Grandma Suzie and I picked up our little hiking buddy Booker today and took a stroll around the Portage Creek Wildlife Area. Just west of Arlington Washington, the wetland sanctuary is a wonderful mix of marsh, ponds, and native grasslands.
We started at the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Museum. Even though the museum was “officially” closed for the season there was still lots to see and do.
The pathways around the museum ponds feature dozens of antique tractors, rustic old pieces of logging equipment, and all sorts of relics from the pioneer days in the Stillaguamish Valley.
There were also lots and lots of birds… buffleheads, mallards, black-capped chickadees, dark-eyed juncos, northern flickers… I’ll stop the list here, but rest assured that we stopped and studied everyone one of them.
Next stop on the nature hike was the Portage Creek trail, just off Hwy 530. I had advised Booker to keep his eyes peeled for red-tailed hawks as we approached, and sure enough there was a big beautiful red-tailed hawk waiting for us in an old rotten tree right at the edge of the parking area.
Did you ever wonder where the term “keep your eyes peeled” comes from? The phrase dates back to the 1820’s in England where Sir Robert Peel organized the first police force. The troops were known as “peelers” or “bobbies”, and were expected to be particularly observant… Well, I think these types of outings with my grandchildren will make them all first class “peelers”. There is very little that escapes our full investigation as we wander along on these treks.
Following a little discussion about the way red-winged blackbirds use cattails, Booker got busy with my knife turning a cattail into “fluffy” nest material.
Soon it was time to head back to the car, pull off Booker’s wet shoes and socks, and get him warmed up a bit… a critical component to enjoying a milkshake on the way home. Ice cream treats are always better when your feet are not frozen.
That’s about it for this edition of the Adventure Journal. Thanks for reading along and I hope you get a chance to get out and rub some caterpillars real soon.