Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Touring around Silverton, Oregon

We have been quite busy in this area the past week, However I will still try to wrap it all up in this one posting.  John was quite determined to see the Spruce Goose while we were here.  The wooden plane built in the 1940s is located in a town near here, McMinnville, Oregon.  Howard Hughes preferred to call his plane the Flying Boat, he considered the nickname a bit silly- after all, it was made of birch, not spruce!   The plane was designed for trans-Atlantic flight during WWII to avoid the German submarines that were sinking Allied ships.  The largest wood-constructed plane to be built, it was to carry material goods and troops.  However, it was not ready for flight until the war was over, so it only flew one mile over Long Beach Harbor, in 1947.  It sat in moth balls for 33 years, in 1988 it was moved to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum.  Pictured below is the inside of the plane, looking toward the tail.  The beach balls were used for flotation in wing floats.
Three years ago when we visited Silverton we did go to Silver Falls State Park.  However, because it was quite a cool day in April then, we only saw one of the ten falls which are in the park.  The Trail of Ten Falls is an eight-mile hiking path which passes by and under some very stunning waterfalls of the north and south forks of Silver Creek.  According to the park's brochure, Silver Falls is a temperate rainforest, an average of 80 inches of rain falls yearly.  We found the trail to be quite wet and even muddy in some places.  Ferns are thick along the trail and moss heavily covers every tree.  John and I did about 5 miles of the trail and missed two of the falls.  The trail was quite exhausting as it involved a lot of elevation change.  We went down the canyon of the south fork and up the canyon of the north fork of the creek.  At Middle North Falls, as well as at South Falls, there is a short trail which took us behind the waterfalls.
Another place we revisited while in Silverton was the Oregon Gardens.  There is a partnership with the city and the Garden in that the latter's wetlands cool the town's treated wastewater.  In the wetlands of the garden the water flows through a series of ponds.  Pictured below is one of the Garden's sculptures called Lupine Fugue.  The artist created the steel structures to replicate the form of the native lupine flower.
In the Oregon Garden there are twenty different themed gardens.  At the Silverton Market Garden can be found many of Oregon's agricultural products.  Ripening now are grapes, hops and apples.  Buried behind the beautiful daisies pictured below are grapes ripening on the vine.
One of the wonderful features of the garden is its conifer garden.  It has one of the largest collection  of miniature conifers in the country.  Pictured below is a western hemlock.  It is draped over quite an imaginative sculpture titled Thorsen's Weeping.   Today we are moving to the coast of Oregon.

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