Thursday, October 07, 2010

No Ox in the Bow

We saw no ox, but two deer grazed on the brush right inside the entrance to this surprisingly quiet park on our early autumn visit.

East of Portland, the Sandy River makes two big U-shaped bends in an "oxbow." One circles Camp Collins and another loops around the campground and hiking trails of Oxbow Park. What this means for hikers is that you can do a loop trail and be next to the river much of the way.

On our easy hike, the last few straggling turkey vultures of the season float lazily by. A few female common mergansers paddle in the river. Winter wren and Stellar's Jays compete for bird of the day. This also seems to be a prime location for maidenhair fern, Adiantum pedatum. While there were a few people fishing and a few hearty souls in the campground, we saw only two other people on the trails today, and those were both working on trail maintenance. The lack of traffic was further emphasized by the number of spider trails I took full in the face.

A nice route through the park is described in 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington, 3rd Edition, but really, you can just pick up a brochure at the entrance and wander the trails at your leisure. [Note: some of the trail markings have changed since the second edition of Sullivan's book was published. I haven't got the third edition. Yet.] Sneakers are probably okay on the trails, but there are a few spots where you might appreciate light hikers. $5 entrance fee and because this is a Metro park, no dogs are allowed. Directions and a rough map are here.

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