friends in the water — who do you think they are? Why, sea lions, of course!

Seagull friend.

“Spouting Horns
The eroding of weaker material or the presence of lava tubes within the coastal rock formation allow the pulse of the sea to be released and thrown skyward in a release of energy.  These spectacular displays vary with the power of the waves.”

Spouting Horn

We ended up in Depoe Bay, and looked at the Spouting Horns on the ocean side. I know I had a video of the Spouting Horns but it has also disappeared from my phone. Weird.

Then on the other side of the highway we went to some little shops and looked around. We saw a lot of neat things, including these coolers made from old oil drums. I took photos of many of them to encourage The Hubs to make something cool from the 50-gallon barrels he has been collecting. The coolers are made by a man who lives in Vietnam and by some people he teaches to make them. They were very expensive.

We then spent some money on salt water taffy, and I got a block of seafoam, which is a hunk of candy covered in chocolate. It is light and crunchy and delicious. I’m not sure what it’s made of, but it is a must for me to have if we go to a candy store at the coast. Salt water taffy is so yummy and if you’re not careful you can buy pounds and pounds of it by just taking “one of these and one of those”! I didn’t get a photo of the taffy, which is a shame.

I did, however, get a photo of our lunch. We stopped at the “Chowder Bowl” and had lunch, the fish and chips lunch was pricey but it was good and came with a salad as well. The salad was good too, but the pieces of lettuce were so big it was hard to eat! I resorted to using my fingers to pick up a large piece of lettuce, fold it up, and dip it in the dressing. You can see from this photo that Marnie also got a picture of her food, ha. The waitress had a baby in a front carrier and we heard her tell someone that they had just bought the restaurant and opened on the 1st, and they needed all the help they could get so the baby came along. Baby was just sleeping most of the time and the Mama handled everything quite well.

After our lunch we headed back to Lincoln City and stopped at an antique store and the antique mall there. None of us found anything we couldn’t live without, so we came home empty-handed. Since The Girl has been cleaning out her room to make room for the new Son-in-Law we have had a lot of stuff everywhere, so when I got home after not buying anything I thought it was just fine that I didn’t bring more things into the house!

I started this post awhile back and never finished it, so there will be a couple of posts all together. The reason I haven’t been blogging is…we had a wedding!! Stay tuned for the wedding post!

Adventures, hiking

Hike — Silver Falls Backcountry

I’m a little late in posting about our hike last Thursday. Kangaroo planned a hike to the backcountry of Silver Falls State Park, so we set out early in the morning. We parked at the South Falls parking lot and noticed that these were being installed:

Electric vehicle chargers

Now, I didn’t get a photo of the rest of the parking lot, but it is quite large. We thought two chargers (with what looks like a two-car capacity on each one) didn’t seem like enough and that people will certainly be fighting over them! The park is quite a ways out from any town and people do come from far away, and it’s understandable that they might need to charge their electric car. I prefer my gasoline-powered vehicle and its 25-gallon gas tank that allows me to drive for quite awhile without filling up again.

We had been having quite a bit of rain and it did rain on us during this hike. The trail often looked like this (below) so we had to find ways around the puddles. I was wearing my waterproof hiking boots but Kangaroo was wearing her trail runners, so she understandably didn’t want to get into the water! We found ways around the puddles so our feet didn’t get too soggy, although Kangaroo did hit some deep mud with a couple of steps.

We walked through the main part of the park and across the highway to a campground, which was closed. Then we walked to the RV campground, which thankfully was open and had a nice clean restroom. When we hike we usually get coffee in town before we head out, and sometimes…well…it goes right through! We went through the RV campground to the nature trail and went into the backcountry from there. In the front country of the park there are many beautiful waterfalls, but in the backcountry there are some creeks but no waterfalls to speak of. Kangaroo had mapped our route on various trails, but we did check the maps at each intersection. The only problem with those maps is there aren’t any designations of “You are here” so you have to figure it out yourself, but the trails are marked well so you know which trail you’re on and which one is intersecting it.

We saw a few interesting mushrooms and fungi:

Here are some more photos:

Nice, dry trail

An interesting tree

Kangaroo gets the shot.

A little vignette near the conference center. It would be cute for a summer wedding!

It was a nice hike and a good workout in places, and we went about 8 miles. Kangaroo and I will hike rain or shine (or snow) so it didn’t bother us and we enjoyed ourselves as usual. Afterwards we went to the Dairy Queen and had our $7 lunches. After driving through the town of Silverton I thought we should pop back there sometime and go to the antique stores and little shops again, as I noticed a new vintage store. There are also some nice-looking restaurants that I wouldn’t mind trying out.

I came down with a cold the day of our hike and haven’t been feeling up to snuff except that I got miraculously better on Saturday and Sunday with just a little cough and sniffle. On Saturday I was preparing for our Christmas dinner we were having the next day on New Year’s Day, and of course Sunday was New Year’s Day when we had our dinner and gift-opening at Mom and Dad’s. I will do another blog post about that.

Just keep walking!

~Ninja

Adventures, Family, Holidays, Writing

Christmas and “Limbo Week”

(My Sis-in-Law calls this week between Christmas and New Year’s Day “Limbo Week” and I’ve decided to adopt that phrase, although if one spends the week finishing out the year strong and doing some planning for the next year, I guess it isn’t completely in limbo!)

Well, we didn’t have our Christmas at Mom and Dad’s after all on Christmas Day. Mom and Dad weren’t able to get her in to dialysis on Friday because of the ice storm, and Dad called me and suggested we postpone our Christmas celebration to New Year’s Day since he didn’t think Mom would be feeling very well after skipping her usual day of dialysis. They were able to get her in on Saturday because there was a cancellation, but we had already decided to postpone. But my Sis and Bro-in-Law will be able to come on New Year’s Day, so it will be nice that they can be there. We had a simple Christmas Day at home with The Girl and The Future Son-in-Law and watched quite a few popular holiday movies! Then I went out to Mom and Dad’s to visit and help decorate the tree and we had a Zoom meeting with the Sis and Bro-in-Law to say Merry Christmas.

I also didn’t have my breakfast with Marnie on Saturday because there was still a lot of ice in the morning, so we had our breakfast on Monday instead. Marnie changed out our usual hiking theme this year and gave me writing-themed gifts, and I thought that was awesome. I am fixing to start writing a book about our Pacific Crest Trail adventures, and identifying as an author is the first step! She gave me a doorknob hanger that says, “Go away, I’m writing (or thinking about writing)” that has a picture of a typewriter on it, which is very cute. She also gave me some crystals meant for writers, that are supposed to help with clarity and creativity, inspiration and ideas, concentration and focus, and imagination. I don’t know if crystals actually help, but I have them on my desk just in case, ha. I was so inspired by the things that she got on Etsy that I went to Etsy searching for more writing-themed items, and found a necklace and some earrings made of old typewriter keys that I immediately ordered. What better thing to wear if I go to some sort of writing conference? So fun!

Tumbled crystals for writing inspiration – labradorite, fluorite, sodalite, fossilized coral.
The saucer is pink Depression glass but the pink color doesn’t show up well in the photo.

Initial necklace made of old typewriter key. The earrings look similar but have symbols instead of letters.

So we are looking forward to our Christmas on New Year’s Day. I will go out on New Year’s Eve day and help get the food and everything else ready. Today Marnie and I are going on a hike to the “backcountry” of Silver Falls State Park. We didn’t invite Linda because much rain is forecast and Linda does not like hiking in the rain! We didn’t hike last Friday or Saturday because of the ice, or the week before that because Marnie wasn’t available, so I’m looking forward to getting back in the swing of things with hiking. I’m sure next week we will start up our regular hiking schedule. Today it’s supposed to be in the high 30s/low 40s F so fairly chilly, but I got a cute new warm hat and I hope it will keep my ears cozy.

Cute new hat.
The bill will be handy to keep my rain jacket hood from falling in my face. Also, it has a ponytail hole.

Hope all of you have been having a happy holiday season! Have a wonderful and productive “Limbo Week” getting ready for 2023!

Adventures, hiking, Holidays, Keizer

Miracle of Lights

Last Friday Kangaroo, her daughter, and I did our “hike” through the Gubser neighborhood here in our town, where they put on a Christmas light show every year. Many of the houses are decorated with lights and a Christmas theme. Most people drive the route, but we walked and ended up going about 3.5 miles. Kangaroo got us light-up Christmas necklaces to wear so we would be seen while walking on the dark sidewalks. Here we are under an arch made of lights.

The Arch.

Many of the homeowners had decorated with inflatables, and we noticed that quite a few of the snowmen had fallen over. There were a couple of other characters that had lost some oomph, but we definitely noticed a trend of snowpeople not functioning properly, as opposed to, say, penguins or Santa Clauses.

Zoomed-in photo of snowman down.

We walked the whole route except for a couple of side streets, and saw many neat light displays, some with music and even video. (Photos by Kangaroo.) Towards the end a group from The People’s Church gave us candy canes and a card announcing their youth Christmas play. None of us went to the play that weekend, but it sounded interesting.

Sweet doggie and pups.

Here they fashioned a large gnome out of a shrub. Clever!

Then we saw this 🤣🤣

“What the heck, why change the decorations?”

“We wish you a Merry…um…”

I hope you’re having a very happy holiday season!!

Just keep walking!

~Ninja

Adventures, Fall, hiking

Hike — Baskett Slough NWR and Dallas City Park

Today Kangaroo wanted to do a local hike, so we went to the Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge. Then we planned to go to the Dallas City Park to look for painted rocks.

Baskett Slough is a refuge for many threatened and endangered species — go here to see a list of animals and plants you can find there — but it is mainly a refuge for the dusky Canada goose, and we saw quite a few geese flying overhead while we were there (we promptly got under the information sign roof just in case!) I knew it was going to be chilly but didn’t realize the wind would be blowing so hard, and me without my warm hat! It took awhile for my ears to warm up after we got back in the truck!

Why do I look like I’m missing a tooth in this photo?

Much of the refuge was closed for the comfort of wintering wildlife, so we did a couple of short loops and then went up to the observation deck that looks over part of the refuge.

Kangaroo on the observation deck, with my shadow.

View from the observation deck.

After our short hike at Baskett Slough, we made our way to Dallas (a small town near Salem) to walk in the city park. The park has a botanic garden/arboretum and people will often hide painted rocks there. While we were there Kangaroo found four painted rocks!

First painted rock, a Thanksgiving turkey

Second painted rock, I think a narwhal.

Interesting plants we had never seen before.

Another view of the interesting plant. Unfortunately, while many plants in the garden have labels, this one didn’t.

Kangaroo searches for painted rocks behind an informational sign.

Informational sign about a historic log flume.

Third painted rock.

Kangaroo re-hid this green rock in some green moss.

Kangaroo searches for painted rocks near the river.

Fourth painted rock — Kangaroo reached for it and touched the bug, ha. Ew!

Back of the fourth painted rock. Many rocks will have information on the backs, such as Instagram or Facebook pages where you can record that you found the rock and where.

I didn’t find any painted rocks, I usually don’t, but I did find another treasure…

A nest!!

I found this nest! Nobody was home at the time.

Then we wandered over to the other part of the park where you can see part of the disc golf course (and Kangaroo’s new truck in the background). One of the disc golfers was in the river when we got over there and had just fished out his disc. Since temps were in the 30s (F) I thought it must have been a pretty wonderful Frisbee for him to want to take such a “refreshing” dip! They had strange music playing from a backpack.

View from the bridge down to where the golfer was fishing out his disc.

There is this adorable sculpture of three bears made out of a stump. The larger bear’s face is no longer there, but this smaller one is still intact.

This park still has swings!!

And then there were these guys — this one’s so plump he can hardly waddle! SO CUTE!! Aside from the squirrels having been preparing for winter by eating, I imagine people do give them treats at the park. Our squirrels at home have a whole walnut tree to eat from and they aren’t nearly this roly-poly!

On the way home we decided to eat lunch at the Café 22 restaurant. I hadn’t been there since Mom became ill. Kangaroo had a BLTA wrap and I had a burger with pepperjack cheese and avocado. I hadn’t had a burger in a long time and it was quite good! And after all that we were home by 1:30 p.m.!

Inside Cafe 22 restaurant.

Just keep walking!

~Ninja