On an absolute last-second whim, I headed out this afternoon to take a hike around one of my favorite nearby attractions, the Tualatin Hills Nature Park. It’s just two stops away via MAX light rail, but between the pandemic and everything else I just haven’t made it over there in a couple of years.

This is what the entryway to the bridge over the creek bed from the MAX station park entrance looked like in 2018.

Let’s put it this way: The last time, I was still playing Pok√©mon Go heavily. And yes, it was a bit novel to be looking around at the scenery rather than staring intently at my phone checking for game activity.

Of course having said that, I must then point out that what I did instead, this time, was look at my camera’s viewscreen a lot because I took a whole bunch of pictures.

This is what the entryway to the NEW bridge over the creek bed from the MAX station park entrance looks like in September of 2022. What HAPPENED?

What can I say? I’m a slave to modern technology. And beyond the usual generic shots of green trees under early autumn sunny skies, I saw a lot of changes in the park itself.

Like… I don’t know what happened but a big swath of the middle of the park (basically all of the creek bed) is kind of a disaster area. It looks a bit like the debris fields created by the Mt. St. Helens eruption.

The entire creek bed looks like this. I’d love to hear about what’s going on.

A bit of searching online after I got back home turned up no news articles about changes under way at the park, or any flooding events, or things like that. (I pinged the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District’s Twitter account, maybe I’ll get lucky and someone will see my request and respond. It could happen!) There’s definitely something going on since there’s construction equipment and such visible here & there.

If you look closely, you can see a Caterpillar in its natural habitat…

I also got a bit lost at one point, partly due to all the changes & construction work. I thought I was making my way back toward the MAX station but instead nearly exited from effectively the opposite corner of the park, over on 170th!

A smarter fellow than myself would have taken this as a sign that I was entering unknown territory.

I wasn’t the only one confused, however, as I saw several groups of hikers loop past the same park map sign that I did a few times. Realization eventually dawned on us all that the only way “back” was across the new bridge (which wasn’t, of course, on the now-outdated map).

All in all it was a good hike, though. Perfect temperatures, not too many bugs, lots of sunlit greenery, plenty of shutterbug opportunities (including all of the creek bed debris fields and the new bridges), and everyone I passed along the way was pleasant and polite.

(At one point I was treading softly along a part of the trail where, years earlier, I’d been able to photograph a deer. I wondered if that might happen again this time. As I thought that, an entire multi-generational family unit chattered and clomped past me, and I thought, “… or maybe not!”)

One of these days I need to be on this path when there’s enough rainwater on the ground for this tiny little bridge to perform its vital duty. You can do it, little bridge!

I also took a bunch of portraits of trees, because I’m a bit silly that way. Who knows, maybe they’ll make good smartphone lock screen wallpaper?

There’s a half-dozen or so more where that came from. Okay, technically there’s a lot more trees where that tree comes from, but I only took a half-dozen or so pictures of them like this.

All I know is, I needed that hike. I really needed that.

Also, I am a complete dork.