Island Park to Autzen Bridge

February 6, 2007

Four Great Blue herons stood sentinel in a cottonwood stand as we entered Wilamut Park at the end of the “D” Street Greenway in west Springfield. We’d started our hike a mile earlier in Island Park, where we searched in vane for the one-legged goose that panhandles there daily. Once under the roaring I5-freeway, we took the canal trail and spotted pairs of widgeons, buffleheads, gadwalls and mallards, all dabbling for food in the murky water. At the east Alton Baker Park pond, one lone bufflehead paddled, perhaps looking for a mate. We took a chip path to get to Autzen Bridge and marveled at how quickly the river level had dropped over the recent cold and dry spell. Our return route was the bike path proper along the Willamette, where we spotted a merganser pair on the brushy shore. Under partly sunny skies, raindrops spattered a few sunglasses but our hardy group pressed onward unfazed. The original plan was to lunch together at a café, but with our group of 22, it would have been un-manageable. We split into several groups and said our goodbyes. Gwen Kephart and Heather Stolen were our only nonmembers. Members joining us were Joan Abel, Tom Adamcyk, LaRee Beckley, Myron Cook, Daniele Delaby, Walt Dolliver, Jim Floyd, Kathleen Floyd, Janet Jacobsen-sweep, Marshall Kandell, Sandra Larsen, Kathy Lindstrom, Lou Maenz, Darrell McBee, Nancy McBee, Mary Morrison, Ruth Romoser, Ellen Sather, Barbara Schomaker and Barb Revere-leader.

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