Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.

Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.
Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Ducks, Prefontaine and Rhododendrons - Wed., June 17, 2015

Today, I started out on Pre's Trail adjacent to and through the University of Oregon campus. But that's not all, this was an 11k (6.8 mile) route so we were treated to Hendricks Park and Alton Baker Park, as well as Eugene neighborhoods.

I was supposed to meet Susan and Darren at 9 a.m., but at 6:30 a.m. I had a text message saying they needed to start at 8 a.m. so they could make a 2 p.m. meeting at the Volksmarch Convention. As we say in our RVing lifestyle, plans are made in Jell-o. If I were to meet them in Eugene at 8 a.m., I would have had to leap out of bed, thrown on my clothes and race to Eugene without having breakfast. I told them I'd see them the next day at 8 am to walk.

I lollygagged getting ready knowing I didn't have to be in Eugene at 9 a.m. I made it there by 10:15 a.m. and started walking. First stop: restrooms at Alton Baker Park. When I walked in the restroom, there were four stalls WITH NO DOORS!! I hate that! The ladies were as respectful as possible with no stall doors.

Once I hit the trail, it meandered past a pond, a sculpture, Hays Memory Tree Garden, an amphitheater, a canoe canal, a dog park, and Awesome Autzen Stadium.

What a day!
On Pre's Trail
Autzen Stadium
Next we went through the woods and over the Willamette (pronounced Will-lam-it, dammit) River. I took photos looking both up- and down-river from the bridge.

Looking upriver
Looking downriver
The Willamette River is near and dear to my heart. More on that toward the end of today's blog.

Our walk route went through the University of Oregon campus. This is where my son graduated college so it was familiar to me. U of O has quite an extensive collection of exotic flora. The University offer tours of the trees and gardens. The Willamette Valley has a moderate climate so trees and plants grow here from all over the world. Plus the buildings are historic and many of them have gorgeous brickwork. 

Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art - entrance
Knight Library
Close-up of Knight Library building detail
Beautiful leaves in the sunshine
Did I mention how gorgeous the day was?
Dogwood in bloom in a yard
Bronze-colored bark
Hawthorn tree blossoms
Up and up into the hills we went. Our destination? Hendricks Park. Hendricks Park was established in Eugene, Oregon in 1906 as the city's first park. The Hendricks family donated 47 acres and the City purchased an additional 31 acres. The landscape has changed. Prior to European settlement, the southern Willamette Valley, including what would become Hendricks Park, was prairie, oak savannah, oak woodland and a small presence of Douglas fir. This was due to the native Kalapuya tribe's proclivity to regularly burn the prairies and savannahs. When burning ceased, the park land developed into a Douglas-fir forest with only a few remaining small stands of oak habitat. As the fir forest continues to transition into an old-growth forest, the oaks are being protected and enhanced. The Rhododendron Garden in the park was established in 1951 by founding members of the Rhododendron Society. (Info from a brochure by Eugene Parks & Open Space.)

In the following photo, you can see the trail our Volksmarch followed through Hendricks Park. The pink and black polka dot ribbon on the right shows us which path to follow.

Wild strawberries
A unique flower I have never seen before
Can anyone identify this flower?
Returning back down the hill into the neighborhoods, we saw some pretty homes and beautiful trees. 

Magnolia in bloom
Beautiful architecture
Massive catalpa tree
Golden St. John's Wort (Hypericum frondosum)
A quick glance at Hayward Field, University of Oregon
With Phil Knight and Nike being so intertwined with sports at the University of Oregon, it was no surprise to see the following ad on the side of a parking structure...

Legion of Zoom

Bridge over the Willamette: "Over the river..."
Rapids in the Willamette River
Duck and ducklings (Oregon Ducks, get it?)
"...and through the woods."
Then I was back at the start point having completed the walk.

On the drive home from Eugene to Mom's, Bob asked me to stop by the house on the Willamette where we lived for 12 years. He wanted a photo. When I got there, something looked amiss. Pine needles were piled up by the front door, the yard looked shabby, and there were signs in the front window and on the front glass door. What could this mean?

I parked in the driveway, got out and went up to the front door. There was a notice that the property was being kept locked to prevent further vandalism. What??

Because we used to live there and I was curious, I looked in the window and it was obviously abandoned. I walked around to the back overlooking the river and tried the sliding glass door. It was unlocked. I went in and looked around.

My heart sank. I should not have come back. Bob and I bought a river house fixer upper and spent our time, creativity and money to completely remodel the interior. We hired an architect and made it just the way we wanted it. Now all the carpet had been replaced with very dark hardwood floors in the kitchen, dining and living rooms and the walls were painted dark grey/green. (We had them painted a warm ivory color.) Downstairs family room was painted maroon!

Front of house
Entryway with stairs going to daylight basement
Living room and fireplace
Upper back deck
Stairs down to boat dock on Willamette River
Back of house
Downstairs family room, used to have brown carpet
Other half of downstairs family room
Looking from dining room to kitchen
View of Willamette River from dining room
View of river from kitchen (I used to keep all my
African violets in the bow window)
Kitchen cupboards and ovens
Mid and lower patios
At some point doors or windows had been left open and birds had gotten in and pooped all over the kitchen counters and dining room window ledges. On the kitchen counter was an inspection paper that had been signed by inspectors over about a nine-month period. All the water in the house was turned off and winterized. Truly a sad state of affairs. Bob thinks maybe there is a foreclosure on the house.

On top of that, the peach tree I had planted in the side yard, which used to produce about 100 peaches per summer (or more), had been cut down. The hot tub on the deck had been removed as well. Very sad.

I loved living in that house. Bird watching was extraordinary: great blue herons nested in the Douglas firs across the river, bald eagles and osprey fished right in front of our house, I watched a merlin catch and eat a smaller bird, and many other birds visited.

We used to have an 18' water ski boat and had barbecues with lots of friends and spent the day waterskiing. (I drove the boat because I never could master waterskiing.)

Enough reminiscing. Life goes on. 

Travel Bug out.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful walk through Eugene and a bittersweet stop at your former home. Looks like it was a wonderful place to live. With such a nice location, I bet it will be cleaned up by the next owners and they will enjoy it as much as you did.


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