Silver Falls State Park

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This past week, we camped at Silver Falls State Park, near Silverton, Oregon.  It is a very large park, filled with miles and miles of hiking trails.  During the Great Depression, it was used as a site for out-of-work young men to do a huge work project.  So, there are many stone steps, some bridges, a lodge, and more.  Many of the buildings and trail improvements are from that time period and some have been added since.

One of the most interesting trails is the “Trail of 10 Falls.”  We hiked part of that trail one day, and another portion a different day.  A third time, we did another small portion.  We  ended up seeing 9 of the 10 waterfalls.  They were beautiful, as was the surrounding forest.

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On one of the days, my sister, friend and little Danait came up to enjoy the fun for a day.

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There was a nice swimming area we visited after our little hike.

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The second half of the week, Jake joined us.

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He was far more interested in lighting the marshmallows on fire, then waving them around to put out the fire he had created, then he was in eating them.  Fine with me.  It was well worth the dollar to see him having so much fun.  But, any boy who has so much energy should go on a hike, right?  So, Lovana, Patsy and I took him on one.  It was a little longer than I though it was.  After all, Rob dropped us at the lodge and was going to pick us up a the bottom of the trail, skipping much of the trail.  5 miles later……….

 

Everyone was still having fun!  I never would have taken him on such a long hike if I had been thinking clearly.  Lovana ended up carrying him a couple of times, but we all made it. It took us almost 3 hours.  We saw many waterfalls, and handed out Oreo cookies at the top of every big hill, of which there were many.  We ran out of Oreos, but continued on, eating peanuts by the handful.   Jake had a ball whacking the bushes with his stick, throwing rocks into the water, collecting sticks and pine cones, and all those things little boys like to do.  Lovana, Patsy and I loved the hike as well.  There were some places where long flights of stairs had been built from stone, which made the steep parts easier to navigate.  There were charming little bridges here and there, and of course, waterfalls galore.

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The trail even wound around behind a few of the falls.  We had a good time hiking.  That is the main activity at Silver Falls State Park.  Some of the trails were quite easy and short, such as the one to Upper North Falls.  Others were much longer and steeper.  There were several times when the switchbacks were quite strenuous for me, but were definitely manageable.  Lovana, powerhouse that she is, marched right up them, even jogging up the stairs at times.  For our long hike, having Rob drop us at the lodge, and traveling down the canyon was a little easier than doing it the other way around, I think.  There was still quite a bit of climbing, as the trail led down into the canyon, and back out again, and went up hills and down hills several times.  I’m hoping we can go there again. I hadn’t hiked there for many years, and I had good memories of the beauty found in the area.  I was not disappointed!

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Ft. Stevens State Park-2017

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Ft. Stevens State Park is up at the tip of Oregon, by the ocean.  We love to camp there because there’s so much to do in the surrounding area.  The park has a lake, Coffinbury Lake, where we like to fish.  Even on a “bad” fishing trip, we usually catch something.   On this trip, we went fishing 3-4 times, and caught a total of 5 trout.

For the first 1/2 of our stay, Rob and I only had 1 child with us, Patsy.  That is such a difference from our “norm” that I did nothing but sleep and fish for the first day!  During the second half of our stay, our nephew, Jake joined us, giving us a little more excitement:)  By then, we were rested up, and enjoyed doing things with both kids.

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Rob helped Jake catch a little bass, but we did not keep it.

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One day, we went crabbing off a bridge in nearby Seaside.  We got 2 keepers!  A kind man who was cleaning his freezer drove by the bridge where we were crabbing and offered us some old clams and some clam guts.  We gratefully accepted and that’s what we got the 2 keepers on.  We pulled up lots of females and too-small crabs on our usual chicken, but there were so many traps in the water that the larger, male crabs must have been in the mood for a change.

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We were disappointed because we were not able to catch razor clams this year.  Last summer, we had so much fun and got a lot.  We brought all of our equipment, but were informed that razor clamming was closed due to some kind of toxicity in the clams.   Sad as we were, we did not want to take any chances eating unsafe clams, so we did not follow any (bad) advice we were given by several older men to “just do it anyway” because they ate them and were still alive.  No thank you.  It may open again in October, we will see.

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Instead, we visited nearby Battery Russell, and the Ft. Stevens military museum and the site where the actual fort had been.  Most of the information dealt with defending the coastline during World War II.  Jake especially loved the guns, tanks and other military items.  It was his first time there.

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We saw deer, squirrels, birds of all sorts, and elk!  Several elk were meandering through the nearby town of Hammond one day while we were driving through.  I’m glad I don’t have to contend with those coming near my garden!!

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Of course, no beach trip is complete without digging in the sand, for the kids, at least!

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We went down by the wreck of the Peter Iredale, which is the carcass of a ship that’s been down on the beach near our campsite for as long as I can remember.

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We went to the mouth of the Columbia River and the kids fed the seagulls the old pancakes that were leftover from breakfast.  We got to see several boats, some of which were going out (maybe fishing) and some coming in (probably bringing in cargo).

We drove over the 4-mile bridge that separates the state of Oregon from the state of Washington.  We always enjoy doing that and the kids love it, too!  Between all of those activities, the kids built Legos, watched movies, and read books.  They listened to stories on c.d. from the library while we drove.

On Friday morning, we packed up early and headed back home.  It was a fun, busy, educational week, packed with lots of outdoor activities.  It was especially satisfying because we had wanted to give Jake experiences he did not usually engage in, and boy, did we succeed.  He wants to go camping some more, and that’s just how we wanted it to turn out!