If you have been following our blog, you will quickly figure out that we have a favorite leaf peeping spot in Oregon — Silver Falls State Park. You can read all about it in previous posts — Waterfall Wonderland and Fall at the Falls. On our way south from the Columbia Gorge, we had to make Silver Falls our next stop. This time we stayed in the quaint little town of Silverton about 25 minutes from the falls. On our first day out, we were rewarded with a cool, cloudy, but mostly dry day to explore the myriad of photographic possibilities. Fortunately, upon arriving at the falls, we were greeted with plenty of fall color and lots of options.
There are 10 falls along a 7-mile loop in this area most of which can only be seen by hiking the aptly-named Trail of Ten Falls. However, South Falls is just a short walk from the parking area. It is the tallest of all the falls at 177 feet. While certainly beautiful in this fall setting, you can see there’s not a lot of water flowing this time of year. So, for the purposes of photography, our best bet was to enjoy the immediate area rather than attempting the hike this time around. The opportunities had to be more compelling to attempt negotiating this rather steep, wet terrain with all our equipment in tow.
Once we finished shooting, it was time to warm up in the South Falls Lodge. The lodge was built in 1940 using local raw materials of hand cut-stone, cedar and peeled fir logs. All of the furniture inside the lodge — originally 25 tables, 82 chairs, 11 benches, and a dining room hutch — was constructed out of two huge myrtlewood logs 40 feet long and 5 feet in diameter. These logs had to be dried and cured before use to prevent warping. Oregon State University constructed an experimental kiln to do the job. The logs weighed 18,000 pounds going in and 10,000 pounds coming out. Obviously, it worked as none of the furniture has ever warped. Here’s the lodge surrounded by fall color…
Norman ordered two of the most delicious hot chocolates we’ve ever had and we settled down in front of the huge stone fireplace. It was so cozy and relaxing that I just wanted to stay there all day.
There are a variety of informative displays in the lodge and several volunteers who hail from all parts of the country to answer all your questions. Matt, a young, very creative and enthusiastic park ranger took the initiative to create this display of fall leaves he had collected from trees in the park. Of course, I was immediately attracted to it and thrilled to get the opportunity to discuss it with him. He was more than happy to share and kind enough to print out a photo for me.
This canyon surrounds Silver Creek as it heads out from South Falls and winds through the hills. We certainly found some fall color in this gorgeous place, but we will continue looking for more.
While these photos may satisfy the eye to a certain degree, they really don’t begin to do justice to the reality of the experience. As we drove the winding roads through central Oregon, we were continually awestruck by autumn’s natural and ever-changing beauty which is quite difficult to actually capture through the lens. But we’ll keep trying. Meanwhile, we have some great memories.