Silence Like a Symphony

Canoeing Silver Creek

By Martha Ripple

“The weather is supposed to be beautiful,” Penny Traylor said. “Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and binoculars.”

Penny, who’s with The Nature Conservancy, had arranged for a small group of us to canoe on legendary Silver Creek within the Silver Creek Preserve, off Highway 20 about fifteen miles south of Bellevue. The first of what became 851 acres were purchased more than forty years ago by the nonprofit conservation group to protect the home of fish and about 150 species of birds, as well as coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, deer, elk, and moose.

I was both excited and a little nervous about this visit. I had been in a canoe only once before. What if we accidentally ran into a rock in the narrow stream? Growing up in central California, my encounters with nature had been in the form of mowing the front lawn. My family had neither the money nor the inclination to leave our little town of Davis, so I never learned to hunt, fish, camp, hike, or ski. Before I married, I never had seen snow in the mountains. Canoeing Silver Creek would definitely be an adventure for me.

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