Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

For our Wednesday hike we headed out this morning to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, a huge sanctuary that runs along the Washington bank of the Columbia River. The refuge is a great place to hike, there are only a few trails, as most of the property is off limits to prevent disturbing the wildlife, but the views from the trails are excellent and there are lots of interesting things to see.

We started up on the Carty Unit at the Oaks to Wetlands trail. It begins with an impressive arched footbridge taking you over the busy amtrak rail line.

And after a couple hundred yards you get your first view of the refuge over Duck Lake - beautiful!

Along the way you pass the Cathlapotle cedar plank house. This recreation was built in 2005 as part of the celebration of Lewis & Clark's 1805 expedition when they met locals living in these kinds of houses.

The Oaks to Wetlands trail is a two mile loop which reached Boot Lake at it's far end. This 'green field' is Boot Lake. That's aquatic plants all the way to the far tree line.

Unfortunately our plan to hike a wetlands trail in the middle of summer was not well thought out. We were immediately beset by a cloud of hungry Boot Lake mosquitos who persued us all the way back to the car!

Along the way we stopped at a neat rocky overlook and saw this beautiful bird, I think it's a Great Egret, perched high up in a tree.

After we double-timed it back to the car, we headed down to the River S Unit of the refuge to do the four mile driving loop. You can also walk this loop in the summer, but after our little escape from the mosquitos neither of us felt like taking the chance. So we drove.

River Otter, Muskrat, Nutria? I can't tell...

An osprey!

Along the way you can park and go to a blind that looks out over Rest Lake. There were a lot of herons out there, some of them fighting and gliding around. Lots of smaller birds as well. It would be a great place to have a spotting scope.

Dave at the blind

This was a really neat trip, and we'll go again, but maybe after mosquito season is over!

1 comment:

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh I so don't miss mosquitos now that we live here in New Mexico. I've yet to see or feel one in the entire 16 years of liing here. whew!
You might have needed a blood transfusion if you had lingered too much longer there.
But wow! You were able to take some awesome photos of the wildlife as well as that cool bridge.

I hope you go back in the fall. I bet there will be different wildlife then, too.