Cougars and skunks and smelt oh my!
Well not really, but Wednesday’s weather looked like the usual Spring Break mixed bag— partly cloudy, imminent rain showers, possible sun breaks. With that in mind, we thought a quick stretch-of-the-legs was in order to break up another day at the computer prepping for spring term classes. The Sandy River Park trail head starts just a few miles south of us and drops about 800 feet down an old logging trail to the river along the Sandy Bluff where we live.
I’d just read a story in the Oregonian about a rare, 20-mile-long run of millions of smelt that had been spotted two weeks ago in the Columbia River and was now heading up the Sandy River towards us. I thought that perhaps we’d be able to see these silvery fish from the bottom of the trail. In the fall salmon can be seen swimming up the Sandy River to spawn. While we didn’t see any smelt this time, we did discover another side trail that extended the hike for half a mile north.
We spotted lots of cougar tracks in the mud, along with tracks of coyote, deer, and raccoon. Perhaps that explains the disappearance of a number of cats and small dogs in our neighborhood over the past year!
Large expanses of happy yellow skunk cabbage were in fine fettle, too. This time of year is especially pretty before the leaves on the deciduous trees come in and the blackberries take over. The weather cooperated, too, as the rain managed to hold off until the evening.