As I’ve been settling into Salem, I’ve been looking for a decent place to walk. After trying one near my husband’s work, I found it a bit marshy and muddy, since the path isn’t paved, or even well defined in places. So, I’ve switched and for the moment have settled on the popular, but reasonably nice Riverfront Park. It’s a busy park, one that usually has a large amount of people, but it also has nice paved paths along the Willamette river, which is good this time of year. Even better, since I last lived here, they’ve added a pedestrian/bike bridge over the Willamette that connects with Wallace Marine Park in West Salem. It’s the bridge that helps outweigh the popularity of the park, although I’ve yet to find a park that isn’t fairly busy when the weather is decent in Salem, even the muddy one (lost of people fish there).
Three bridges cross the river in downtown Salem, two one way bridges on 22, that have a relatively unpleasant yet effective sidewalk, and this third bridge, which was up until a few years ago, a railroad bridge. Apparently when the rail line was no longer used, the city acquired it to make it into a hiking/biking trail. In my opinion, it’s the nicest of the bridges (although the arches in the pillars of the older highway bridge are pretty. The former railroad bridge used to lift, so it still has the towers that once controlled it, even if now it’s paved over with a nice wide path. There’s plenty of room to stop and gawk at the nice view of the river in either direction without worrying about getting in anyone’s way, as well as a couple of places made for viewing, which I assume were for people to get out of the way of the trains originally.
Wallace Marine Park in west Salem has also been redone since I’ve last been in the area, with a further path going north along the river bank, with places to go out and down to the river. The Willamette is even looking slightly less disgusting in general (I haven’t seen any raw sewage in it lately) but I still would not swim in it unless it was a life or death situation. Still from up on the bridge or the safety of the bank, the river is pretty enough.
Apparently eventually they plan to build another bridge on the other side of the part connecting to Minto Island, which will be nice. I have yet to go try to walk there, because it’s a little further out of my way, but I vaguely recall it also had a number of paved paths, so I might try it out here and see if it’s less busy than Riverfront. I will look forward to when it’s connected though, even with increased traffic, because it’ll make it more convenient for me.
At least I’m finally getting back into a daily walk. Always a good thing. Remember, sitting too much will kill you! And I have too many novels I want to write to let that happen.