Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Waterfall Wonderland

A couple of weekends ago, I joined a photography class from our local community college for a photo workshop at Silver Falls State Park.  It had been many years since I'd visited this State park, so signing up for the class gave me a perfect excuse to go there.

My classmate Phil photographing Middle North Falls

The main attraction at Silver Falls State Park is, of course, its many waterfalls. An 8.7-mile trail, dubbed the "Trail of Ten Falls" takes you past all the waterfalls in the park. Several waterfalls are over 100 feet high, and the trail takes you behind four of these waterfalls. The park is covered in lush, green vegetation, has lots of pretty flowers, and abundant wildlife.

Beautiful cascades from Middle North Falls

As a matter of fact, I had a close encounter with one of the park's wildlife that morning. I was driving on the park road, heading to our class meeting point, when out of nowhere, a deer appeared in front of my car! I hit the brakes, but not soon enough. I heard a sickening "thump" and saw the deer's legs rise up above my hood. I thought "Oh no! I've killed a deer!" But a split second later, the deer jumped up, and ran off into the forest. After being surprised that the deer survived, my second thought was, "Oh crap! My car!" I pulled over to survey the damage. I was totally amazed to discover my car intact. The only evidence of my collision was a ton of fur all over the bumper. I don't know how I managed to avoid damaging my car, but was very happy (and lucky) to escape unscathed from the encounter.

Middle North Falls shows off it's lacy curtain

I met up with my classmates, and we started out on the trail. It began to rain, and I shoved my camera under my coat to keep it dry. But the rain soon let up, and we had a fine day. The cloudy skies made for perfect photography conditions.  We were able to visit 8 of the park's 10 falls and got lots of photos.

South Falls in its green grotto

We visited North Falls, Twin Falls, Middle North Falls, Drake Falls, Double Falls, Lower North Falls, Lower South Falls, and South Falls.  Yes, the people who named the waterfalls in this park were not very original!

South Falls plays "peek-a-boo" through the trees

My favorite waterfalls were Middle North Falls and South Falls.  Middle North was a very pretty fan-shaped wall of water.  And South Falls is located in a very scenic spot - a mossy green bowl with steep cliffs.  South Falls is also the tallest waterfall in the park, and has a really cool trail that takes you behind its flowing cascades.

South Falls splash pool and trail behind the falls

The park began to get busy with people.  Silver Falls State Park is a very popular place on weekends.  The closer we got to South Falls and the lodge, the more people we encountered on the trail.  But everyone was in a good mood, and they moved out of the way for us photographers.

South Falls Kodak moment

The rain held off until we were at our last waterfall. Then the skies opened up and it dumped rain. We were close to the lodge, so we made a beeline for it. Once inside, we holed up with hamburgers and warm drinks.

It was a great day for waterfall photography.  I'm so glad I decided to take the class.  I got lots of great shots and, despite the rain, had an enjoyable day.  I can't believe I waited so long to visit Silver Falls State Park.  I will definitely be back very soon!


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