Monday’s Meander: Silver Falls State Park

Lower South Falls

I am still having trouble downloading photos from my aging iPhone (I dropped my good camera on another hike and it is lame now). Ah, well. Silver Falls State Park is a gorgeous place to visit and includes ten waterfalls. We hiked about 4.5 miles–much of it steeply uphill–and saw only three Saturday afternoon! I salvaged a few photographs, though some may be a bit out of focus. Well, apologies–we were moving most of the time for 3 hours so I snapped as I could. (I’ll perhaps post more as I can, including videos.)

South Falls

The river on the left is from the entrance to the park by nice lawn. But the second shot was 2/3 of the way through the hike–we were both sweaty at that point and a bit breathless so stopped for water. I’m trying to smile while taking deep breaths and slowing the heart rate, ha!

I had wanted to post a video from behind these falls with the sound effects nature provides–but it wouldn’t download from my darned iPhone. Instead, here’s a simple shot of South Falls from behind, where we stood in a cave-like spot, and could see that blue sky and forest. To the left is a picture just past the falling torrent; to the right, a shot from directly behind. The shallow opening in the rock wall over which the falls hammer downward was nicely cool, a bit damp from spray–and a wonderful vantage point.

Monday’s Meander: Wildness of Autumn

We knew it was soon to rain for days, so we chose one of two state parks nearby to enjoy a gentle hike last Saturday. I am in love with Pacific NW rainforests so often post about Oregon’s. This is Tryon State Natural Area, full of red alderbigleaf mapleDouglas-firWestern redcedar, and Western hemlock. It offer about 650 acres of second-growth forest, 8 miles of trails and as many bridges that span small Tryon Creek–and it thrives within our metropolitan area.

As I walked and hiked I thought about an interesting book I’ve been reading called Courting the Wild Twin by Martin Shaw, PhD, an expert on myth and fairy tales. He writes about how the wild twin experience helps us understand who we are and can become, our part in the history of humanity’s diverse richness and our natural surroundings–our home. Shaw invites us to be more acutely conscious, to listen to the wild calling of our “twin” which longs to meld with us, and can help us liberate ourselves from a more superficial, somnambulant state. He purports this helps us keep alive the wondering and searching needed for healing our world. He offers thoughtful stories and ideas, and surely we can use more of this to help.

I feel my “wild twin” calling me to creative action but also to nature’s expanses. I feel energies that run deep– so potent and vibrant. Magic.

May you find your way to joys of a forest–barring that, good peace for your week.

Monday’s Meander: Astoria’s Charms… with Smoke

We visited Cannon Beach at the Pacific Ocean, then took 101 north to Astoria, at the northwest tip of Oregon. Views leading into the city were a bit eerie and oddly mesmerizing to me. Fogginess mingled with light smoke from California and Oregon fires still burning south of us. These scenes feel painterly to me, and different than what I usually am able to photograph.

I always enjoy this deep water port town. The oldest town in Oregon, it was established in 1811. It grew along southern banks of thColumbia River which joins the Pacific there. Named for John Jacob Astor, the entrepreneur, his fur company was established here. I always meditate on the mysterious power of a huge volume of fresh water meeting such vastness of salt water–a melding of two potent forces. Fishing and canneries were prominent businesses there; a last cannery was closed by 1980. Fishing, however, remains important to the economy, as well as tourism for those interested in area history and the town’s placement.

Below, entering from the south side with its smoky, almost vintage, coloration as dusk fell. The Columbia was surprisingly, perhaps deceptively, peaceful. It holds mighty currents and depths.

Although the city is interesting–it boasts several historical museums, a bustling arts scene and good restaurants, about which I’ve posted before–I concentrated on Columbia River scenes as we walked by railway tracks. The faint smoke in the atmosphere–not too discernable to the nose– gives an added yellow-orange tinge here and there. A moody series of views.

The man below arrived in his bright boat at the dock and got off with his dog. They then had a game of catch the stick thrown in the water–a pleasant scene to witness! You can see here and in other shots the Astoria-Megler bridge that connects our two states, and which we have taken a few times to visit a few of Washington’s coastal areas. (It is different and less accessible much of the coastline.)

According to Wikipedia: “Opened 54 years ago in 1966, it is the longest continuous truss bridge in North America.”

Hard-to-see seals on long docks farther out by ships were a raucous bunch!

It was a good end of another day out and about–hope you enjoyed it, as well! See you at “Wednesday’s Words” post.

Monday’s Meanders: September River Light, with Love

I’d love to share a slew of photos of my wonderful twin granddaughters, almost 18 months old and running about, giggling and squealing, gabbing their twin baby speak. We spent two happy hours yesterday in a pretty park. Alas, I am not allowed so on to today’s topic: my love of rivers.

On Sat. I embarked on a brisk walk along the Willamette River–often a route to explore. That day, voluminous cumulus clouds and warmer fall light were quite lovely. Fall has begun to come into its own. (We still have temperatures in mid to upper 70s Fahrenheit after days of needed soakers –great for firefighters to help contain remaining Oregon fires.) This last wave of heat will end; chill rain will dominate by end of October or early November. Winter, grey and damp, and yet not without its charms.

Above, the top photo reveals people gathering above the beach area. There are stairs leading down to a partly sandy stretch, accentuated by large rock formations along and in the river. During summer, scores of people come to swim, kayak, and various boating activities. Kayaks are rented out of the two blue crates at left side of the second photo–now closed up for the coming winter. I regret I didn’t rent one–each summer flies by and I just don’t get out there…next year! Being in almost any boat draws me.

I’ve shared photos of this area with lots of folks swimming and lounging–even during this summer of COVID-19. Everyone has craved more outdoors and the river, it seems. Now groups are on the wane, though boaters will long commandeer the waterway. Fishing remains popular.

Below, up the stairs and near the entrance of the area, stands an old iron furnace operated from the mid-1860 for about twenty years. It was the first iron furnace on the Pacific Coast and turned out 42, 000 tons of pig iron. Oregon Iron & Steel failed as a business after the 1893 financial crisis, one of the worst in U.S. history.

From here there are pathways–one dirt into the woods and another paved. We often take the paved one for a longer outing, as it connects to Old River Road where few cars go by and walkers enjoy a walking lane–and earnest bikers speed by.

The walking lane is delineated by the white line but this gentleman took to and owned the road–as many do in order to keep good social distance.

Below is a spot we have seen deer, and to the right is a glimpse of an old white house I covet…

I was on the lookout for more leafy color but that is yet to come. So it was time to wind up the walk, back where I started, feeling content and happy…

….but wait—-a last gaze at the serpentine, peaceful river as clouds bunch about treetops even if, lovestruck as I am, I’ll return soon enough.

Monday’s Meanders: Hark! To the Volcano!

Since most of the smoke from the terrible wildfires has dissipated for now, it is a joy to once more climb the hills, take in lungsful of fresh air and feast our eyes on the terrain. We undertook a Sunday outing at Mt. Tabor, a volcano in the city limits. Though still too dry, it was great to see the colors of life everywhere.

The Boring Lava Field, a 1-2 million years old volcanic zone, underlies Portland, OR. with 32 cinder vents and several small shield volcanoes. Portland metro area has four dormant volcanoes. Mt. Tabor, right in city limits, is not very high at 634 feet but there are still good views at top. (The towering, snow-domed Mt. Hood, 100 miles to the east of us, is on the U.S. short list of “very high threat” volcanoes. Though it hasn’t erupted for about 220 years, there was again activity in the mid-1850s; it is still monitored closely.)

A reservoir and the city below. This is a popular Fourth of July fireworks viewing spot.

Mt. Tabor has many old fir stands and other wooded areas, plus open meadows which embrace dirt and paved trails. There are three water reservoirs that a long while supplied drinking water but now are offline. These manmade lakes are still maintained for their attractive features and are a draw for visitors. Three main trails are marked; we took the Blue Trail, the longest loop at 3.31 miles. We meandered among shady trees, dry grassy meadows and on moderately demanding trails. Many other folks were reveling in blue skies and warm temperatures.

Lamp posts are located on the trails as they are open until midnight. Never have hiked that late!

Early fall cannot be denied with fallen leaves that crunched beneath our feet, the faintest cooler edge to some of the breeze. The earth smelled of fall!

Nearing the top, there are more open areas.

Please click for slideshow, below, to see the city and hills from the top.

Still near the top, the trail descends slowly to a children’s play area and a small amphitheater (not shown). This is very popular for family gatherings and picnics. There were three birthday or other parties in progress.

We headed further down the trail, then rested a bit on a slope where many were sunning and visiting. It was good to see so many people feeling peaceful and sociable–though there were those, ourselves included, who wore our masks much of the time.

Please click for a slideshow and enjoy groups relaxing–and pretty views of the water and beyond.

We wound up by the main reservoir which always intrigues me. It was a public water source for so long, yet it is lovelier that something so utilitarian–tranquil to look upon.

One last gaze over the lowest reservoir, below, and the city backdrop with foothills of the Coast Range, then home again. A perfect afternoon of gratitude for all we still have in Portland.