As you know, I’ve been away at Silver Falls State Park. I discovered this magical place about 25 years ago. I went a couple of times with the love of my life, who eventually decided he loved alcohol more than me. I prefer the water and the trees.
On Thursday, I convinced a few of the women to go with me on a hike of some of the falls. I really wanted to do the whole trail but, since most of my fellow quilters have trouble making it from the sewing room to the dining hall, I settled for a shorter hike. Jenny and Lori went with me and they were very good sports. We decided to go to the South Falls and, once we got to the parking lot, headed for the lodge and the visitors’ center.
The gorge in which Silver Creek runs is situated in a rainforest. You can see that much rain makes for very big trees. The trees in this photo are less than 100 years old, as much of this area was logged off in the 1930s. There was also a huge forest fire back in those days that wiped a lot of the forest out. The forest down in the gorge is natural — no logging, no fires, and some of the trees down there are hundreds of years old. They are incredible.
Anyway, as we were passing the lodge, three people were coming off the deck with hiking poles and invited us to join their 2.5 mile hike. Not very long, but nearly straight down into the gorge and then, of course, straight back up. Our group leader was Earl. Earl leads hikes on Thursday afternoons. Earl is 80 years young. When I began to think I might need to be airlifted out of the gorge, I kept reminding myself that EARL’S EIGHTY FREAKIN’ YEARS OLD!!! Look at that man whip up that trail. If he can do it, you can too! I made it. It didn’t kill me. And, in fact, I enjoyed it. Here’s Earl (wish I had gotten a better photo of him) leading us towards the lower south falls.
Lower South Falls
Preparing to walk behind lower South Falls. Yep – there are three separate lava flows that make up the gorge. The bottom layer has hardened into a serious basalt, the middle layer was much softer and more porous, the top layer a hard basalt also. Where the soft middle layer has worn away, it makes it possible to go behind two of the waterfalls.
Behind the cascade
Once out from behind this waterfall, Earl told us we were going to climb and, if we cared to count, we’d find it was only 178 steps. Believe me, I did not want to count!
We then approached South Falls, perhaps the most frequently photographed of all the ten falls, as it’s the easiest one to get to — from the top anyway — we came from the bottom. There’s a small bridge over the creek at the bottom from which I got this shot.
This is the second fall that you can walk behind, so we climbed again (no stairs, just slope) to walk the trail behind the falls. Here’s a shot from the side.
And then from behind/under the falls
And then, my very favorite shot – the South Falls through some of our lovely mossy trees. You may notice in the shot above that it was an extraordinarily gorgeous day. We had such beautiful weather for this whole trip. It only rained the day we left — the sky cried because I had to go home.