|Rhodies blooming at the lodge|
It was mid-May - perfect time to visit! Wildflowers would be at peak bloom, and the waterfalls running full.
Parking my car near the South Lodge, the nearby woods were already showing off pink accents from blooming rhododendron bushes. Things were off to a great start!
|Green canyon reflection on the water|
Walking down the paved path from the lodge, I was greeted with a superb view of South Falls. This 177 foot tall beauty spills into a large, rocky amphitheater. Lush, green foliage surrounded the area, its color reflecting in the splash pool below.
My arrival was perfectly timed. I got most of my South Falls photographs before the rising sun crested into the canyon. Although it provided lovely back lighting on the forest, the contrast between shade and sun made conditions difficult for photography. Time to move on!
|Sunlight filters through the forest|
So I ambled down the trail to the next waterfall. The scenery was a pure delight. My path followed lovely Silver Creek, which burbled between the dense forest, ultra-green with new leaves.
|Lovely white flower|
And I discovered lots of wildflowers blooming along its banks.
Like delicate pink Corydalis and purple larkspur.
|Larkspur were thick!|
After a mile, the path began to switchback steeply downhill. Rounding a sharp bend, Lower South Falls came into view.
|Lower South Falls|
Although its top was beginning to be illuminated by sunlight, most of this cascade was in shade. As I set for some long exposure shots, my trusty 24-105 mm lens decided to poop out.
Arghh! Equipment failure is so annoying! Luckily, I'd packed a couple extra lenses and quickly switched to my 11-24 wide angle.
|Great view of Lower South Falls|
This lens was actually perfect for fitting the entire waterfall in the frame. I loved this view of Lower South Falls, looking up at its very top. A similar image to this one, which won second place in a 2014 local photography contest.
After spending a lot of time at Lower South Falls, trying for that perfect waterfall shot, I had a quick snack and continued towards the next cascade.
|Bug on a bleeding heart|
There were so many wildflowers along this portion of the trail! Like these vibrant bleeding heart blossoms. A little bug on one of the flowers even posed for me.
|Ferns were prolific!|
Not only flowers, the forest was thick with these deep green ferns.
|More unknown (but pretty) wildflowers|
So many flowers, but sadly I couldn't identify many. I really need to educate myself more on wildflower identification.
|Sturdy bridge over the creek|
Around 2 1/2 miles in, the trail crossed over Silver Creek on this very sturdy footbridge.
Not long after, a short side path led me to Double Falls. An extremely tall, thin falls, I had to stretch my neck to see the entire length. Good thing I had the wide angle lens on my camera! Even with that, I could barely fit in both cascades. Can you see the other waterfall near the top?
|Bottom of Double falls|
I really loved how the very bottom of Double Falls fanned out into a series of smaller stairsteps, like the train on a bridal gown.
|Rainbow at Middle North Falls|
A short distance away, roared Middle North Falls. One of my favorites, I hastened the pace, eager to revisit. A side trail leads visitors directly behind its lacy curtain. And - bonus - I spied a tiny rainbow in the creek below!
|Middle North Falls|
This year, our spring had been drier than normal. Although it affected all the park's waterfalls, nowhere was this more apparent than at Middle North Falls. Usually this cascade flows as a wide curtain across the entire basalt cliff. But this year its output had been reduced to a single stream.
|Lovely old-growth forest|
By the time I'd passed by Middle North Falls, it was past noon, and the sunny skies had given way to hot temperatures. The creek and waterfalls had cooled things down considerably. But once I climbed out of the canyon, things got warm real quick. Although my return trek was through a lovely old-growth forest, it was a hot hike. The only saving grace is that it was short (1.5 miles) and I spied a patch of beautiful purple iris.
I returned to my car in plenty of time for the 4 o'clock mass. My morning ramble fit perfectly into this busy day!
Although autumn is my favorite time to visit Silver Falls State Park, I was pleasantly surprised by the abundant spring beauty, and the number of wildflowers blooming here on this warm day in May.
Sharing with: Floral Friday Fotos and Scenic Weekends