Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone. – Wendell Berry
To be very honest, I wasn’t sure that the opening leg of my trip could be topped. I was wrong. Horse camping was incredible.
Side note: I was pretty proud of myself for being somewhat handy in helping with providing some minimal guidance for the truck to the trailer hitch and not being a total dolt around the horses.
Second side note: This was my first time around horses in 7 years, of which the last time ended up with me in a neck brace being ambulance off the side of a mountain – The credit goes to my horse and my camp leader for making this experience back in the saddle seamless and confidence boosting.
Silver Falls State Park, Oregon (https://oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=parkPage.dsp_parkPage&parkId=151) – DO it. Go! I was so amazed at how beautiful it was!
Trail of Ten Falls *cue momentous music*
800 ft of elevation gain, 7.8 miles, 8 waterfalls, approx 4hrs (inclusive of lunch, breaks, camera stops, etc.)
Start at North Falls Trailhead > Canyon trail to Twin Falls (1.1 miles) > Twin Falls Trail (.5 mile) > Twin Falls to Winter Trail (.3 miles) > cont’d to Double Falls (.4 miles) [ you will see: Middle North Falls, Drake Falls, Double Falls – which was really 1 and a trickle, Lower North Falls, Middle North Falls] to Canyon Trail to Lower South Falls (1 mile) > Stairs of Hells to South Falls (1.3 miles) > South Falls to Rim Trail (.9 miles) > Rim Trail to North Falls Trailhead (2.3 miles)….and you DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!! **HUFF-HUFF-PUFF-PUFF**
I highly recommended hiking the entire loop (in some places you get to walk behind the fall!) – be sure to wear comfortable shoes, take a hiking stick if you have one, and dress appropriately. I saw one too many silly people in flip-flops and shoes that made my feet hurt just looking at them (here is to you platform boots and let’s not speak of the ding-dong parents who let their kid (roughly between 3-5yrs of age) wear jelly sandals – the kid looked miserable btw…DUH!). Pack a lunch/snacks and water! Take lots of pictures and give yourself time to enjoy the hike!
Side note: The “stairs of hell” (SoH) they aren’t fun (that also isn’t their real name, I don’t think they have a name but it seems appropriate). The below picture doesn’t show the entire staircase up, nor does it illustrate the actual ‘stairs’. I recommend you take your time, breathe, be in shape, stop and enjoy the scenery (look behind you at the waterfall), breathe, look around, did I mention breathe?
Yay! You did it!!! But wait! There is more! Don’t get all excited that you made it through the SoH and think you can make it from the Rim Trail to the North Falls Trailhead in record time. Heed my advice: Don’t go out of the gate hot! There is an incline, it isn’t apparent and it will get you. Consider yourself warned! I also recommend doing the trail in the direction given above however if you don’t have time to do the entire loop, it can be done in sections.
The next two days were filled with horseback riding, fires, and enjoying the outdoors.
Sadly, all good things must come to an end and so there was a return to Newborn. (With dinner at Chehalem Brewery Co (http://www.cvbrewing.com/) – Excellent! Ask for the house aoli!)
Before leaving and moving onto part two of my walkabout, wine was had. Wine should always be had, especially when in wine regions. A wine tasting at Vidon Vineyard (http://vidonvineyard.com/about/) was the farewell ending to my time in Oregon, and an ever so perfect ending at that. The winery has super awesome views accompanied by happy, knowledgeable staff. Be sure to say hello to Mr. Studly (the vineyard rooster). I really liked the Explorer Tempranillo (yes, named after the Explorer satellite program!) and 2014 3-Clones Pinot Noir. Do the tasting, buy the wine, enjoy the experience. Thank me later.
After buzzing up, it was a drive to Portland where I caught Amtrak Cascade to Seattle King Street Station…and onto Walkabout Part Two.
Side note *3 or is it 4?*: Don’t take the Amtrak Cascade if you can take the Coast Starlight. If you must do it, go business class and sit on the left side of the train.
Endnote: This trip wouldn’t have been possible without my Oregon mom, her ponies, and an adorable little pup. I’m forever grateful and the memories will last a lifetime.