Given my current disabled condition, there’s not much I can do to get ouside and enjoy the sunshine, but there are a few places that I can go. There are paved walking and bike trails in every nearby town, and some of them offer spectacular scenery. The Trail of the Coeur D’Alenes, for example, starts in Plummer and meanders for over 70 miles to the town of Mullan near Lookout Pass. There are some sections of this trail that seem like they’d be good to explore, but this time of year, there might still be some snow blocking my way or even some downed trees across the path.
Fortunately, Lewiston’s Levee Parkway doesn’t suffer from either of these problems, and it has the added benefit of an extra 5-10 degree increase in temperature. The levee lines the Clearwater and Snake Rivers and was built for both recreation and flood control. The 11-mile trail begins near the Rt. 12 bridge and ends at Hell’s Gate State Park. There are views of the river, the canyon walls, and some of the more industrial sights of town, but overall, it’s not a bad spot to be, especially in my condition. In fact, I kinda wished I had my camera on me even though I’m not sure I’d be able to support it with two hands yet.
It does have one other attraction. The spill-over ponds on the other side attract migrating waterfowl, and people from all over the state will come to Lewiston to witness this display. Yesterday, I must have counted about 15 different species of water birds, and there were probably more that I missed because I lack a spotting scope. It’s not just the number of species that is awe inspiring, but also the sheer number of birds. Between the ponds and the river, there were probably thousands of bodies floating on the water.
My complete list of sightings for the afternoon can be seen here. In the upcoming weeks, I’ll be checking out other trails for the disabled, many of which travel through great bird habitat. While I may not be exploring the backcountry as I once was, at least I can still get out and have some fun. And pretty soon, I should be able to hold a camera again.