Here in Portland, it’s warm. I won’t go as far to say hot, since I just came back from visiting my sister in San Antonio, which may as well be the surface of the sun, but it’s warm. Not all homes have air conditioning (it’s a luxury in the Pacific Northwest, whereas it’s a necessity in places like Sacramento, for example), and the hot air tends to come into our homes and make itself comfortable.
So, we go outside. We hike, we bike, we swim, we kayak, we spelunk… you get the idea.
A few weeks ago, there was a break in our heatwave, which made swimming less optimal, but hiking more fun. Mid 60s and cloudy? Let’s go to Silver Falls!
What is Silver Falls?
Silver Falls is a series of waterfalls along a path, several of which you can walk behind. There are something like ten waterfalls in nine miles, though this trip, we opted to take a shorter path.
It was built during the make-work Great Depression, and it’s beautiful. More info here.
Where is Silver Falls?
Silver Falls is between Silverton and Salem, and about an hour and a half from downtown Portland. It’s a state park, but as we found out, you do not need cash to pay the $5 admission fee.
What We Did
9 am: Looked up Silver Falls on the internet. Found out we cannot bring our dog on this hike. Walked the dog in the neighborhood, then cruelly left him behind.
10 am: Stopped in Woodburn for breakfast. Noticed they have a Panera now. Decided to travel the rest of the way on back roads instead of the interstate. GPS told us it would take seven minutes longer. Decided it was worth it. I’d recommend that to you if you decide to go this route. Also, the bagel with avocado was top notch.
11 am: Arrive, and park in the first lot we see. Brent’s thought was, “why try to park close to the trail head if what we came here to do was walk outside?” Find restroom. Fill trusty Hydro Flask (oh, and while we’re on the topic, add the straw and flip top attachment. You’ll be glad you did). Check out visitor center, find a map. Decide to do five miles, not nine. This is our first summer hike, after all.
11:15 am: Hike! Take pictures of your surroundings. Force your hiking companion to take the camera for a bit so you’re in a few pictures a year, too. Keep a good pace, but remember the reason you set out to hike was to be outside and enjoy nature, not to trail run or be extreme.
2 pm: Hit the lock button on your car a few times to hear it honk. Find your car. Go back home a different way. If you’re anything like us, stop for a late lunch in Salem (only do a better job Yelp! searching than I did, or you’ll end up in a weird cafeteria thing eating hummus salsa).
3:30 pm: Take the dog out again, even though you’re tired. He’s grumpy and he knows you were out doing dog things without him.
Realize how much beauty exists in your own backyard.