I dig my way out from my snowy stronghold near Klamath Falls, cross icy mountain passes, then descend into the tropical climate of the Willamette Valley. Spring really does exist! After getting teased with warm temps in early February, winter returned with a dumping, so I had to check out rumors of people mowing their lawns in Vancouver. After verifying such crazy behavior I looked around for a place where I too could enjoy such wonderful weather. I found it at Ridgefield Refuge.
Here you can get lost in the wide open.
Kids can also get lost in some of the side trails in the Carty Unit. (You've been warned!)
There are two main parts to the refuge: the Carty Unit north of the town of Ridgefield and the River 'S' Unit south of town. The Carty Unit is walking only. You park in the gravel lot (with restrooms!) then walk a long high bridge over the railroad tracks. The architecture is unique and the kids will love running across its long curving arch.
The first quarter mile is paved and provides easy access to the Cathlapotle Plankhouse and a sitting area. The plankhouse is a full-scale replica of what Lewis and Clark described seeing over 200 years ago. The 37 by 78 foot western red cedar structure was able to transport me to wondering how the "Quathpotle nation" lived, worked, and worshiped back in the "olden days."
After the stone sitting area, the trail turns to dirt and firm mud that cushions the feet of the hikers wending their way through alder, pine, and oak. Short loops take you through low wetland and to the summits (does 10 feet deserve that word?) of grassy knolls overlooking the meadows and marshes.
The S Unit has a four mile auto tour with a foot path located about halfway around. The Kiwa Trail is perhaps a mile and a half and loops through open grass and wetland. It is less than two miles from the Columbia River and so one experiences the vast floodplain here.
Chances are you will be among many other visitors. Therefore, this is not one of those meditative spots you might be looking for. It is quiet, because sound dissipates in the wide open space, but everyone walks or drives the few pathways. However, it is a great place for bird and wildlife viewing (otters, turtles, and nutria!) on a Sabbath afternoon in spring or fall when the sun is not too hot. It is also a wonderful place to see how God restored some life to the drainage after the mighty Columbia punched its way through the Cascades shortly after Noah's flood. When you hear small scurries under the bushes, tiptoe slowly to view tiny wrens.
There is a $3 fee (Interagency and Golden Age passes accepted), but you will be well rewarded in this rare river environment.
Last week you read Dick Duerksen's write up of my incident in Astoria when my alternator gave out. I must thank the people of the town for such immediate and unsolicited help! I must also thank Wil and Gage for replacing the alternator with the one that Pastor Agosto brought from Portland. I also thank the members of Astoria and Long Beach for their invitation to share the spiritual patterns of prophecy that help us all rediscover the simple, but solid, truth upon which Adventism is founded. I immensely enjoyed the eager classes and your questions and insights. If you want this seminar at your church, direct your pastor to the Patterns in Prophecy page.
And now for your viewing pleasure:
by Ed Lyons, 3/30/2018