Silver Falls

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.

Big trees


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.

Earl in the lead


Lower South Falls

lower 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.

ready to go under


Behind the cascade

Inside looking outAnd out the other side

Lower South


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!

Once up the steps, we had a nice fairly flat trail along the creek until we got to the bottom of South Falls.  This is natural Oregon rainforest.Creek

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.

South Falls


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.

South Side


And then from behind/under the falls

Behind South 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.

South Falls w trees


Home again, home again

I’ve returned to city life.  I’d much rather still be in the woods, among those giant trees, hearing the sound of the water rushing over the falls.  Over the next few days, as I find time to process some of the photos from the trip, I’ll share a bit of the beauty of that place with you.  I had an amazing time.  I needed the peace of nature, as I didn’t have a very good time trying to paint my art quilt.  It did come out okay, but as always, I wanted spectacular. That was impossible, as the fabric I used for the quilt was too coarse for allowing the paints to shade and glaze.  It went on in a sandy texture and I had to rub for all I was worth to get anything to blend together.  It is, however, finished, except that I found the bling box this evening and I will put a few jewels in her hair.  I’m not into massive bling on a quilt, but Mucha’s original work showed some baubles in her hair.  Here is my little art quilt all painted.

Muchas Dance copy

Into the Wild

Sorry I have not been around much lately.  The fact is, I’m out in the wild.  The very weak network I’m connecting to at the moment is, in fact, called ‘The Wild.’  I am at Silver Falls State Park at a sewing retreat.  I got here on Monday and am not going home until Sunday.  My kids and house all have their appropriate sitters.  My dog is out at his cousin Kalli’s house, and my niece is house and cat sitting for me.  Nothing to do here but eat, sleep, sew.  Well, there’s also painting an art quilt (that’s not going well), and walking/hiking.  Today or tomorrow we will walk the Trail of Ten Falls.  It’s really spectacular.  I may not get to upload any photos till I get home because of the slow internet, but trust me, this is one of the most beautiful places you will ever see.  The link above will take you to the park website and you can see some photos of the lodges and the falls.  It’s spectacular, and the weather has been exceptional.  Clear, sunny (and moony at night!), and warm.  Also, I’m here with 24 other wonderful women and we have some wonderful men cooking fabulous food for us.  So, while it’s the WILD, we’re not really roughing it.

Someone to watch over me

Well.  Maybe I just needed someone (or thing) to be keeping track of my life.  Other than  the government, anyway!  Just kidding.  However, not only was I very sleepy last night, but I managed to sleep all the way through the night and nearly got eight hours of sleep.  We’ll see how it goes tonight.  I know this is not because the Fitbit is controlling my life, but perhaps my mind is at ease knowing there’s something there.  I have no idea why I was so tired yesterday, but I’m glad I managed to get a good night’s sleep for a change.  I have a feeling I may sleep fairly well tonight too, as this little Fitbit has been encouraging me to keep going today.  I was just coming into the garage from my final errand of the night, when it began to vibrate and flash all its little lights.  Apparently, I hit my goal of 10,000 steps for the day!  Yeah me!

The device links via bluetooth to your iPhone or Android smartphone, and there’s a little USB dongle you can put in your computer and it syncs whenever you’re within so many feet of the computer.  So now it can keep all sorts of data on my life.  You can set up a food plan for yourself if you want to lose weight (I do) and enter all of your food during the day.  The internal database is all set up around restaurant or packaged food, which I find fairly distressing, but I’m just entering my own values from foods I’ve already programmed into  As you enter the things you’ve eaten it tells you how many calories you have left for the day.  I’ve got plenty of calories left for the day and probably can’t and won’t eat more today.  We’ll see if this thing can sync up with the vagaries from my weird metabolism.

Ozzie and I headed for the dog park this morning, then I picked up another customer quilt, and then ran a bunch of errands.  I came home, had lunch, which made me incredibly sleepy, and I fought through it and went out for a walk.  This afternoon was quilting and then a run to the pharmacy to pick up my B12, for which I’ve been waiting for five weeks!

We got some more lovely fall foliage pictures today.

red close upunder the tree blaze japanese maple red and pine vibrant yellow little red yellow burning bush


I’ve never seen the trees this pretty in my neighborhood, and I’m really enjoying them this fall.  I hope you all won’t be bored to death with the photos.

Summer Returns to Eugene

Well, at least for a day, anyway!  I did a bunch of chores this morning and then went upstairs to load my next client quilt.  While up there, I needed to shed my sweatshirt, as I was getting quite warm.  I’m always cold, but this was a huge quilt (108 x 128) so I thought perhaps I was working up a sweat because of the size.  I had promised Ozzie a trip to the dog park when the quilt was loaded, and I grabbed my sweatshirt, feeling sure it would be cold at the park, and came back downstairs.  Once I got outside, I could tell that no, I hadn’t worked up a sweat.  It’s just very warm here.  78°F, sunny without a cloud in the sky.  It made for quite a crowded day at the dog park, but we found a space to throw the ball and had fun anyway.

dog park Oct 6


It is supposed to cool off and start to rain later on tonight, with rain through Tuesday, then partly cloudy and in the 60’s for the rest of the week.  I hope this will mean pleasant weather for everyone coming to Portland for MQX.  It was nice of Summer to come back for a brief visit.  I think I’ll go outside and enjoy a bit more of it before it says goodbye!

A little of nature’s beauty

When I first moved to Oregon, long, long ago, I was a bit disappointed in the quality of the fall colors here.  I grew up in New England — well known for spectacular autumn displays. In Oregon, the trees are green.  In autumn, they just sort of turned brown and fell off.  Well, in town anyway.  Up in the forests, there are lots of vine maple and other trees that can put on a spectacular show in the fall.

Over the past ten years, many of our street trees have been replaced with more colorful trees.  The two trees in front of my house used to be hawthorns, but they eventually decayed and the city cut them down and removed them.  They then allowed me to choose two other trees to plant.  I chose Norwegian Sunset Maples which, it turns out, are not all that colorful.  Other trees in town though, are putting on a very nice display.  I thought I’d share some near the dog park that Ozzie and I get to see every day.


Fall trees 1

fall tree

fall leaves 2Now these would all have looked much prettier if the sun had been shining when I was taking the pictures, but it’s been a bit cloudy and rainy here lately.  That’s fine with me.  We really needed the rain.  It’s also great quilting weather, and I’ve been extremely busy, hence the less frequent posts.  I’m trying to get some client quilts done and out of here before I go off to the Pacific NW Quilt Festival (MQX) next week.

Loon, Luna, Lunatic

Speaking of being a loon (in the last post), tonight is the night for lunatics.  Have you seen that moon out there?  I have tried all the different settings on my camera in an attempt to get a good picture of the moon, but alas, I’m not that great at it yet.  I’ll get there eventually.  I do love to play with the settings on the camera.

full moon trees

Full moon sept 2013