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Posts tagged Salem

Silver Falls State Park

Friday morning we wake up (all too early with about 20 10-year olds sleeping in the same cabin/lodge) to what promises to be one of the hottest days of the year even though it is only May. After a pancake breakfast we head out to the Trail of Ten Falls. I was excited, but my expectations weren’t extremely high. I was about to have them exceeded in a big way.

The trail is something like 8+ miles long if you do the entire thing. We were going to do just a part of it (again I was with loads of 10 year olds). I think the section we ended up doing was just over 2 miles.

The first waterfall we came to is called South Falls. I was impressed. I’ve seen many waterfalls in several different states (Utah, California, Oregon, Hawaii) and this was by far the best. I figured this must be the most impressive of the ten falls at this park given that you could walk behind it, every angle of the falls was an amazing view, and the falls plunge the not-too-shabby distance of almost 200 feet.
South Falls Silver Falls Oregon

Here is the view from behind South Falls:
South Falls Silver Falls Oregon

If you look closely at this next picture you can get an idea of how impressive these falls were. Those little tiny things about a third of the way up behind the falls are people.

The trail, even when there weren’t falls in view, was beautiful. I highly recommend, that if you visit this state park, you do so in the morning. There was virtually no one else there, and the sun hitting everything at an angle, rather than from directly overhead, was spectacular.
Trail of Ten Falls Silver Falls Oregon
As I mentioned above, I figured South Falls must be the highlight of the hike. I couldn’t believe it when Lower South Falls came into view a mile later, and I was even more impressed.
Lower South Falls Silver Falls Oregon

While Lower South Falls doesn’t have the vertical drop of South Falls, you still get to walk behind the falls. This waterfall had a certain elegance I have never before experienced. You will also get more wet behind this one.
Lower South Falls Silver Falls Oregon

The mossy trees and intense shades of green made for an awesome view.

Lower South Falls Silver Falls Oregon

Silver Falls State Park is a little over an hour from Portland, Oregon and about 9 hours from the San Francisco Bay Area. Needless to say, I highly recommend it. I’m looking forward to going back and visiting all 10 of the falls next time.

Remember that you can click on any of the images to see a much larger version. Enjoy!


Although this post has nothing to do with Japan or Denmark, it does have a bit of a travel element to it so I thought I’d share anyway. For the past couple of days I’ve been on a fieldtrip with my daughter’s 4th grade class. Even though I’ve lived in Oregon for almost 8 years now, I had never been to the Oregon State Capitol (Salem) or Silver Falls. In fact, I had never even heard of Silver Falls, which is a shame because this place is only a few notches below Yosemite in my book.

We arrived and parked on the Willamette University campus.

The place was beautiful with rhododendrons in bloom, and the stream running through campus was refreshing on this hot day. (You can click on any of these images for a much better view.)

We walked through the campus on our way to the capitol building which is immediately adjacent.

Oregon State Capitol in Salem

We toured the house and senate chambers and went on the roof for a close up view of the golden pioneer on top. The statue is something like 25 feet high and 20,000 pounds. He was actually painful to look at from that close with the sun glaring off of him–sort of like staring at the sun. He is made of bronze but covered in gold.

golden pioneer

From up on top of the capitol building, one can enjoy great views of Willamette University,

Willamette University

Mt. Saint Helens, and Mt. Hood.

Mt. Hood

I’m pretty sure this was the first capitol building I’ve ever bothered to enter. I enjoyed the tour of the building more than I had anticipated.

Afterwards, we spent time on campus hearing some of the traditions and campus lore from my daughter’s teacher who is an alumnus. Looking up from the middle of the grove of the “star trees” we learned that this was a good make-out spot.

We then headed east towards Silver Falls State Park where we would spend the night. The drive was beautiful as we passed loads of grass seed and Christmas tree farms. I caught sight of this rather unusual Christmas tree; instead of a star at the top it had a moon.

Moon of Bethlehem

I’ll save our Silver Falls adventures for tomorrow.