A Walk on the Wild Side
Nearly every day, rain or shine, I make my way over to the boardwalk at the Jackson Frazier Wetland northeast of Corvallis. Established as a Benton County Park in 1992, the 2/3 mile-long trail meanders through the wetland and offers a beautiful, quiet respite in any season.
We are fortunate to have this protected natural area so close and accessible. My walks have become a daily ritual because they provide a calm, clear start to the day as I drink my morning oolong tea on one of the benches while listening to the chatter of the marsh wren. If the walk has to wait for the end of a hectic day at the office, it rejuvenates my body and soul as I briskly navigate the boardwalk loop while the low slant of sun turns the camas meadow gold and purple before dusk settles in. Surprisingly, the wetland has even inspired me to get creative in the kitchen!
What’s that Scent?
On a recent autumn walk, as I rounded a curve that opens up to an expansive wet-meadow view, a pungent and spicy fragrance suddenly filled my nose. What is that smell, I wondered? The scent was strong and complex – a mixture of vanilla, cinnamon, rose, and pepper! I immediately looked around to see what plants were growing nearby. Could it be that the tarweed, pennyroyal, dock, rose, and apple were combining to create an irresistible scent that made me want to head home and bake a fruit pie?
You never know where a walk on the wild side will take you. Let me know if you have any thoughts about where that delicious fragrance at the Jackson Frazier Wetland originates!
About the Author
Holly is an aquatic ecologist, botanist, and educator with more than 25 years of experience in natural resource planning/management, sustainable agricultural practice, and community outreach related to conservation and stewardship on public and private lands.