Thursday, January 14, 2016

Dec. 29, 2015---Silver Falls and Oregon Gardens:

AFter resting a day and not even taking a picture, it was time to be tourists again.  The weather was getting colder, but it was dry, so I suggested we run up to Silver Falls.  The South Falls path had been closed due to all the rain and slides, but part of it was open again.  Plus the many more of the paths were open.  The one that wasn't was the flatest path so that closure surprised me.  But I did walk around and view 2 of the falls.
 not only do I love seeing the falls, but I love the ride to the park!   It's an easy drive from Dallas.  Silver Falls is only about 20 minutes from Salem and Dallas is about 30 minutes from Salem. 
 Getting into the Cascades
 lots more farms and snow peaked mountains.

 loved all the manicured Christmas trees.  I guess these are the ones that survived for another year.
There were several that didn't!  Looks like some of the tree farms were being cleared and burned.  This was one of the many piles.

 lots of Christmas tree farming done along here.
 And other farming.
 more interesting barns
 finally high enough in altitude that we came to snow.
 and the main entrance to Silver Falls State Park.  We paid our $5 entrance fee and parked near the lodge.  Then took off for a little walk.  This is the bridge near the top of the South Falls.
 the lodge
 It was a bit misty and cold, but it wasn't snowing.  There was a crew of prisoners working on the pathway---with a Sheriff close by.
 We weren't able to go down the path too far, but far enough to get a nice view of the falls.
 heading back up and enjoying the greenery.
 We headed to the lodge for a little while.

Warmed up by the fire and talked to the guide there to see what routes were open and what ones weren't. 

 The Upper North Falls path was open and goes behind the falls so we jumped back in the car and headed there.
 Stopped at this distant view of Upper North Falls.
 I have never been to the falls in winter.  I was hoping to see snow all around the falls, but there were just spots here and there.  At least the pathways weren't bad. 
 Speaking of pathways, this is one area where they incorporated stairs.
 peek a boo views of the river from the trail.
 The trail seemed a whole lot shorter this time then when i did it a couple years ago with torn calf muscles!
 view from behind the falls
 and from the other side of the falls.

The trail continues on, but this is where I turned around.

 view of the walkway behind the falls.

along the path back
 Back to the steps.
 near the top of the falls.
We were meeting friends for dinner in Stayton just a little ways past Silver Falls so had a couple more hours to kill.  So continued on the scenic byway towards The Oregon Gardens.  Yep, another tree farm.
and another cool old barn.
 We've been to the Oregon Gardens several times, but never in the winter.  It's a reciprocal garden with our Missouri Botanical Gardens so it's normally free for us.  This time there was a members fee of something like $4 to cover the Christmas light exhibit. 
 The display was really nice.
 We got there just before sunset and enjoyed wandering around the display.
 They even had several fire pits going to keep viewers warm.  They also had huts selling stuff like hot chocolate and hotdogs.

 Don't see Snoopy things too often anymore.
 cute way to decorate a tree.

 even some butane heaters to warm you head.  By now it was in the low 30s so the heaters felt good.

 Music played throughout the area, too.  Here they had "Raindrops keep falling on my head" playing.
 Yep---I love Oregon, too.

 They even had a building where they had ice skating.
 Love the little seals!  Never seen anything like that before.
 Then we walked down from the hotel area back to the parking lot.
 Looking back up towards the hotel on our way down.
Met up with our friends from Portland at a restaurant in the cute town of Stayton and had a nice visit over dinner.  The days are really going fast!

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