Despite a cool and wet forecast earlier in the week, the weather cooperated on Sunday morning. The brisk temperatures and partly cloudy skies provided ideal conditions for our group of eight hikers who made the short trip to the Riley Ranch Nature Preserve. Views of the Cascade Range were clear, highlighted by the broken clouds.
Signs of spring abounded, with sand lilies, wax currants, Oregon grapes, and other plants welcoming the season with their delicate blossoms. Canada geese vied for the best positions on the midstream boulders, some pairs with goslings in tow. The birders in the group noted the calls of kingfishers and pointed out a merganser, red-winged blackbirds, and other birds.
The consensus of the group was to extend the originally planned hike of about 6 miles by another mile, reaching the picnic tables at Tumalo State Park for a quick lunch break. The day showed that a beautiful hike with wonderful views and abundant flora and fauna can be found within a stone’s throw of the city center.