Thursday, November 28, 2013

Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge

That's Mt. Hood peeking over the hills on the right.

Last weekend we were having clear, sunny weather (the Pacific Northwest is known for soggy, cold weather and gun metal gray skies). So we took advantage of it on Saturday and drove east. East of Washougal, WA to the Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge. (Letter A on the map below.)

Chris and I have been there a couple of times, we used to walk on a trail just west of there before we found it. Since moving to Vancouver we just don't get out in that area. But, when I was thinking of a place for a nice long (sunny) walk it immediately came to mind. 

It is located at the "Gateway to the Gorge", just at the entrance to the Columbia River Gorge. The east wind that comes through there is very strong on sunny days, so we prepared for the 50 mph gusts that were predicted. Because of the wind there weren't many people there. 

A Bald Eagle, Chris got the better photo with his phone camera

I've mentioned that we keep going to Vancouver Lake hoping to see eagles. We were lucky at Steigerwald to see an eagle perched in a tree. Then later, he and a female eagle swooped over the water together. 

We saw their display just after spotting a very large Blue Heron sitting on a log.

Blue Heron, photo by Chris

Some things were the same as our last visit, the gravel parking area still has rain garden plantings. Somethings were new, art had been added along the trail. I liked the bugs on the bridge railing.

Another piece was a milepost also informational with birds identified with photos. I like this because I'm not at all familiar with most bird species and we saw quite a few here.

Stiegerwald is a great place to visit, if you are nearby I would recommend it to anyone. There's parking and a restroom. The space is just huge with scenic vistas and Mt. Hood to the east. As you can see from these photos the trail is perfectly flat. Of course, we like to head back to Starbucks in Washougal afterward.

Chris adding mythical creatures to the "Sightings" board.
It was pretty cold out there, I didn't want to take my gloves off, but had to in order to get a photo with the iphone. I'd thought about bringing my real camera (with excellent zoom) but didn't. That was my big regret that day and the next day I was tempted to go back just for more photos.

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