Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Take a Hike

On Sunday we slept in and had a lazy morning.  I made scones for breakfast and we debated about what to do for the day.  The weather was not particularly inviting for a ride, as it always seems so much colder riding 60 mph as opposed to walking 4 mph. Damn wind chill.  Troubadour had a great idea - drive to the 5,325 acre William L. Finley Federal Wildlife Refuge ten miles south of Corvallis and take a hike. We can always use more exercise.

The Refuge was named for William L. Finley, an early conservationist and photographer, who persuaded President Theodore Roosevelt to set aside the first National Wildlife Refuge west of the Mississippi River.

(Sign at entrance off Bellfountain Road)
We parked at the headquarters which houses a gift store, conference rooms and of course restrooms.  

(Headquarters seen through mossy oaks)
Located just beyond the headquarters was a huge barn and an eight bay shop all belonging to the US Department of Fish & Wildlife.  "This barn is used to house Refuge equipment and is on the Oregon Inventory of Historic Properties.  Thought to have originally been built in 1904 the lean-to sides on the east and west elevations are thought to have been added in the 1920's or 1930's.  It was used to house several hundred cattle and 30 horses with enough room in the loft for feed and hay for all of the animals all winter."

(Now that's a big barn)
Finley doesn't have the extensive trail system that we experienced at Peavy a few weeks ago but the trails are more rustic.  Bicycles, horses and motorized vehicles are forbidden so there weren't any confusing yield signs, just the following.

(The sign says go this way - please tell me it isn't confusing....)
We started off down the Mill Hill Trail heading towards the 2.5 mile Mill Hill Loop.

(We head down the trail in the center of the photo)
(Troubadour taking the lead)

(A wooden boardwalk through a marshy area)

(Moss - nature's garland)

(Not sure where all the lower tree branches went)

(I love how green the grass is during the fall and winter)

(Troubadour - watching for birds perhaps)

(More of the loop trail)

(A few small hills, but not much elevation change)

(Bright ferns growing on trees)

(Nesting box)

(A place to rest and watch the ducks)

(The view from my hiking boots)

(Widest part of the trail)
 We came upon the widest part of the loop pictured above.  The canopy seemed to be heavier and the ground off the trail was completely covered in moss.  What was cool were all the different types of mushrooms.  I am saving some of the pictures for a future post, but the following are a few highlights.  Who knew delicate mini mushrooms grew on trees?

(The caps were about the size of a dime or even smaller)

(So delicate)

(These were a little bigger found on the ground)

(I found even the tree bark fascinating in this section)

(So many ferns, yep, it's the wet coast)
There were so many paths branching off that weren't marked we eventually popped out on the entrance road a little distance from the headquarters and car.

(Starting point on left, white oak savannas we were walking through on the right)

(We walked the fence line)
The access road (at the end of the fence above) was lined with oaks with moss hanging from the branches.  I was compelled to take a few more photos.

(The old oaks are so big)

(And so mossy in the wet Pacific Northwest)
We arrived back at the gift shop, used the facilities, wandered a bit then drove through the rest of the refuge towards Highway 99W.  Along the way we were treated to sights of thousands of wintering geese, a herd of Roosevelt elk and the Fiechter House, built in 1855, which is thought to be the oldest remaining home in Benton County.

To put all of the photos in one post would have been too long so I shall put them in an upcoming post.  Here is a teaser.

(Fiechter barn - built in early 20th century - exact date unknown) be continued

- Au Revoir

"To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug." - Helen Keller


  1. Nice pictures Brandy, that is one huge barn. It all looks like too much exercising for my liking though.

    1. If we can't go riding we may as well go walking or hiking. We get sick of being couch potatoes during the crappy winter months.

  2. Barn design and size can vary so much depending on region; you are right, that barn is ginormous.

    I was very capable of focusing on this trail sign, it's meaning concise.

    1. I don't think I've ever seen a barn quite that big.

      I am glad you could read the sign. I didn't think there could be any confusion.

  3. Stunning photos! If I had landscape like this within an easy drive, I'd be hiking every day! Love the wet bark and the moss, and those mushrooms!

    1. Thank you. We are spoiled to live in this area.

      The dampness brings lush scenery but at the same time has some drawbacks, like moss creating leaky roofs and the chill you to the bones weather even though it isn't that cold out according to the thermometer.

  4. Great place. I love to wander through that type of terrain. We have wonderful areas like that here but they're over 200 miles away.... One of the downside of living in a big state.
    Your pictures are, as always, delightful... I'm almost chilled looking at them.

    1. Bummer you have to drive/ride so far to get to that type of terrain. I don't know as if we'd go that much if it was that far away.

      We were a little chilly by the end of the walk, the wind came up, but the car has heated seats and that is always nice.

  5. Looks like another wonderful place to walk around, if only it wan't so wet...

    We have a barn up here that looks to be a similar size that is now part of a wildlife refuge.

    1. There were a lot of puddles and very squishy spots on the trail and we had a nice coating of mud on the cuffs of our jeans kicked up from the hiking shoes.

      It is cool that you have a big barn up there as part of a refuge too.

  6. Wow Brandy, where to start???
    You have a real photographer's eye, the shots are magnificent. The barn is indeed impressive - lovely shape too. Love the toadstools, have never seen anything like them. Is that trailing moss real Spanish Moss? I bought some Spanish Moss to put in part of our garden but think it's too dry and it really struggles.

    Thanks for the great tour!

    1. Thank you Geoff.

      It appears to actually be lichen moss but through further research I can narrow it down to being 'usnea longissima' or Old Man's Beard Lichen. I also found this YouTube video taken at the Refuge this summer.

      Also here is a cool article on the lichen and other goodies found in the oaks of Oregon:

      It is wet enough in these parts moss has no troubles growing even on the sides of roads on the pavement.

  7. Trobairitz:

    If only I could walk as far as you two. I loved those "spanish" moss-like Moss. One thing for sure, is that sign is not ambiguous and it points to the right so we know which way to go, except there were no signs at the end to keep you on the trail and you Popped out at the entrance road.

    I was on Bellefontaine Road when I took that road south just before Philomath as I was heading south towards Team Oregon to find Irondad but I didn't notice any signs for the Finley NWR. Maybe I turned off before, all the roads look the same

    Those mushrooms resemble Jelly Fish

    Riding the Wet Coast
    My Flickr // My YouTube

    1. The trail sign actually points left Bob. And here I didn't think it would be confusing, lol.

      There were just so many trails interconnecting we weren't sure which one we came in on. At least we didn't get lost.

      I don't think you were far enough south on Bellfountain to see the entrance to the Refuge. It is nice that it is free too and there are shorter trails and an auto-route for those that can't walk much.

  8. Yep, definitely Pacific wet coast, beautiful nevertheless. And thanks to moss and fern there is always something pleasantly green around.
    You pictures are marvelously capturing the nature. It is a pleasure to follow you around. Looking forward to your next installment.

    1. Always lots of green this time of year. I've heard it called "Oregon green" around here. Now I know why.

      Thanks for walking along. It was 41˚F out last evening so we went for a 4 mile walk around the neighborhood. Was a little chilly but not bad. Just glad it wasn't raining.

  9. Trobairitz,

    These are beautiful pictures, particularly the tiny mushrooms. What a wonderful place to walk. Looking forward to part 2.

    1. Thanks Dar, I'd never seen such small delicate mushrooms - and growing on trees too.

      I'll try to get part II up soon.

  10. I can just smell all that earth and different from here. And that luminous green. I always say that the rhododendrons glow in the gloom in OR. Such precious life in the forests. OR was the first time I ever saw moss like that.

    All winter long in OR I would have a sore throat and always felt cold. That damp is bone deep. I think I would be more able to cope with the cold and damp now.

    Lovely photos. What a great walk.

    1. Funny you should mention smelling the forest. As we were walking through the mushroom section I commented about loving the earthy smell. It was wet, dank, composting leaves and such but it just smelled like nature. I don't think I could live in an arid state in the South.

      We've been chilly lately even though the temperatures aren't low. I agree, the damp is bone deep. We're lucky we have a pellet stove at home to help dry out the air a bit.

  11. Mushrooms are so amazing. The ones you saw in the tree do certainly look delicate. Love it. And, the moss give the forest an enchanted look. Very different than these parts.

    Looking forward to the next installment.

    1. I'd never seen mushrooms growing on trees before. It stopped me in my tracks and I was in awe. I am sure my jaw dropped too.

  12. Can drool be added to the wet coast accumulation count? Absolutely gorgeous and you presented it wonderfully. As you said, if you cant go was a nice alternative.

    1. Add all the drool you want Lori. When not riding we like to go explore on foot. There just seems to be so many areas around here. These have been the close ones, if we feel like driving an hour or so there are all kind of waterfalls and such.

  13. Replies
    1. Ha, funny - cheeky man.

      Just don't ask Bob or you might go the wrong way...... :-)

  14. Stunning photo's, I especially love the tiny mushrooms as well! What camera do you use to take your pictures?

    1. Thank you. All pictures were taken with a small point and shoot Canon HS300. Here is a link to a picture.

      Canon HS300

      We purchased it a year ago on Bobskoot's recommendation. It is nice and light and fits easily in the pocket or purse. It has a wider angle lens than our larger Canon too.

  15. Very , very interesting. And those little translucent mushrooms, never seen any thing like those before. Those little mushrooms remind me of the shape of light fixtures at old gas stations, actually, we have one such old light on my garage.

    1. Aren't they the coolest little mushrooms?

      I kind of thought the caps looked like light fixture too. Like shades on an overhead light.

  16. Wow. You seriously have a very good eye for nature photography! I love the little mushrooms the best, but all of the shots are REALLY good. Do you have a Flickr or other photo sharing site? If yes, please share the address. I'd love to see more. :-)

    1. Thank you for the kind words Kathy.

      We used to have a Flickr account but haven't uploaded anything in years. Maybe I need to start one. I took over 200 photos that day so these are just the highlights.

      We were gone over the weekend, but I will try and get part two posted soon.

  17. What an excellent walk - and there is no better way to warm up after the dampness than by the heat of a wood fire.
    Beautiful pictures - can't wait for part II.

    1. The pellet stove isn't as nice as a real wood stove, but it'll do. I will try and get part two up in the next few days.....