Needing a break from the relentless winter conditions in the gorge, we opted for a recliner hike today and headed out to Whipple Creek Park just west of I-5 exit 9 north of Vancouver.
A friend recently told me of this parks existence and what I'd heard fit the bill for today. The weather looked good and we was blessed with perfect temperatures for a hike and even some sun for about half of it.
Most of the trails in the park have a light coating of gravel so are 95% mud free which is saying a lot given how the past few months have been. Some of the side trails have some mud but IMO are far better than the much more used urban trails in the Portland area.
We managed to hike 6.2 miles and only retraced our steps for a half mile or so. There is still a mile to a mile and half of trails we didn't get to so will have to return and do more when next we need a break.
This park was a real surprise and finding a mature forest so close to home, some of it approaching old-growth status really surprised us. Finding it in such great shape added to that surprise. What little blowdown and ice damage from winter has been completely cleaned up so there is no impediment to enjoying this area. The forest is primarily Douglas fir with a good showing of silver fir, western red cedar and big leaf maple. The firs have outgrown the height of the maples so they are slowly dying back but many still command ones attention.
Nice little bridges cross the creeks:
Most of the trails are wide and mud free:
Side trails, most on the north side of the park aren't too bad but are muddy:
There are even a few artifacts to enjoy, such as the remains of this mill on the south end of the park:
We didn't see any wildlife but this interesting creature was tied to a post in the parking lot: