Posted by: pilgrm34 | October 3, 2011

north side of Hayden Island

Evening primrose

Under a rapidly advancing black cloud, Ineke and I decide to scout the north beach of West Hayden Island. Lewis and Clark called it Canoe Island because its eastern point widens toward the middle and narrows again to a western point. It sits between two large metropolitan cities in the center of the Columbia and covers only four and a half square miles. We stick to the sandy trail above the first accessible beach to preserve the privacy of a 6-tent homeless encampment and agree it’s an ideal site with a lagoon-like bay, wide expanse and sheltering cottonwoods. The trail soon ascends a 15 ft high bank, a plateau of sand dredge smothering the landscape for as much as a square mile—likely contaminated by pollution. It reaches well into the interior. From the summit it’s possible to see the tall cottonwood forest to the south. To the north the shoreline of the Columbia River and Port of Vancouver are visible.

Port of Vancouver

Ahead, the trail edges along tall grass the color of straw growing out of sand, while overhead darkened clouds dynamically advance northward. We see multitudes of deer tracks in the sand. A large set next to a small one, a mother and fawn, exit onto a barely discernable path through the tall grass.Though we have not yet seen them, we know deer are the true possessors of the island.

Ineke on the trail

meadow near beach

cottonwood on beach

Evening primrose growing in sand

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