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


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.

The fun part of quilting

Those of you who have longarm quilting machines know that quilting can be a lot of work.  If you have a custom quilt job (lots of fancy stuff in it), you need to do lots of SID, or stitch in the ditch, to offset the motifs.  Stitch in the ditch is pretty basic on a regular sewing machine, because you’ve got your presser foot holding everything in place and you just have to follow the path.  A longarm quilting machine doesn’t have a presser foot.  It has a hopping foot, and it does just that – it hops all over the place if you’re not careful!  Lines to be quilted along the X and Y axes are not that difficult.  The machine naturally wants to travel vertically or horizontally.  It’s when you come to those diagonal lines that things get tricky.  Anyway, I do all of my SID before I begin to lay in the designs.  Yep, all of it.  I want that whole puppy stabilized before I start to play.  This quilt had lots and lots of SID to be done.  I finished that part a few days ago and am nearly done with the quilt, but I’m running off to do something else at the moment.  This is a photo taken when the hard part was done and the fun began.

fun part of quilting


Although this type of quilt is a lot of work, it is my very favorite type to do.  Classic, blue and white or red and white quilts really melt my butter.  I hope you’ll all enjoy what I’ve done with this one when you see the finished photos.  It will probably be just over a week before you see those, because I’m running away to Silver Falls!  Gotta take the dog to the sitter, get the house and cat sitter all situated, finish packing, do a few errands, and I’m outta here!  Eat, sleep, sew, with a few campfires and a couple hikes around the waterfalls here I come.