Hiking and Herping through Columbia County
The only salamander that shares Columbia County’s namesake, the Columbia Torrent salamander, had never been officially recorded in the county and that just didn’t seem right. These “Torrents” were one of the first salamanders I ever searched for as their habitat niche is in the spray zones of the waterfalls I love. Years ago theContinue reading “The Elusive Columbia Torrent Salamander”
Rosey and I took little Sophia to the Ruley Trailhead for a 5-mile walk. The area has been transformed since the new trailhead was built, with restroom facilities, a bike-repair station, and both historical and natural history information. It’s a nice place to connect yourself to the history of the land and how it gotContinue reading “Family walk from Ruley Trailhead”
“I [s]lept but verry little last night for the noise Kept [up] dureing the whole of the night by the Swans, Geese, white and & Grey Brant Ducks &c. on a Small Sand Island … they were emensely noumerous, and their noise horid.” Diary entry of William Clark, 5 November 1805 Sauvie Island has longContinue reading “Winter stroll at Sauvie Island”
Soon after my exciting first visit to Liberty Hill, Matt went to take a look. He reported back to me that he had found skinks there. Skinks weren’t known to exist in Columbia County! I had to see this for myself. The meadows of Liberty Hill were as beautiful as they had been at firstContinue reading “What makes Liberty Hill special”
Layers of basalt from ancient lava flows helped form the hills of Columbia County. The basalt takes unique shape depending on how the lava cooled. With the Crown Zellerbach Trail being an old logging road, there are a few areas where the road cuts through the adjoining hillsides and exposes the geological past. I (Matt)Continue reading “Cool Geology along Crown Zellerbach Trail”
Some vistas capture you at first sight. Years ago I returned home to visit my parents after having spent time working abroad. They now lived in Yankton (I grew up in St. Helens proper), and my father mentioned that he had passed an interesting hill that might be worth a look. I had noticed theContinue reading “Stepping foot on Liberty Hill”
Our county’s most unique mammal may be the Columbian White-tailed Deer. Just 50 years ago these beautiful creatures were nearly extinct, hanging on in a few islands in the Columbia River. In 1978 another small population was discovered at the southern end of the Willamette Valley. The subspecies was added to the federal Endangered SpeciesContinue reading “Whitetails of the Columbia”
This is an entry by Matt D’Agrosa, a Scappoose native who will contribute regularly to the blog. My favorite section of the Crown Zellerbach Trail is also its highest point; the remote Nehalem Divide trailhead. The trailhead lies alongside Scappoose-Vernonia Highway at the turn for Mt. Pisgah Home logging road. Heading down from the parkingContinue reading “Nehalem Divide on the CZ Trail”
Imagine a Columbia County with no roads. It’s easy if you try – I grew up with family members older than that. In 1899, E. Henry Wemme, a German-American businessman based in Portland, brought the first car to Oregon. Before the roads came, newcomers traveling by boat and wagon built a small mill on theContinue reading “Old Highway 30 and Little Jack Falls”
On occasion we give Rosey a break and take Sophia out for the day. Matt and I got ambitious and decided to take the little girl on a two-leg stretch of the Banks-Vernonia State Trail. Sure it was a big chunk to bite off, sure there were rainstorms forecast all day, but we were upContinue reading “Loooong hike with Sophia on Banks-Vernonia Trail”
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