Sunday, January 18, 2009

Country roads, take me home

Yesterday Patrick Henry and I celebrated our 5th anniversary. We decided to drive to a nearby island to check it out and do some hiking. The island is in the Columbia River, just outside of downtown Portland. Even though there is a bridge to the island, I doubt I would have ever gone there if it had not been listed in an Oregon history/hiking book that my sister gave me. It turned out to be really cool, so cool that we actually put it on our list of places where we might like to buy property. (And right now, that is the only place on the list.)

It was clear yesterday, and from the island I could see Mt St Helens for the first time since we moved to Portland. It's covered in snow.
The island is primarily zoned for agricultural use, and has a wildlife preserve open to hunting 7 months of the year. The wildlife on the island is mostly birds. According to internet sources, about 3 million birds winter on the island. I guess there used to be even more. Our book says that Lewis & Clark stayed there and complained about the incessant honking. Since I used to live next to a frog pond that produced what should have been deafening croaking, I'm sure I would be fine with the bird sounds.
We did see lots of birds. Tons. It was neat. I guess that means there are tons of bugs on the island. I don't like that idea so much.
At one time there were condors. I don't know if there are anymore. But we took a picture of this giant bird nest, that I think scared PH a little bit.

We hiked on the beach along the Columbia River until we got close to the wildlife preserve. Since it is currently hunting season, we did not hike to our intended destination (a lighthouse) because we weren't wearing any orange safety clothes and the trail was too close to the preserve.
We drove around the entire island and found 6 properties for sale. Two of them had flyers outside, which we picked up. The prices were more affordable than I had imagined (although everything is out of our price range at the moment). We are hopeful about finding more properties like these.
We liked the agricultural zoning, the privacy, and yet the fact that it is barely 10 minutes from downtown. We liked the views, the nature, the birds, the beach, and being so close to water. All the houses are country houses and half of them look haunted.

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