I woke up early so i could use the computer before I went out for the day to celebrate our nation’s 231st birthday and our city’s 150th. Catching the bus downtown, I headed straight for the Fort -- Fort Vancouver parade grounds, that is. i wasn’t going to be able to stay for the fireworks because there is no regular bus route and it is too dangerous walking from the mall that late at night. I just wanted to be there for the opening ceremonies when the flags of the US, our state and city are brought in by veterans from all the different branches of our military to start the celebration. This year, it was done completely by the Army based here.
It was only proper for them to do this since we were celebrating our nation’s birthday. The serviceman who sang “The Star Spangled Banner” did a fantastic, beautiful job. It brought tears to my eyes hearing him sing those wonderful, familiar words.
Years ago, this is the first thing they did to start the celebration. This year it got postponed to 1:20. So, I waited around, reading the newspaper that the local paper gave me free as I entered the parade grounds this morning.
Always after the opening flag ceremony (this year by the Army that is stationed at Fort Vancouver), the emcee asks families to stand and be recognized if they have someone serving or who has served in the different branches of the military. That always makes me feel proud -- both my boys are in the Navy as was their father and grandfather and I had a brother who served in the Air Force too. THIS YEAR THEY DIDN’T DO THAT AND I FELT SO SAD. I should have realized that one day that part would disappear. . . two years ago, they raised the prices so high that the Vietnam Vets “corn on the cob” stand was no more. Now, except for the presentation of the flags, our nation’s birthday party has become just a big money maker. I’m glad I had 20 years of really celebrating our nation’s birthday here at the Fort. Memories sure are precious.
Anyway, after the ceremony, I left the site and headed for Burgerville USA -- not for a burger but for a basket of their sweet Walla Walla onion rings.
This is the time of year they are available and it has become a part of my celebration. They are so sweet and yummy!
As I sat there eating the first one, I looked around and saw their red, white and blue balloons and even their name on the tall sign -- at least they were celebrating with some spirit.
Soon, it was time to head for a bus stop so I could get to the Salmon Creek Greenway to walk their trail. I wanted to try to get some photos of fields for a friend who requested them recently. Of course, getting in a good walk was the main objective. I got off the bus at the “waterfall” and crossed the busy highway.
Cars were lined up all the way to the highway , waiting for a parking place. The Klineline Pond there is always a big draw for free swimming with lifeguards on duty. I usually get off the trail and go look around down there and take some photos but today was a holiday and the bus schedule was limited in trips so I had to stay on track with my mission or have to walk all the way home after my long hike.
It had been two years since i walked this particular trail. i knew that i would end up in Felida and the Felida/Lincoln bus would take me downtown where I could catch a bus to a place near my home and just walk about two miles more and I would be back home. That didn’t happen. Somehow, the trail ended and I took a path to a regular city street and walked it for a bit. It was very hilly and not a fun walk at all. I knew I could turn around and get back to where I “was lost” in the first place. If aLL else failed, I could go back to Klineline and catch the same bus back to town. I wasn’t worried. . . well, not a lot. i was concerned that i might miss the last bus going home.
Sooooooooo, I tucked my pride into my back pocket and asked a gentleman who was watering his flowers how I could get back to the Salmon Creek Greenway. Turns out, ll I had to do was go back down the street about 2 blocks and take the Cougar Creek Trail.
It was an old dirt trail that was used for horse riding before the city got sophisticated and made the trails cement. It ran right into the trail i should have been on all along. I saw this robin at the end of the dirt trail -- it let me take its photo three times and didn't move an inch.
Trusting the gentleman's helpful directions, I managed to find the picnic area and the steps down the hill to MY TRAIL. What a relief! I remembered to go to the left and not the right so I would get to the bus I had hoped to take home. After about three more miles of scenic fields I made it!
One day soon, I plan to go back and figure out where I went wrong in my walking trek. I got to town and had to wait a short while for the “last bus” home. That gave me a little rest sitting down before walking the two miles from the bus stop in my area -- it was a piece of cake. I looked at my pedometer and had covered 17.92 miles that day. It was nothing since I had walked over 26 miles in the Portland Marathon two years ago. On the way home,
I saw old glory flying and got a good picture as the wind caught it just right. I had the mini flag given to me by the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars to remember what the day was all about but seeing this big flag flying proudly made my heart glad that others took pride in their country also.
Got home and had something to eat and went to bed for a couple hours. I wanted to be awake for the firework show on television since I could not be there in person. At nine, i woke up and it was time for the show on television from New York touted as the biggest fireworks show anywhere followed by our hometown firework display, touted as the biggest show west of the Mississippi. Both were great but the show I had in my backyard was even more spectacular! Our backyard fence has neighbors on 3 sides of us. I think they were all trying to outdo one another. Their handiwork went in the sky above our back yard and it was like I was sitting at the Fort watching the fireworks! I almost took my camera outside to watch -- i would have if I hadn’t been in my pj’s already!