By Alexander Gilbert,
The Willamette River has yet to lose it’s Lewis and Clark appeal, only undergone renovations, for better or worse. If you have never explored the river, and it’s banks—then a mystery it remains. Traverse the Willamette River along the rapid traffic of highway 43. Steal glances through sparse clearings at the river. Slam your breaks; avoid manglement. Your more daring than Clark at this point—he never faced a Hummer with a texting driver. Against the burn rubber current look for a tract of woodland. A state park is as good a welcome sign you’ll ever see in these conditions.
Turn in for a picnic kinda day—a day for the river, the woods; a field to flop on. Would you like to sit under a tree for a bit? Or would you prefer the serenity of the water further down on a beach? A rock to sit and a river for dangling toes. Yes, the leisure prevails in this West Linn haven. Mighty fine—mighty fine.
A hub of picnic tables under a shelter, and a scattered lot in the woods. Picnic tables that have been lost in the shrubbery until you rediscover them. A connoisseur of al fresco dining, a real weenie roast—this place.
Plus a viewpoint off of the Riverside Loop Trail. (main paved trail to river) A promontory with a well placed bench overlooking the river. Now if your anything of a fan of benches this is one for the romance. Also if Tommy Lee Jones ever approaches you about joining Men in Black, and you need to reflect on your decision to do so—then muse away.
Alternatively the 128 acres is a place for activity. At the entrance of the park is two sizable fields for all those sports that require a level plain of grass. Next up is a spacious dog park. Equipped with amenities from a fire hydrant to a plastic pool and running hose. Then the forest itself held the Portland Regional Tree Climbing Competition, and as well as tree suspended—summer aerial dance shows. Who knows what else is up in those trees.
The trails, phew, the eight miles of trails are fit for a king to strut on. The Heron Creek Trail loops the park in a well maintained and pictorially northwest scenic way. A few of the Douglas firs were pardoned by early loggers and are now a marvel to look up at. Ramble down to the river on the Turkey Creek Trail or Mary S. Young Creek Trail for alternate dirt pleasing routes from the Riverside Loop Trail. Or put it all together for a gratifying run or hike.
Mary S. Young, that old-time damsel, has an ace up her sleeve. The park includes Cedar Island which can be reached on foot seasonally from late spring to before fall rains. The bridge is MIA but island patrons have tossed enough rocks in one spot to jumble across a channel. Once over you enter the back ally part of the state park. Just as beautiful, only less frequented, and more privacy—for you know: private things. Like reading a book on one of the battered swim platforms or pack of teens living large with beer and doobies. In all a great bonus excursion to hike around.
Finally, Mary S. Young State Rec. Area is a parcel of land to shore up against any swift current. Work, school, relationships, health—it’s a turbulent passage. Come upon this park with it’s anatomy of mirthful parts to recess like your a ten year old.