Bushwhacking to a Pygmy Owl

Small owls warm my heart. On a day when we had to push through too much brush, soak our shoes thoroughly, and see few herps in the cold air….a little owl sighting made it all worth it. Matt and I drove into central Columbia County and took an ancient logging road into some medium-young forest.Continue reading “Bushwhacking to a Pygmy Owl”

Fall walk at Nob Hill Nature Park

A couple weeks ago I took a stroll at the Nob Hill Nature Park. The trail was basically empty. It provided a quiet place of beauty in the middle of downtown St. Helens. Driving up to the Plymouth Street entrance, I noticed that the adjacent water treatment facility sported quite a few birds. At leastContinue reading “Fall walk at Nob Hill Nature Park”

Name this waterfall!

This mirrored treasure is visible from your car, but you’re an official veteran of Columbia County’s backroads (and proximate to some colorful history) if you can have seen it in person and remember where it is. (If you want to show you’ve been there before without giving away the location, just write in the commentsContinue reading “Name this waterfall!”

Morning stroll around Salmonberry Reservoir

I took a quick look at the Salmonberry Reservoir this morning. The small lake is part of the St. Helens Tree Farm property owned by the City of St. Helens. The property is gated less than a half-mile before the reservoir, which allows a quiet walk in along an easy gravel road. Varied Thrush wereContinue reading “Morning stroll around Salmonberry Reservoir”

CZ Trail: Scappoose to Chapman Landing

Most of Columbia County is forested hills aligned with the foothills of the Coast Range to the west. But there’s a portion of the county along the Columbia River, especially around Scappoose, made up of wetland flats aligned with the ecology of the Willamette Valley to the south. Those wetlands can be experienced on theContinue reading “CZ Trail: Scappoose to Chapman Landing”

Nostalgia at Dalton Lake

There isn’t a natural place with more childhood memories for me than the “bike trail” by Dalton Lake. It’s where my father and I used to go running twice a week when I was in elementary school, the spot we found my first rubber boa, the hill where my soccer team trained, the woods IContinue reading “Nostalgia at Dalton Lake”

Family hike at Gnat Creek

I’m going to cheat – Gnat Creek isn’t in Columbia County! But it’s on the edge of the county, just 15 miles west of Clatskanie on Highway 30, and is one of my favorite hikes in the area. It’s also the easiest place that Columbia County residents can access State Forest land. So lets ignoreContinue reading “Family hike at Gnat Creek”