Daily Archives: April 6, 2009

South Falls at Silver Falls State Park.

South Falls at Silver Falls State Park.

We got in a great hike yesterday even though we got a late start.

We drove down to Silver Falls State Park, and bought an annual pass for the state parks. We hate to waste money so that means we will go hiking in state parks at least seven more times this year. Should be easy, assuming neither of us decides to break a leg or something.

Anyhow, I distinctly remember doing this hike when I was a kid with my mom and sister. I remember that Gretchen and I were not really down with it, hiking just seemed like too much walking to us, and all of Oregon is pretty, we get it. Funny how perspective changes everything.

I had super grand expectations about getting in a number of the waterfalls (there’s a hike of ten waterfalls that we are talking about doing perhaps later in the summer), but after we got going, we realized that a) it was too late in the day to do much and the park would close before we did a lot of the waterfalls and b) going up is hard work when you are as out of shape as I am.

I can’t imagine where I’d be if I didn’t walk as much as I do, and didn’t work out five days a week. I am planning on adding more to my workout plan because clearly what I am doing is not quite cutting it.

We managed three waterfalls – South Falls, Lower South Falls and another one that we didn’t catch the name of (might have been just a springtime waterfall) but over which we got to walk on wooden planks.

Brian was impressed that the day lodge was super nice – there’s a cafe there (with FOUR vegetarian options. FOUR!) and a gift shop, and info about the park. It’s somewhat like a miniture toned-down version of the Timberline.

Behind South Falls.

Behind South Falls.

The best part about South Falls is that after a hike down, you get to walk behind the waterfall. There’s a cave that is behind it, and you can stand there as long as you like and watch the water wall move in front of you. The mist feels phenomenal on your face. It’s my new plan to hike near waterfalls once per week in interest of skincare.

We hiked for about three hours – it was 73 degrees, and it felt like heaven to be out in the woods watching water and lichen and chipmunks.

After we got back to the parking lot, we decided to go to Salem for dinner. We couldn’t seem to find anything that appealed to us, and we weren’t in the mood for Mexican or Thai, so we ended up at McGrath’s, a restaurant that I’ve been going to since I was a little kid.

We had the worst meal I remember in a very, very long time, which surprised me as I ate there last year and had a completely fine meal. This time I was actually worried that Brian or I would end up with food poisoning. The salad was mushy – clearly the pears were old, and from the bottom of the can rather than fresh. It was drenched in dressing to the point of being sort of a lettuce soup rather than a salad, and the candied walnuts, instead of being cooked slightly in sugar, were encased in rocks of sugar (more sugar than nut, if you know what I mean).

The fish I had was old, and not good, and bland. I had decided to get a fish sandwich since we grilled fish the night before, and had asked for cheddar instead of tartar sauce. The cheddar was fried on the fish to the point of being hard.

It is the first time I’ve ever seen Brian order a prawn dish and not eat most of the prawns. The wait staff seemed great, but it took forever for the food to come out, with no apologies. The meal took almost two hours from the moment we were seated. Not what I had intended when I innocently suggested we grab a bite before heading back to Portland.

All in all, I think that’s going to have to be the last time I eat at McGrath’s. It was that bad last night.

However, we did have a nice walk around downtown Salem, and I got to see a building I didn’t remember but really love:

Capitol National Bank Tower in Salem, Oregon.

Capitol National Bank Tower in Salem, Oregon.

Today is gorgeous – 75 degrees, so I’m going to weed the backyard and take a long walk this afternoon. Gotta practice for another waterfall!