It’s been raining quite a bit the last few weeks so when the weather broke over a weekend I went outside to enjoy the sun. I wanted to hike in the forest and be close to trees so I headed to Silver Falls State Park to do some communing with nature. I didn’t have much interest in hiking around the 10 falls. Too many people and I wanted some solitude. I headed to the south of the park where I hoped would be fewer people. On such a nice weekend I expected the park to be smashed with people wanting to get outside and away from their homes for a few hours.
Another reason I wanted to get outside was the drive through the country. I took the route with the least amount of turns which for the most part kept me off the highways. I was taking state roads mostly. Once I crossed over I5 is when it got really fun. It was a beautiful day to be driving through the hills. The sun was out with some occasional cloud cover. It was still cool but didn’t chill you to the bone. At these higher elevation things where just starting to bloom so it was great seeing everything coming to life.
As I suspected the park was busy. I didn’t even bother trying to get a spot near the front. I didn’t want to hike the falls so it didn’t matter. I parked near all the picnic tables which were all filled with large groups of people. The playground was full with little ones running around having fun. Even people in the grass throwing around a ball of some sorts. What wasn’t busy was the water. Way to cold to be fun.
I crossed the river and took the asphalt path south toward the horse camp. On the walk south you run across a pretty spooky place. A rather large section of camping that has been closed for what looks like decades. I don’t know when or why it’s still closed but it’s eerie. It’s a moment frozen in time that is now covered in moss. The way the light shined through the trees onto the green moss, reflecting back on time forgotten. That was really cool.
Just keep going south. The trail at times is not well marked so I had to backtrack a few times to get on the right path. It’s not that I was getting lost I just had a particular path I wanted to take and I was sticking to it. I passed through the campsite and then the horse camp. From there I followed the trail along the base of Buck Mountain and Smith Creek. It takes you to a really impressive conference center in the middle of the woods. Didn’t look like it was hosting any guests but this would be a great spot for a company meeting.
From here it was up the mountain. It’s about a 500′ elevation change from the base to the top of the mountain. One reason I love hiking this time of year is hows easy it is to shed layers to cool off. Once it gets to summer it doesn’t matter because its just always hot. Naked isn’t an option. I climbed to the top of the mountain and came to the crossroads. From here it was downhill almost as quickly as I went up. This was the only time that I ran into someone on my entire hike. He was coming up from behind me as he ran down to the horse camp. This section of the trail was very well groomed so it made since for trail running. This was just outside the horse camp which I got lost finding my way back to the main trail.
Eventually I made my way back to my car and started the drive home. I got a super late start. I don’t think I left my house till after noon and by the time I started my hike it was well into the afternoon. For some reason I just kept going that day. I wanted to hike in the woods and in the end determined to hike really far. It was probably close to 10 miles that I hiked that day. I still had almost 2 hours before I was getting home.
A late start to the day for sure but one that was a full and rewarding. The air in the forest was sweet with the smell of spring. The weather was cool with a mostly sunny day. The trees they envelope you in the forest. The park is awakening from the slumber of winter. During this time I will take advantage of it as often as I can. Soon enough summer will be here and it could be another brutal year for heat, who knows. What I do know is when these opportunities come its best to take advantage of them.