TUESDAY, THE 6TH OF JULY was gloriously warm and sunny when we awoke in Ocean Park, typical weather here in western Washington following the 4TH! Just before noon we headed south into Oregon for a few days stay at Whalen Island County Park in the Sandlake estuary. It is adjacent to the Sandlakes Recreation area and just north of Pacific City and Cape Kiwanda. This is a lovely little park with thirty-two campsites; no hook-ups; flush toilets, no showers. The park has lots of beach and upland trails.

Looking southeast from our campsite with the late afternoon sun lighting up the grasses.

The next morning we walked out toward the ocean hoping to find a shallow crossing to the ocean across one of the many sandbars. The morning tide was a ‘low’ high tide, but not low enough for crossing the channel to the ocean side.

There was plenty of flora to look at too, like these natives to saltmarsh areas, White Owl Clover, castilleja ambigua and Springbank Clover, trifolium wormskjolii mixed in with grasses and salicornia.

Angelica lucida attractive to a spider and tiny bee-like flies alike.

ON THURSDAY we left the coast and went inland to the Albany area for some final warranty work on our camper. Once we left the coast the temperatures soared into the 90°”s. We stayed in the area until Saturday morning before heading to Troutdale for the wedding. Friday we drove south of Albany to the William Finley NWR, a rare native grass prairie in the Willamette Valley dedicated to saving the Dusky Canada Goose.  On a hot day our tour was not conducive to extensive trail walking, but an auto tour worked out well for our first time through. The grass prairie,oak savannahs and marshlands were impressive in the midst of a highly cultivated area.Two hundred year (+) oaks linked with marshlands and uplands were impressive. Our first stop was at an overlook of marsh and grasses. Directly below the overlook were these lovely pink Centaurium muehlenbergii mixed in with grasses, spirea, oaks and alders. Western Wood Pee Wees were busily flycatching and Western Meadowlarks were singing.

Growing along the edge of the overlook platform was this sidalcea, part of the mallow family that includes hollyhocks. Is this sidalcea nelsoniana or campestris? Trying to identify it has been frustrating as the nelsoniana is a species that is listed as threatened here; the identification photos I found show more color than this one and it fits the location in Benton County. The campestris is more pink than this one.Anyway, it was tall and lovely swaying in the wind.

One of the oak savannahs with oxeye daisies and native grasses.

From a blind on one of the marshes we saw lots of these dragonflies and one just a little bit different. It was so unusual with a large white abdomen and black spotted wings. This is definitely an NWR to return to during fall or spring migration.

Saturday was wedding day and we headed north to Portland by taking a more scenic route than I-5. We drove northeast to Silverton where we made an unscheduled stop at the Oregon Garden, an 80 acre cooperative effort between the city of Silverton to help treat its wastewater through the creation of a wetlands system and the Oregon Association of Nurseries to create a demonstration garden. It is a pretty impressive and novel effort.

Attended a lovely wedding at 5:30 in Troutdale, and then home early Sunday morning. Nice trip overall.