Thursday, June 11, 2009

Southfall, Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

Summer is here before we know it, and with it comes the yard work. In this year our spring was very wet and cold, not much chance or desire to go outside and play in the mud. But now, every afternoon I go out for a few hours to pull the weeds, mow the lawn or trim the bushes. Unfortunately, I do not like to wear gloves and my poor hands suffer. This is one of my excuses for not posting in my blog lately.

The other excuse is a better one. My younger son came up from California to visit me for a few days, and we were on the go constantly. We also took a ride up to the mountains and visited one of my favored place, the Silver Falls State Park, only 25 miles from my home. The weather was warm and the sun was shining through the ancient forests, and a beautiful peace was all around us.

It is a kind of oasis, rolling hills and lush forests of the eastern Willamette Valley. Silver Falls State Park literally overflows with a variety of splendid waterfalls, trails, fascinating rock formations and greenery. It is the cool, green, rain-forest-like atmosphere that hits you as you approach this 8,700-acre state park. The fauna becomes denser and the road twists and turns a little tighter, and it is not long before you are drawn into the more than 21 miles of trails designed for hiking, biking, horse riding and of course, viewing.

Interestingly enough, you would not have thought much about the beauty of this place 16 billion years ago. Then, enormous lava flows from eruptions as far away as Idaho pushed their way into the Salem area, eventually reaching the sea. Yet it is that kind of volcanic destruction that ultimately created the beauty of the park. As each new lava flow cooled, it gave birth to new rock layers called basalt. These basalt formations were eventually cut into their present-day pathways by the various streams in the area, and then into the 11 waterfalls that are contained within Silver Falls State Park.