McMenamins, Silver Falls, and OMSI

I had an absolutely fantastic weekend.  The weather was spectacular and despite having prior plans to do some housework, we decided to take advantage of the opportunity to spend some time outdoors and play tourist for a couple of days.

The weekend started on Friday night with a trip out to the local McMenamins.  We both got dressed up, which is really fun once in a while, and went out to grab some food and have a few drinks.  Later in the evening one of Tawny’s friends showed up, so we stayed for another drink.  It was really hot on Friday, a prelude of the scorching weather to come.  After a week at work and a couple of drinks, the hot weather was sapping energy pretty quickly.  Time to call it a night.

Silver Falls
Saturday morning was gorgeous.  The sun was bright and there was not a single cloud in the sky.  It wouldn’t be right to waste such a day inside packing up boxes and doing housework.  Instead, we decided to drive down to Salem and head to the Silver Falls State Park.  We made a quick stop in Wilsonville for a new pair of shorts, a new t-shirt, and some breakfast at Sharis, finally reaching the South Falls parking lot just after noon.  After liberal application of sun lotion and the appropriate selection of a cap to keep my head from burning, we set off on the 6.9 mile loop around Silver Creek.  The full trail treats you to no less than ten waterfalls, three of which you can walk behind.  This map shows the route we walked, starting in the lower-left at the South Falls Lodge, walking north past Lower South Falls, then East past Lower North Falls, Double Falls, Drake Falls, Middle North Falls, Twin Falls, the half-way point at the other parking lot with North Falls, the Upper North Falls, and then back West past Winter Falls to the starting point.

I was able to get a lot of really great photographs.  The first couple are at the outset, overlooking the top of South Falls, which is a popular start-point for the full loop.  The second is from a bridge at the base of the South Falls looking back up at the outset from below.

These pictures are of the Lower South Falls.  We were lucky enough to pass someone on the trail who agreed to take a picture of us together.  The pedestrian traffic significantly thins out around Lower South Falls as most visitors turn around at this point and head back to their cars.  The trail heads behind the waterfall pictured here, which was a really refreshing moment in the pounding ninety degree sun.

Lower South Falls

Tawny & Stu

This pair of pictures are of Double Falls and stack vertically to give the full 31ft height of the larger of the pair of waterfalls.  You can just see the second falls in the top right of the top-picture.

A little further along, we found some raspberries growing along the trail.  The first picture (top-left) is of Tawny after she had just reached through the brambles to pick some of them.  Shortly after that, we took a break to get our feet wet in the river at a nice spot we found just after Twin Falls.  The water felt surprisingly chilly considering the heat of the day.  The third picture is of the Middle North Falls, which are located right before the short-cut path that can take two miles off the route for those feeling tired.  The final two pictures are of the North Falls up close (bottom-left), and then from another great viewpoint (bottom-right).

Raspberries

Raspberries

River dipping

River dipping

Middle North Falls

Middle North Falls

North Falls

North Falls

North Falls Viewpoint

North Falls Viewpoint

It was a fantastic day and even though my legs are still a little sore, it felt really good to get outside and enjoy such a beautiful walk.  I love living in Oregon.  Not only do we have access to Portland, the high-tech industry that pays my bills, a low cost of living when compared to Washington and California, Oregon also has gorgeous outdoor areas that are less than an hour drive away.

Sunday
Sunday morning started with a great yoga workout with Eoin Finn.  We did the Daily Dose of Bliss routine (38 min) and it was a fantastic way to shake off some of the stiffness of the hike from Saturday.  It never ceases to amaze me just how much a yoga practice can make me feel more energetic and less tired, despite being quite an intense workout.

OMSI
Sunday afternoon, we visited OMSI on a spur-of-the-moment decision.  Even though we didn’t arrive until after noon, that left almost seven hours to enjoy the exhibitions and see some shows.  Our schedule went roughly as follows:
1:30pm – Science Playground.  Playing with telescopes and morse code in the Physics lab.  Zoetrope fabrication.
2:00pm – Planetarium show.  Time-lapse exploration of the pacific NW skies.
2:30pm – Life Science.  They have a travelling show on pregnancy where actual fetal specimens from the full 38-week growth cycle are on show.  Although heavy feeling to know that the fetuses were real, it was fascinating to see them at the various stages of development, especially considering that my sister is currently about 17 weeks along.  I found the specimen that most accurately represented a fetus at the same stage as my future niece or nephew and was surprised to find just how developed they already are.
4:00pm – iMax “Coral Reef”.  The coral reef movie was fascinating.  Two researchers set out to explore and document the coral reefs around Fiji, Australia, French Polynesia, and Hawaii to discover why so many of the world’s reefs are dying.  It was sad in places to learn just how quickly they might all be destroyed, and very educational on an issue I’ll confess to having a certain ignorance about.  The iMax experience is always cool and this was no exception.
4:45pm – Earth Science and the Oregon Shell show.  The Oregon Society of Conchologists had their show on display.  They had some incredibly cool specimens and it was fascinating to see some Mediterranean shells I’d never seen before.  We were able to duck into the robotics show briefly before our next scheduled show and both Tawny and I got the chance to be owned by a robot that will race you to solve a geometry puzzle.
5:30pmUSS Blueback.  I’ve been on the tour of the Blueback before and absolutely love it.  I’m fascinated by the myriad switches, lights, and arbitrary dials in the control rooms, but the tour guide for this visit was definetely sub par.  The last time I was shown around this sub, the guide was a twenty year navy vet who had served on a myriad of submarines around the world.  He threw in all kinds of interesting information, such as the torpedo room being the most popular place to sleep because the loading hatch for the torpedos was also the best and most reliable escape route in case of an emergency and because the temperature in the weapons room was far lower than anywhere else.  This time, we had a kid who really just hated his job and was less than jazzed about taking us on “yet another tour” at 5:30pm on a ninety degree Sunday afternoon.  It was still fun to look around, and all in all rounded off another superb day.

iMax Coral Reef

iMax Coral Reef

OMSI Floormap

Floormap

Sunday evening, Tawny let me cook dinner for her.  We had almond coated dover sole with brown rice, accompanied by a potato salad with homemade mustard dressing.  Tawny picked out some cheeses and breads for a light dessert and we washed it down with a couple of cans of Boddingtons.  Dinner done right!  So ends a totally awesome weekend. 🙂

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