The Willamette Greenway Trail and Beyond + Stormtrooper

Posted by on Jul 12, 2015 in Places, Stories | No Comments

I’m not much of a traveler. I like to stay home and create something in the kitchen or create worlds from my imagination. I once took a class on Charles Baudelaire, the French poet who wrote Invitation Au Voyage. Apparently he took a trip once and had such a horrible time, he also preferred voyages of the mind. So to push myself, I sometimes travel around with my Stormtrooper. If you ever visit downtown Portland, we both recommend the Willamette Greenway Trail.

willamette greenway trail and stormtrooper by ana penelope dunwoody

The Willamette Greenway Trail is an extensive system of trails all along the Willamette River. You can start downtown by heading towards the river through Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

Fountain (8/52)

A lot of people walk, bike, and run on this part of the trail. If you want a more peaceful walk, cross the railroad tracks and go underneath the Steel Bridge.

Steel Bridge & Moon

The Stormtrooper and I prefer this part of the trail. There’s a lot more wildlife, if you stop and take your time.

“Alright, we have to move,” I said.

“I need to stretch,” the Stormtrooper complained.

the stretch by ana penelope dunwoody

“Stretch?!” I said. “What do you need to stretch for?” I asked him.

“So I can stand getting back in your pocket,” the Stormtrooper replied with a sigh.

He didn’t stay in my pocket for long, as we sat and watched the birds on the Willamette River shore.

on the willamette river by ana penelope dunwoody

We saw Canadian Geese.

Canadian Geese on the Willamette River

and a Double-crested Cormorant

Double Crested Cormorant

“Those Double-crested Cormorants are cool,” the Stormtrooper remarked.


“I know where we can see a whole bunch more but it will be a trek,” I replied.

Then a shadow flew above us and the Stormtrooper shivered.

Up High

“I, I,” he stuttered. “I want to go back in your pocket,” said the Stormtrooper looking up at the sky.

“It’s only an Osprey,” I replied. “He’s not going to eat you, you’re plastic for goodness sakes.”

“That’s all I need,” replied the Stormtrooper. “He’ll pick me up, realize I’m not good to eat, then just drop me in the water! Like the last guy!”

dead man's float by ana penelope dunwoody

“You’re not like the other guy,” I replied. “The Osprey would only get your helmet, remember?”

problems with a helmet by ana penelope dunwoody

“Still, I want to go back in your pocket, until I know he’s gone,” replied the Stormtrooper.

The Stormtrooper hummed nervously in my pocket until I saw the Osprey head back towards downtown. He stuck his head out of my pocket and said, “Okay, I’m ready to see those cormorants.”

We walked past the Portland police horse corral. The corral marks the end of this portion of the Willamette Greenway Trail.

We walked a few blocks along Naito Parkway and cut through a parking lot to got back along the river. The trail took us underneath the Fremont Bridge.

underneath the fremont bridge by ana penelope dunwoody

Then we walked about one more block along Naito Parkway until we saw some condominiums. We walked down to the river at the entrance and saw a Great Blue Heron.

Great Blue Heron

“Come on,” said the Stormtrooper. Where are the cormorants?”

“I told you it would be a little bit of a trek,” I replied. “See that anchor head?” I asked.

“Oh I see,” said the Stormtrooper. “There’s a whole bunch of them!”

“Did we just see what I thought we saw?” asked the Stormtrooper.

“Yeah, the adult cormorant fed his child,” I replied.

“That was like a National Geographic moment. That was so cool! And right here in the city!” said the Stormtrooper.

“I guess sometimes it’s good to go out and see the real world.”

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