A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

An autumn day on the Simpson Park trail

Written November 2nd, 2019 by Hasso Hering

Looking upstream along the Willamette River from the Simpson Park trail on Nov. 1.

The dry weather of the last few days has made this a great time to visit Albany’s Simpson Park trail, whether on foot or on a fat-tire bike.

In the afternoon sunshine of Friday, I found the trail carpeted with fallen leaves, making for a particularly pleasant ride. All that carpeting might hide the occasional root or hole, but I didn’t hit either.

The path runs through the woods between the Willamette River and First Lake. The area has been notorious for homeless camps, but they presumably are out of sight, hidden from the main path. In any event, I didn’t see any camps, or any people on the path or off.

From several segments of the 1.2-mile trail, you have a good view of the river, running low and slow this time of year, and on this afternoon devoid of boats.

In case you don’t know, you reach the trail via the north end of Waverly Drive and the parking lot that serves Simpson Park and the Talking Water Gardens.

Waverly Drive past the wastewater treatment plant is where part of a major sewer construction project has been taking place. The work there seems to be mostly finished. But even though there was no activity or traffic, flaggers were deployed at both ends of the construction site on Friday afternoon. They let me through without delay.

Now, with standard time returning on Sunday morning, in coming months there will be less time for afternoon recreation outdoors. But still, on a glorious autumn day like Friday, the Simpson Park trail is worth a visit when you want to feel like you’re out in nature while remaining close to town. (hh)

And a wider view of the same scenery. Except for the bike, no sign of civilization.

10 responses to “An autumn day on the Simpson Park trail”

  1. J. Jacobson says:

    One wonders what makes homeless camps “notorious.”

    • Steven B. says:

      Well, according to Merriam-Webster, notorious means “generally known and talked of”. If you were unaware of the homeless camp or hadn’t heard anyone talking about them, it might just be because you’re not paying attention. Or, it could be that Hasso was intending to convey the second definition (doubtful) which causes one to wonder why you would assume that. In any case, I took it to mean the former.

    • hj.anony1 says:

      Ha! Yes, but in the case of Simpson they have been more like homeless caves or dirt dugouts. Perhaps one too many humanoids have checked out of society and decided to play by their own rules?

      In doing so, they have become notorious.

  2. Ean says:

    How does daylight savings create less time in the day for a retired person?

    • Hasso Hering says:

      Today, by causing it to get dark around 5 instead of around 6 p.m. Retired doesn’t mean a person has nothing to do.

      • Ean says:

        Sorry didn’t mean to imply that you don’t do anything. But with no real set schedule I am not seeing what is stopping you from getting up at the same time of day as you did last week (an hour earlier on the clock)

  3. centrist says:

    After reviewing HH’s and diagramming them, the point is not that the individuals are notorious. The point is that the park is noted for having homeless sites.

  4. Jim Engel says:

    O.K., so if homeless & must camp there at least be respectful enough to leave no trace – i.e.-pack your trash out & keep the area neat!

  5. Clarity says:

    I took a boat ride right past there Friday afternoon, we must have just missed each other. There are two homeless encampments visible from the river, notorious or not, between Bowman and First Lake. Rest assured when the river does eventually rise the abandoned trash will be swept downstream.

  6. Terry Fuston says:

    Hasso you’re not supposed to be riding a bike down there, there’s a reason that they use big bark chips on the trail, it’s to discourage bike riding.


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