We left Maple Valley and pointed the Villa south. Sunday morning traffic was light, and in a few hours we arrived at Vancouver, Washington. We parked the Villa in a pre-school parking lot and walked for about 1/2 hour. Then we found the Kitchen Table Cafe, where we joined friends from high school:
We had a lovely time getting reacquainted, and we had a good breakfast as well; but soon we were once again on the road. Within a few minutes we crossed over the Columbia River into Oregon:
Our destination today is Silver Falls State Park.
We found our assigned camp site and set up. Then we headed out to see the falls.
Silver Falls State Park is located near Silverton, OR, about 20 miles east-southeast of Salem. It is the largest state park in Oregon with an area of more than 9,000 acres, and it includes more than 24 miles of walking trails, 14 miles of horse trails, and a 4-mile bike path. Its 8.7-mile Canyon Trail/Trail of Ten Falls runs along the banks of Silver Creek and by ten waterfalls (duh!). Four of the ten falls have an amphitheater-like surrounding that allows the trail to pass behind the flow of the falls.
The most accessible waterfall is South Falls; we reached it after about a 1/2 hour walk through the park; no hiking involved. We even walked across this covered pedestrian bridge over Silver Creek:
Interestingly, we arrived at the top of the falls, where Silver Creek flows over the basalt rock into the canyon below:
From here, we walked around the canyon and down a path into this bowl-shaped arena:
The falls eventually came into view:
The gigantic overhang of the rock above the pond below is amazing!
Soon we were behind the falls, where we could see the back side of water:
We decided to proceed to the lower South Falls, another .8 mile down the hill. We walked along the creek and walked lower and lower into the canyon:
Then it got steep, and we descended many stairs, until the Lower South Falls came into view:
Once again, we could walk behind the falls:
And then we had to walk back up. And up. And up…
Finally we reached the main area of the park. There is a lovely Lodge, built between 1946 and 1955; it used to be a full service restaurant; now it is a simple cafe:
After our taxing hike we walked the 1 mile back to the Villa. Happy Hours ensued and an enjoyable time was had by all…