Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Shred Oregon Day 4: Silver Falls State Park

After the epic and wet ride on McKenzie River Trail the itinerary called for a two hour drive to Silver Falls State Park, 20 miles east of Salem, Oregon.

This was a must stop on our tour of Oregon because I needed to see if 31-year old memories were accurate. When I was 12, my parents and sister and I drove from No Dak to Oregon to visit cousins. They took us to this park to see what seemed like the world’s most amazing waterfalls, at least to a kid from dry North Dakota who had never seen a waterfall before.  I also wanted to show Drew this fantastic place.

We drove over to the park on the evening of Day 3 after riding MRT. We stopped at Detroit Lake for a delicious (not really but we were very hungry) hamburger. Then continued on to the park.
Making ourselves at home at the Silver Falls State Park campground/RV park.
Hot showers and a peaceful night were in store and made for a happy, if not chilly, morning.
photo 3
Cowboy coffee at breakfast.
The Trail of Ten Falls was the premier way to see all the waterfalls in this most-visited of Oregon’s state parks.  A seven mile hike on mostly wide and well worn hiking trails down along the North Fork of Silver Creek and up Smith Creek, passing within jumping distance to 10 glorious large waterfalls.
I took a lot of pictures with my Cannon Powershot point and shoot trying to capture the fast action of falling water and in other shots the blur of the water.  I did alright. See if you can tell which is which. You can click on any picture to get a large version.
First off was North Falls,

a big one (136 feet tall) that you can walk behind.
View from the amphitheater behind North Falls.
Each waterfall was very beautiful.
Middle North Falls.
Middle North Falls again.

This was Double Falls, the highest at 178 feet.
Drew for scale at Double Falls.  See the shorter waterfall at the top of the picture to the right of the big drop.

Lower North Falls.

Ninety-three foot Lower South Falls...
was really cool because you could:
1) walk behind a huge curtain of water

 Walking behind a waterfall.

and 2. see pillow basalts (lava which erupted underwater, cooling quickly from the water and forming rounded pillows)!
Pillow basalts. Jean Luc Piccard action figure for scale.
Lower South Falls from another angle after we walked behind. If you look closely you can just barely make out the trail at the bottom of the second lava flow, which is at the line below the black rock above the mossy green rocks and a bit above where the water first hits the rocks after coming off the ledge.
Last but not least was South Falls, a granddaddy.  Nearly the tallest in the park at 177 feet, and certainly a beaut.

This was another we could walk behind.
So the Trail of Ten Waterfalls turned out to be the Trail of Eight for us, since we missed two spurs to Winter Falls and Upper North Falls due to time. But nevertheless, I was even more impressed as an adult than as a 12-year-old, and Drew was mighty impressed too.  For sure worth a day off the bikes in our Shred Oregon vacation.

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