Friday, December 29, 2017

OREGON COAST September 2017 – Part 2—Gardens and a Fest

In my plan to avoid all huge highways, I went on to Silverton, Oregon; a small town with plenty of history, architecture and home to The Oregon Garden. This part of the world has a perfect environment for growing things and there are 80 acres in Silverton with 20 different gardens including a rose garden, water garden, conifer garden, and a children’s’ garden.

The water garden alone with its mazes and bridges took quite a while to explore.

“Using treated wastewater from the city, the garden is one of only a few installations in the United States that reuses wastewater for a water feature. Even in the summer months, the garden does not draw on drinking water supplies, instead relying entirely on wastewater treatment plant effluent.” Wikipedia

I caught the open tour shuttle and listened to the driver tell us about the history of the land which was originally part of a horse ranch and Christmas tree farm.

A 25-acre native Oregon white oak grove includes a 400-year-old Signature Oak. 
Coming from high, dry Idaho, I loved seeing the varieties of trees and plants.

That afternoon I made a stop at Bauman Farms to shop for local produce.

There was an abundance of fall squash, garden vegetables and apples.

Their cider operation was in full production.

I couldn’t leave without Marion Berry pie and fresh apple cider.

The next morning I arrived early enough in Mt. Angel to find a parking place for a visit to their Oktoberfest. This community is largely composed of descendants of German and Swiss immigrants and their folk festival is a big one.
Many of the attendants wear Bavarian-inspired attire. There is plenty of bratwurst, sauerkraut, a biergarten and wiener dog races.

This young man was proud to pose by the polka bandstand to show off his lederhosen.
Beautiful children everywhere—

--and they just know what to do when they hear fun music.

Along with all the partying in the street, there was a concert in the historic St. Mary Catholic Church-
--and at the top of the hour I waited with the crowd at the foot of the 49-foot-high Glockenspiel on the corner to put on its show.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

OREGON COAST September 2017 - Part 1 - Waterfalls and Bridges

Once again I drove my trusty Subaru across Idaho and Oregon for a gathering of watercolor artists in September. I gave myself extra time so I could do some exploring of the Willamette Valley before I continued on to the ocean. This time I had my cell phone g.p.s. set up and ready to use to help me find my way. My first destination was Silver Falls State Park just east of Salem, Oregon.

To say the park is scenic is an understatement. Even in this summer of unusually dry weather the huge spruce and Douglas fir trees kept the campground shady and cool. After staying overnight there I took the Trail of Ten falls which is a little over seven miles long. Unfortunately the streams which fed the waterfalls were low. One of the first falls, Winter Falls, was nothing but a wet cliff.

Lower North Falls dropped 30 feet and was amazing even in September.

Double Falls is 178 feet high.

Middle North Falls was much dryer than shown in the brochure photos but was still worth the hike.

This is only the upper part of the cascade and there’s a trail behind it so you can stand and look through a curtain of tumbling water.

I got caught up in taking photos and ran out of time so I only saw seven of the ten falls before taking a shortcut back to my car.

Early the next morning I did a tour of the covered bridges of Linn County while the light was still at a low angle. Oregon is said to have 51 covered bridges. They were built by early pioneers with covers to protect their floors from the rainy weather.

I drove through rustic farm country and came first to Shimanek Bridge. It’s the only red bridge along the route.

It is also known for its gothic louvered windows.

Hannah Bridge was very picturesque in the morning sun.

This is Larwood Bridge. It was built in 1939 over Roaring River. Not so roaring in late summer. I could almost walk across the stream on the exposed stones.

Hoffman Bridge was scheduled for restoration and Gilkey Bridge was closed and off its base while construction workers were giving it a face lift.

Even though the weather was sunny the skies were hazy and full of smoke. There were forest fires to the south in the Three Sisters Wilderness and another wildfire burned to the north along the Columbia River just upstream from Portland.

To add to the smoke, farmers were torching their grass-seed fields after harvest to clean them of disease and weeds. Eastern Oregon is well known for its soggy, mossy wet weather but this wasn’t my experience this trip.