“Turn right in 1 mile,” was the instruction the GPS gave as we were headed to Dallas.
My husband furrowed his brow and said, “We’ve never gone that way before.” But he still took the exit.
A few moments later, the instruction was “turn left,” a little before we came to a gravel road.
“Where’s this thing taking us?” my husband asked.
I answered, “The wildlife refuge. I thought we should go for a hike before we get back in the car to drive another two hours.”
“You’re lucky I love you,” he said as he turned onto the gravel road and headed to the Rich Guadagno National Recreation Trail in the Baskett Slough wildlife refuge.
To be fair, I’d mentioned it before and all he kept saying was, “Only if it’s a short hike,” “If it’s not too hot,” or “As long as we can still make it home before dinner.”
So, I put in the coordinates for the 1.25-mile Rich Guadagno trail when we left Portland earlier that morning. I was hoping it would fit all the criteria, but at 90 degrees, it was a little too warm for my husband.
The trail is named for Guadagno, who died on 9/11 as a passenger on United Airlines flight 93. He managed the wildlife refuge from 1992 to 2000.
Blackberries grew along the start of the trail as we headed up toward Mount Baldy. The trail split, with one side going to the overlook and the other side continuing onward.
The overlook was a shorter hike (0.8 miles), and my husband opted to go that way instead while I chose to hike the trail.
Although the area is known for the birds that call it home, in the afternoon heat I had the misfortune of seeing only one swallow.
The fowl had made their way into the wooded area on the trail, but because the area was so dense with trees, ferns, ivy and other shrubs and wildflowers there was a lot of chirping, tweeting and ruffling. But the birds remained out of sight.
Several times I stopped because I thought I saw something from the corner of my eye, but as I stood for a few minutes the sounds would increase but no birds were seen.
The densely forested area didn’t just provide a nice reprieve for the birds, it also gave me some shelter from the sun.
I headed back down to the car, catching up with my husband at the bottom of the trail.
The overlook had provided him with a view of the Willamette Valley, but not much else.
It was still a nice way to get some exercise on a day of travel. The views were great and I can imagine in about two months the birds will be flocking to the ponds and skies once again.
A great excuse to go back.