LIVIN’ ON STILTS
Tuesday night was kind of a bust. We drove up to Silver Falls SP excited to be back in the mountains for a few days. All the reviews we read said there was some service up there, but the second we entered the park we both lost it. Matt still had work to do, so we headed back down the road to a pull out so that we could look up a place to stay that night. It was already dark at this point. I found a 24 hour Walmart in Salem, so we headed straight there. A couple hours into our stay, a man made his rounds letting us know there was no overnight parking due to a city ordinance. Must have a bum problem. (Also, am I the only one that didn’t remember Salem is the Oregon State Capital? My public education at work.) Unfortunately, we were out of nearby options. It was after 8pm and drizzling. Earlier, Matt talked about staying the night at the Evergreen Aviation Museum. The museum allows you to stay one night in their lot. We originally decided against it as the museum was 45 minutes north of where we were, and we’re on our way south. Now, as our closest option, we headed to the museum.
The museum parking lot was one of the nicest we’ve stayed in. There was one or two other RVs there, with a big handful of planes parked around us. It was pretty neat to see in the morning. We had no idea we were surrounded by so many beautiful machines. The museum itself had $30/person entrance fee. We skipped walking around inside, but got a pretty eyeful in the parking lot.
Wednesday, we headed to Champoeg SP. Its a large park surrounded by large pretty grass fields and encased in massive blackberry vines. It rained on and off, but Fred and I got a fun little walk in. The park was pretty busy in comparison to the others we’ve been in this season, but makes sense being that it’s pretty much the only place around. Before heading to the state park, we stopped in at an REI, where I finally got my puffy jacket and a shell. I normally wouldn’t go to REI, but I had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket for at least the last year.
We were pretty much just biding our time until Friday night, when we could go back to Silver Falls SP. After checking the weather, it looked like Saturday was our only day clear of the rain any way. After a great workout and hanging out in a small town on the outskirts of Salem, we headed to a rest stop where we could stay the night. A large number of big rigs lined the rest stop. We found an open spot with regular size parking spaces, knowing we wouldn’t be woken up by a big rig parking next to us. I actually didn’t mind the generators buzzing nearby. Thanks so a long time friend, I got used to sleeping with a fan on every night. Since on the road, we haven’t. I’ve done okay getting used to sleeping without it, and do better after an adventurous day.
We didn’t stay long at the rest stop Friday morning. After another good workout in, Matt and I ran some errands, and did some more shopping. We both have plenty of California weather clothing, but needed some key items to keep us warm. I’ve somehow acquired all these work out pants that are part mesh. Not super ideal when on a cold and wet trail. There’s also virtually no compression from the trendy and adorable leggings. So, I bought a few pairs of good quality compression pants, and a new amazing backpack at the Northface outlet. With deals screaming in my face all over the place, I was like a kid in a candy store. Matt got some goodies too, including a much needed pair of running shoes. I’m so proud of my last purchase – a pair of jeans that were reduced so many times I ended up paying $2.99. No sales tax in Oregon…they were just $2.99. Mind = blown, am I right?! After the super sweet discounted shopping extravaganza, we headed up to Silver Falls SP. It was busier than you’d think up there, probably due to the Veterans Day weekend.
The next day, we were both so stoked to wake up exactly where we wanted to be four days earlier. We packed up and set off on a 7.5 mile hike called Trail of Ten Falls. The trail was fairly busy, a good amount of traffic, but we didn’t have any issues other than a couple of back ups on these slippery and steep rock steps we had to walk down early on in the trail. You quickly descend into the lush valley. The first waterfall was massive with a trail that allows you to walk behind it. The water pounded around us, creating a thick mist on the trail. By the fourth waterfall, I had to put my hair up. It was soaked! We were lucky to have our new waterproof shells on. I’d rate the majority of the trail as easy, but there are a few steep areas or stairs that could be tough for someone in the worst shape ever. I’ve learned my lesson after my last slippery fall, and tried to pay attention to where I was stepping. It’s just so hard when everything around me is so gorgeous. The trees were covered in a thick bright green moss, gnarled with branches dipping in toward the waterline. Massive brown and orange leaves lined the ground, with too many to count beautiful ferns poking out around. In my limited experience, I think I prefer Oregon hikes to Washington, even though Washington’s are so epic. There’s just something so special about the PNW. I constantly feel as if I’m in a fairy tail, journeying to find a rare flower to save my sister, ready for a talking frog to guide my way. To all the PNW hikes out there, I just want to be in your orbit.
The first six or so miles went by very quickly. With a waterfall or two every mile, we always had something to look forward to. By the time we had reached the top of the valley, we realized I did a shitty job of mapping out all of the hikes. We had just visited number eight on our list of waterfalls, and there wasn’t another one on this loop. The last two of the Trail of Ten Falls are actually offshoot trails that I somehow completely missed the junctions to. Disappointed to say the least, we made it back to the truck camper, with plans to hit those last two the next day, weather permitting.
I wont leave you in suspense, we totally got another glorious break from the rain and saw the last two waterfalls Sunday morning. The offshoot trails were maybe a quarter of a mile to half a mile roundtrip. I can’t believe we missed them the day before! See, this is why I can’t just watch where I’m stepping all the time. I’d rather risk slipping again than miss a very obvious junction. In the end, we saw all ten major waterfalls, and quite a few smaller bonus falls this last weekend. You can find pictures all 10 of our waterfalls at the end of this post.
Sunday afternoon, we headed back to the coast to Newport, OR. We stayed one night at another fantastic beach campground called South Beach SP. We enjoyed the clear afternoon on the beach, Fred ran around like a wild dog, and I laughed harder than I have in a while. We found a couple of washed up tree trunks set up like a seesaw. I laughed so hard teeter tottering, I thought my face was going to crush itself. Our beautiful and clear afternoon didn’t last into the night. It rained and hailed on us. Having a metal roof is rough!
Monday, we set off on a fun Oregon Coast driving tour. We visited some of the hot spots like Devil’s Churn, Thor’s Well, and Strawberry Hill before crashing that night in Florence. The Oregon Coast is so beautiful, and we’re really enjoying seeing it.
I haven’t studied any more Spanish in two weeks. I’m so distracted all the time!
Ariel + Matt
Drove to Silver Falls SP, but no service so we left. Went to a Walmart in Salem, but got kicked out due to a city ordinance about overnight stays. Ended up at Evergreen Aviation Museum parking lot, where we slept that night. Spent too much money at an REI then stayed at Champoeg SP Wednesday night. Stayed around a city most of the days so Matt could work. Stayed at a rest stop Thursday night, banking another free night for our budget. Went back up to Silver Falls SP Friday night for the weekend. Hiked Trail of Ten Falls Saturday, saw eight. Went back Sunday morning to find the last two falls before heading back to the coast. Stayed at South Beach SP Sunday night. Did a driving tour of a few Oregon Coast hot spots Monday.
- Salem does not allow any overnight parking due to a city ordinance.
- Corn grits, although delicious, stick to your pot like that guy you’ve put in the friend zone who wants more. I’ve given it a firm talking to, but I’m finding it hard to get rid of.