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On the last weekend of December, we journeyed to the Carty Unit of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. To my surprise, there was lots of construction activity underway for a new administrative building.
Walking through the rain, we crossed over an interesting arched foot bridge above a set of railroad tracks. Then we headed north to a cedar plankhouse. It was built in 2005 as a representative of the 14 plankhouses observed by Lewis & Clark in a nearby Indian village.
This was the beginning of the Oaks to Wetlands Trail, a path passing several lakes.
There had been much work done in the area since our last visit. Most of the Douglas firs had been cut and a lot of underbrush removed. The goal is to return the area to an oak-savannah environment.
My sharp-eyed favorite model spotted movement on the trail ahead of us at one point. It turned out to be two Columbian whitetail deer. They are native to the area, but only recently have been making a comeback.
Eventually the trail emerged on a butte overlooking much of the area. But, because of changes in the trail network, we had to pass over some rough patches.
Walking back to the trailhead, we were looking forward to returning in a few months when the colorful, early wildflowers will be in bloom.
My Favorite Model at the Plankhouse
Sometimes the trail is opened and sometimes it isn’t. My Jeep was the only vehicle at the trailhead our entire visit.
Golden-crowned Sparrows (they weren’t very good posers)