Talking Water Gardens

December 22, 2015.

I’d heard rumblings about this park from several people but I hadn’t yet made it out there. Today was my day. I needed to get some walking in today. I had low expectations when I arrived, but I was soon turned on to why this park had gotten so much attention.

The park was a feat of engineering. It’s a manufactured wetland that’s designed to “naturally” treat water before it heads back to the Willamette River. The park provides a space for native plants and animals to thrive. It helps decontaminate wastewater while converting a formerly industrial area into a natural space. And as a side effect, it’s absolutely beautiful. It was teeming with bird life while I was there. There are walking paths for people to enjoy the park. I was blown away.

I took a look at the trailhead map and covered as much ground as I could during the time I had. The skies were moody and overcast, providing stark contrast to the bright oranges and greens all around me. Birds flew overhead. Water trickled down a waterfall. Other walkers cheerily strolled by. It was a magical place.

It’s amazing what you can find in urban areas. The Hike366 Project has definitely caused me to realize how much outdoor recreation there is in the most unexpected places. I don’t need to travel to National Parks, distant wildernesses or dramatic landscapes. Often the experience I seek is right in my own backyard.

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