Wednesday 8/19/09 We find that Silver Falls State Park, home of "The Trail of Ten Falls" which is on an 8.7 mile National Recreation Trail is only 14 miles from our camp grounds. Now we have NO intention of walking that 8.7 miles (not that we couldn't) we are just hoping you can see a couple of them from the road. www.oregonstateparks.org So about 10 am, with our trusty picnic lunch, we head off to "chase" more waterfalls, I think we are becoming obsessed with them.
It's a beautiful drive, with rolling hills covered & I mean covered with Christmas Tree Farms. Next Christmas when you buy your live tree, you must check to see if it comes from Silverton, Oregon, it seems to be a main industry, that would be Christmas trees, hops for beer & flowers. We arrive and buy our day permit for $3.00 that allows us to park in any of the parking lots. We find that several of the falls can be viewed by very short hikes.... .02 to .05 miles, just so they are not to steep for Wills back, but we are optimistic we will see some.
Our first waterfall that we arrive at is Winter Falls, which you can see from the viewpoint just off the road- is dry (only a trickle) I guess it only runs in the winter time, so off we go to the next one. We wind our way off the main road into a parking lot that shows - South Falls loop less than a 1/2 mile loop hike, so off we go. I really can't describe how beautiful this was, it was a very large "bowl like" surrounded with lava rock with ferns growing everywhere & this 100 ft single waterfall coming over the top into a pool below, which then ran off into a creek downstream. You walked down a good path that surrounds this "bowl" and at one point you are walking behind the waterfall. These rocks have "chimney" formations caused by years of water dripping so there are cave like spots on this path, with sun shinning through and a bench that you can just sit there in awe. Really, it was a most beautiful sight, we are sure this waterfall is THE BEST!
We meet some people on the trail.....at this moment it was only us & them at the waterfall, they tell us not to far off, on the actual main trail there is the Lower South Falls, this is the water heading down the creek. They are about our age & heavier & they say the walk is not to bad, so we decide we can do it and head out. It really wasn't that bad we just stopped often for rest breaks, the trail was following the creek that had it's own beauty and sound. The trees & surrounding vegetation was beautiful. Finally, we arrive at Lower South Falls, only to discover that they hadn't mentioned approximately 100 steps on a switch back trail. Now we could see part of the falls before the steps & decided that was going to be good enough. At that moment some people coming the other way said you could go down half of the steps for an "awesome" view of the whole falls. Will decided not to risk it, as we still had to walk out but I went down half way. It was also impressive, a smaller waterfall, but hitting rocks on the way down for great sound. But believe me I didn't have to stand behind it & put my hand in the waterfall, it was hard enough climbing those stairs out....Will made the right decision. We headed back, with more rest stops along the way & finally reach the top & we are back out on solid land. It's shortly after 12 noon & of course time for lunch so we head down the path to find our car when I spot a gift shop & want to buy postcards. As we head out of the shop I say to Will,"I sure don't remember passing this place on our way in or any of these other buildings." Well I was right, we can't find our car....anywhere! Will is pressing the panic button on the key, hoping the car will start honking....but no such luck. YIKES, now what! We go back into the store & tell the nice ladies, we lost our car. Well after the laughter dies down they start to ask us questions trying to narrow the location down. Of course, our only answer seems to be - I don't know...we didn't see these buildings when we pulled in the parking lot & just headed straight for the trail. So the manager lady of the shop, who is on her lunch hours, goes outside with us & says, "it sounds like parking lot F, who knew they had letters, duh!! As we are walking toward parking lot F, Will hits the panic button and like music to our ears....the car starts to honk. I give the lady a hug with our thanks & we go find the car. Now can we have lunch? Yes sir, right there in parking lot F, we pull out our green folding chairs, our TV tray & lunch....very happy to have found the car & the beautiful waterfalls.
After lunch we decide to head on home, grateful for spotting two falls when we see a parking lot full & decide to investigate. As luck would have it, another retired couple, just leaving tell us there are 2 waterfalls here we can see and not much walking, so we say....YES and head off. First, we head for the biggest one North Falls. It's not to bad of a walk & not to far until we can see the full waterfall. Now you could have continued down stairs to get closer but we were content to see what we could see....#3 waterfall. We head back going under the bridge where we first started on this hike & head towards seeing Lower North Falls. This is a relatively short and flat, easy walk in to a wonderful place. The falls were short but mighty & hit rocks into a very large pool where there were lots of people in the water. Many families, kids & lunches because it was so easy to get to & fun for the kids. Will loved this one and said this was THE BEST! I don't know, I loved them all. Well that's 4 waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park & 3 waterfalls at Columbia River Gorge all in Oregon...truly a wonderful excursion.
Now we are dead tired & head back to the RV & campgrounds for some dinner, a shower & hopefully an early bedtime. When we arrive back at the RV we find it has been record heat & the RV is over 100 degrees inside so of course the a/c comes on & we both just settle in. However, it has been a really fun and a successful waterfall day. Signing off with love to family and friends.