Sunday, June 14, 2020

Silver Falls State Park, OR

[Note: It's been nearly four months since our last blog entry; and for that, I apologize. After five months taking in all of the scenic beauty during our West Coast States Adventure, it was a bit of a shock to arrive at home base and stay put. Since returning to San Diego County last October, we have been camping only once! Margaret did have some (ultimately, mostly inferior) mechanical work done on the Roadtrek. Early this year, both Margaret and I had some very unpleasant and long-lasting colds. We had out-of-town company stay with us for two weeks; and during that visit, our world came apart with the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been sheltering in our respective "tiny homes" (RVs) for three months so far, and our next great adventure that we had hoped to start in April has been postponed indefinitely. Although this period of self-isolation would have been the perfect time to publish the remaining entries from our last year's trip, simply put, I haven't been able to commit to looking at the photos; not knowing if or when we'll be able to travel again is extremely heartbreaking, as it is. I shall try to adjust my thinking and get_them_published. Thank you for your patience. We hope you enjoy visiting all of the locations featured here.]

September 5th, 2019, was a very long day. After leaving Kilches River County Campground and visiting Cape Meares, we headed south on U.S. Route 101 to Hebo, OR, where we turned east on Highway 22 toward Salem, OR.

Winema Wayfinding Point on U.S. Route 101 near Neskowin, OR. Photo by Virginia.

Winema Wayfinding Point on U.S. Route 101 near Neskowin, OR.
Photo by Virginia.

There had been road construction, which caused an out-of-the-way detour on a route where there was absolutely no cell phone signal. About two-and-a-half hours after leaving Cape Mears (although it seemed much longer), we arrived at Silver Falls State Park in Marion County, near Silverton, OR. Even though our entire trip had basically been planned, the specific days we were to arrive at those planned locations were not planned because we wanted to have an open schedule. So we were not able to make reservations at any of the campgrounds.

Arriving at the park at 4:30 p.m. to be told there were no open campsites was disheartening. We were tired, and there were no other campgrounds nearby. Fortunately, soon after the park employee told us the bad news, they told us some good news. They intentionally leave a few campsites unreserved for single nights to accommodate drop-ins like us. Whew! So, although we would have preferred to stay two or three nights, we were still thankful for the single night.

Margaret's Roadtrek in our campsite at Silver Falls State Park. Photo by Virginia.

The lush campground at Silver Falls State Park. Photo by Virginia.

Our tent campsite (#92 in A Loop) was $19 for the one night and was near the restrooms. You can bet I took advantage of the no-tokens-needed shower, which was divine! The campground was large, clean, and heavily treed with mostly level campsites featuring asphalt pads and nearby potable water.

The campground restrooms/showers at Silver Falls State Park. Photo by Virginia.

After breakfast, my shower, and Margaret's walk with Peaches, we left the campsite and drove over to the South Falls Day Use Area and parked.

South Falls Day Use Area in Silver Falls State Park. Photo by Virginia.

A trail bridge at South Falls Day Use Area in Silver Falls State Park. Photo by Virginia.

South Falls Historic District sign in Silver Falls State Park. Photo by Virginia.

The facilities were all immaculately kept, the trails were all maintained well, and there were plenty of informative signs and kiosks, clean restrooms, a Nature Center, and the South Falls Nature Store, where we enjoyed perusing the fun inventory and where I bought a postcard for my daughter.

South Falls Nature Store in Silver Falls State Park. Photo by Margaret.

Although there are ten waterfalls in the park, South Falls (177 ft. cascade) is the most accessible and the most visited. South Falls is one of four waterfalls in the park where you can pass behind the waterfall. (Enlarge the last two photos below to see the behind-the-falls trail railing and some visitors.) Mostly because we could not stay for another night and planned to get back over to the coast that day to find a place to camp, we had to limit our waterfall viewing to South Falls only.

South Falls & Canyon Trail sign in Silver Falls State Park. Photo by Virginia.

Canyon Trail on the way to the base of South Falls in Silver Falls State Park. Photo by Virginia.

The South Fork of Silver Creek in Silver Falls State Park. Photo by Margaret.

I had visited Silver Falls State Park three times during the time I lived in Oregon (1995 - 1997). The last visit was quite memorable, as two friends had taken me there for my birthday, and we ended up in a car accident soon after entering the park! The other driver was at fault, and my friend's newly refurbished car was declared totaled. My driver friend made it through the accident with minor injuries. However, my other friend in the front passenger seat, and I in the rear seat, both ended up with cuts, bruises, fractures, and deep tissue damage. The park itself is very beautiful, and I did not hold a grudge.

I very much looked forward to this visit. This was Margaret's first visit, however, and it was entirely too short!

The crest of South Falls in Silver Falls State Park. Photo by Margaret.

South Falls in Silver Falls State Park. Photo by Margaret.

 South Falls in Silver Falls State Park. Photo by Virginia.

As I write this, Silver Falls State Park has been closed for months due to COVID-19. It finally opened only five days ago, accompanied by quite a few restrictions. As with all of the other beautiful sites we visited, I am thankful we were able to see them before the pandemic.

We had hoped to visit a particularly popular destination on the coast the following day, but it was not to be. Finding a place to camp turned out to be the most difficult of our entire trip, but the campground we ended up in was worth all of that disappointment and more.


[Note: Clicking on the photos in the post will open them in a larger view. If you want to see more photos of the beautiful places we've written about, we have them in this Flickr Collection: Over the Hill Sisters Photo Collection.]

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