With last minute cancellations by "fair weather only" hikers, our numbers to depart to Silver Falls were reduced to five, but those who braved weather's uncertainties were rewarded by a most interesting novelty upon arrival: a carpeting of 4-8 inches of fresh snow. Since hike leader Joe had phoned Silver Falls office just two days before to check trail conditions and had NOT been advised of already existing snow, he decided to allow the emotion of "novelty" to replace "Irritability." Good sport Jane Dods had come ready for a work-out, but turned back because of wariness of falling after last year's broken hip. Joined by two of Joe's longstanding friends who'd driven down from Portland, six of us embarked on the "RIm Trail" (the only trail open) between the North parking lot and the main south lodge. This round trip was six miles, largely level. Trail conditions were soft fresh snow or slush; not unduly slippery when on level terrain. Actual weather was cloudy, not particularly cold, and no "precip."
At the south lodge, we were able to navigate down a short loop hike to see the spectacular South Falls, bursting with pounding water. This drama made up for the other falls we could not see close at hand due to the closed canyon trail.
Lunch at the south lodge was in an environment as good as promised: comfortable bench and chairs in front of a toasty fire in the fireplace. A most pleasant surprise was the presence of two park volunteers, who regaled us with stories about the park's history. Delays and stories made for a long day out. It was 6:20 PM upon arrival back at Albertson's carpool base in Eugene.
Everybody who went seemed to have a great time and enjoy each other. Enough so that we're discussing a "reunion hike" that, after this novelty experience, we can revisit Silver Falls trails in "normal" conditions. Watch for posting of "Silver Falls II" - sometime in the later part of May.Members: Joe Sanders, Richard McGuinness, Jane Dods, Patricia Esch, Ed Lizewski.
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