Sunday, February 27, 2011

Silver Falls

Triumph! A pose this dramatic can only mean one thing; for President's Day we took the best hike EVAR! I've got to warn you though, there are a ton of pictures in this post. I can't find a way to trim it down - it was all too great.

I've been trying to get down to Silver Falls for quite a while, but the timing never seemed right. Silver Falls is basically a waterfall lover's paradise of ten perennial waterfalls. In just 4.8 miles, we saw nine waterfalls. NINE! The Hammonds came with us and it turned out to be a beautiful sunny day; perfect for a hike.

So, let's begin. The hike starts at a very historical (and pretty) lodge built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1941. You can purchase a hot chocolate at the cafe and sit at their beautiful (and valuable) myrtlewood tables or... can warm up your tootsies by the fire or... can learn about the park's history and other activities. Then the fun really gets going when you start the trail.

Here are the nine waterfalls we saw that day...

South Falls (#1) - The best known falls in the park, it's only 150 feet away from the lodge. If you look carefully, you can see that the trail goes around the back of the waterfall - one of three chances in the park to get behind (and really close to) the spray. Back in the 1920's, a local man would send an old car off this waterfall every Independence Day. Why don't they still do that???

Jordan thought it would be fun to make sketches of all the waterfalls. Cute kid. If I could draw/paint, I'd probably do the same thing.

One of the reasons Silver Falls is a State Park instead of a National Park is because heavy logging 100 years ago left a large number of stumps in the area that (apparently) are too unattractive for a National Park. But hey - the stumps sure make for great photo ops!

Lower South Falls (#2) - I think we all agreed this was our favorite waterfall. It's so perfectly flat that you'd swear it was engineered to cover some evil mastermind's secret lair...or maybe it's just me that thinks that.

Lower South Falls is another one the trail goes behind. The waterfall is incredibly wide and the trail is so close to the spray that it's quite an epic experience. Cold in February, but unforgettable.

Lower North Falls (#3) - Nice little waterfall, but it looks a whole lot better in Autumn.

Double Falls (#4) - this two-tiered waterfall is the tallest in the park at 178 feet. I hear there's usually a rainbow visible there when the sun is out.

Drake Falls (#5)

Middle North Falls (#6) - By this point on the trail, you're wishing that someone could have come up with more creative names for such pretty falls.

Here's another of Middle North Falls. In the past it was possible to go behind this falls as well, but it has since been closed off due to unsafe conditions. Boo.

Twin Falls (#7) - probably the hardest waterfall in the park to get a good picture of. We had our lunch right on the banks of the stream above it. Doritos and Twizzlers were somehow involved despite my objections. Blech.

Winter Falls (#8) - I'm guessing this was named Winter Falls because it looks like icicles on the canyon wall, but that's just a guess. This was the last planned waterfall on our trip...but...

We also caught a view of the beautiful North Falls (#9) before leaving the park. 

I'm not sure if we'll ever top this hike. Ten possible waterfalls, only $5 to get in, a modern cafe in a cozy lodge, beautiful Oregon scenery the whole way, and the hike is of variable length - anywhere from a few hundred feet up to 9 miles. If anyone reading this from out-of-state comes to visit us, Silver Falls will most likely be on the agenda. I can't wait to see it the other three seasons of the year.

As a sidenote, Jordan and Carter did great on this hike. Much better than our Ramona Falls hike last year. I'm excited to go on more longer-distance hikes with them while we're in Oregon. Way to go, boys!

Silver Falls (more pics)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I think we all had cabin fever during the winter, so we've gone on trips the past three Saturdays. First we went to Tillamook, OR to visit the Tillamook cheese factory. Strangely enough, even after living in Wisconsin for four years, this was the first cheese factory we visited. We hoped to purchase some grilled cheese sandwiches at the grill...but apparently the grill burned down. Oops.

Instead we got ice cream. Cynthia chomped on her classic flavor, Bubble Gum.

Jordan and Carter both got Cake Batter. It was good stuff, but if I want cake batter, I'll open up a box of Duncan Hines! What ever happened to Chocolate and Vanilla ice cream?

Carter was really excited the entire time at the cheese factory. I guess that's to be expected from a child whose three major food groups are cheese, milk, and ranch.

You're looking at a 40 pound loaf of future sharp cheddar cheese being wrapped for aging. The back of the worker's shirt says "I loaf you". Another shirt said "Loaf thy neighbor".

Of course, no trip westward would be complete without a trip to the coast. Oh, Pacific I love thee.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Story of My Life

Sorry I didn't post this earlier, but in case you haven't heard, we're having another boy. Yup, three boys. My life is becoming more like a sitcom every day.