On Friday, May 19, we had scheduled to hike at Champoeg State Park. We had been there a little while ago and I thought it would be a great place to do a hike with the ladies from church, because it is easy to walk, has convenient bathrooms, and has ice cream in the middle! The Women’s Ministries team had asked me to plan another hike after the one last October was a success. I scheduled this day’s hike to Champoeg to sort of scope it out and see the best route, and check out the historic Butteville Store to try its lunch and ice cream.
The week before we were going to Champoeg I found out that The Girl’s baby shower has been scheduled on the same day I was supposed to lead the hike with the church ladies. Since the baby is coming in July we couldn’t find another date for me to do the church hike, so the ladies are going without me on the original day. I printed out a map and gave them all the info.
We decided to hike at Champoeg anyway because we really wanted to try out the food at the historic Butteville Store, since it was closed the last time we were there. The store is the longest running retail establishment in Oregon! It is about a 3-mile hike from the visitor’s center parking to the store, on a paved bike path. There isn’t much elevation except as you’re coming back up from the store. Somehow we ended up doing about 7 miles, but an extra mile is always OK! We didn’t go to the visitor’s center this time, but check out my last post about Champoeg to see what the visitor’s center and the area have to offer!
The bike path follows the river some of the way and we could get glimpses of it, although I didn’t get any photos this time as the trees have leafed out and obscure most of the views. It is rather a “green tunnel” of a hike, but nice and cool in the shade. The campground at about 1.5 miles has a nice restroom and a fun play area for kids that we tried out on our last trip. Kangaroo and her Hubs had camped there a couple of months back with their new travel trailer.
Toward the beginning of the path we saw some deer in the distance.
There were a few flowers blooming, which is always nice to see. At the visitor’s center we saw some camas blooming. Here is the sign that tells about the history and use of camas. Doesn’t it make you want to plant some and prepare it as food?
To get to the store, you follow the bike path to a short road and then follow a main road downhill to Butteville. Butteville is not too far from the fun little historic town of Aurora, which has many antique stores that we like to explore. We got to the store just before it opened, so we thought we’d relax on the deck until it was time. Unfortunately, the store lady was blowing leaves and blossoms off the deck so we had to wait a bit! We noticed the blossoms on the tree above the deck and asked the lady what kind of tree it was. She didn’t know, but reminded me of Google Lens, which is the neat app that identifies things when you take a photo of them. Google Lens found that the tree is a European Horse Chestnut, and we were happy to know that as we had never seen a horse chestnut tree before!
Even though the store wasn’t quite open, the store lady invited us to go in and take a look at the store. There we found a quaint room with tables and chairs, and nods to the history of the place all around. Butteville used to be a steamship stop on the river, and there was a big boat launch area. You can read more about the history on the Friends of Butteville website.
When the restaurant opened, we went to order our food. Sweet Pea and I ordered sandwiches and ice cream, while Kangaroo opted just for dessert. Here is the food menu. Since we were there on Friday, we could choose from a few sandwiches. Sweet Pea chose the Joe Wolf sandwich, and I chose the Josie Ryan. We were both impressed by the deliciousness of the sandwiches!
For dessert, we each had some ice cream, of course! Kangaroo got the “Cup of Dirt” ice cream in a bowl, I chose to have a scoop of “Luna’s Lavender” in a waffle cone, and Sweet Pea chose the “Hello Sunshine” sundae. Can you believe I didn’t get photos of anyone’s ice cream?😮
During and after our meal we had a conversation with an elderly couple who had three German Shepherd dogs. The man noticed Sweet Pea’s shirt that had a Guide Dogs for the Blind logo on it, and the couple said that their kids had raised guide dogs for 4H. They talked about their dogs’ history and where they had come from, a couple of them were guide dog “dropouts”, which are wonderful dogs who just can’t quite get the whole guide dog thing. Sweet Pea’s senior yellow lab, Angel, is an example of this kind of dog. She is a very good girl!
After our big lunch we were happy for the opportunity to walk the three miles back to the truck. The weather was very nice and it was a very fun day!
Just keep walking!