Luckiamute Landing State Natural Area

June 7, 2016.

The quest for Hike366 continued today at Luckiamute Landing. In search of novel hiking locations I turned to Wild in the Willamette. Just 20 minutes from home, this park had a couple of short hiking trails to explore and I’d never been there before. Check, check and check!

I arrived before 7 am since I had appointments to get to later in the morning. This would be a quick and easy jaunt. I began at the South trailhead, which led to a mile-long loop. The trail skirted a pond that allegedly served as good habitat for Western Pond Turtles. They must have all been hiding today. No worries, I did see a few pretty flowers along the way so it wasn’t a wasted walk.

Next I drove up to the North trailhead (the natural area is divided by a tract of private land). This provided access to the North Tract Loop and the Luckiamute Loop. Together they’d be about 2.5 miles, so I thought I’d link them up.

Well, it looked so straightforward on the map…

It was a pleasant stroll among somewhat brushy trails, but there were lots of pretty wildflowers to look at. I was only half paying attention to where I was going, since this was a short loop, and it was a loop for crying out loud, how complicated could it be?

The trail got brushier and brushier until I realized that I was no longer on a trail. My legs were getting destroyed by stinging nettle and I was agitated that I’d somehow lost my way. How did this even happen? I must not have had enough coffee this morning.

So then, of course, it reached the point where I was arguing with myself: do I backtrack to my last known location or do I push forward in order to make my way back to the loop. Oh, agonizing decisions. It felt like defeat to go back, but the nettle and brambles were really not helping the argument to bushwhack ahead. I relented. “UNCLE!” I yelled to the universe, and retreated.

Once I re-found the main loop it took me no time at all to complete the hike. I was grumpy now, though, and I was getting flashbacks from Snag Boat Bend. Had I not learned my lesson about keeping an eye on navigation in these little parks? It’s not just the big mountains that demand your attention.

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