A Happy Memorial Hike at Silver Falls State Park

Rain participated in the second annual Atticus Memorial Hike last week, in honor of Uncle Atticus! A tradition the last several years of his life was to have a hike (and some other things) on his birthday, and the tradition has carried on after his death. After all, late October is an excellent time to take a hike and take a gander at the fall colors.

Rain hasn’t been the easiest dog to take out for long walks and hikes due to her barking. We’ve been working on this about a year, since we started Reactive Rover last fall, but it was time to test her out on a longer hike. We decided to visit Silver Falls State Park and hike the Rim Trail, one of just a couple of trails where dogs are allowed.

Once we oriented ourselves we discovered a cluster of buildings that were buzzing with visitor activity. After waiting for our co-hiker Steven to get a coffee inside the snack shack (you can see him on the other side of the window above), we set out on the trail.

Shortly after our departure we had to pull over to the side for a bit due to a class of about 40 elementary students returning from their hike. Rain sat patiently and watched me while the kids sauntered by, pointing and exclaiming what a cute dog she was.

Moments later when we started a short climb, Steven realized he had left his walking stick at the snack shack. We doubled back to rescue the lost item and set out a second time.

The Rim Trail is not the most scenic, but that was okay! It meant we didn’t encounter that many people along our journey. The other more popular trail, the Trail of Ten Falls, loops around to spectacular views of ten dramatic waterfalls in the park. On our out-and-back hike we saw three large waterfalls (North, South, Winter Falls), all from the top.

Rain contemplates the meaning of it all from the top of South Falls.

The day turned out to be beautiful and the weather couldn’t be beat. Silver Falls State Park has more of a mixed forest with both coniferous and deciduous trees but there were plenty of moments with sunbreaks lighting up patches of bright yellow leaves, with mist hanging in the air over a waterfall. We found a small grotto along the trail with a fairy-sized waterfall, and logs with forests of moss and mushrooms. Isn’t fall hiking the best?

Rain had a spectacular time sniffing the forest floor. Every so often she’d see a small stump on the side of the trail and mistake it for a squirrel or bunny, then start pulling with all her strength. A couple of times when we had access to creek banks, she waded in the cold water and started biting the white ripples that floated past her.

When we did pass people and other dogs, I worked my Charlee Bear magic so she’d focus on me. There was only one time when she had a barking explosion at a passerby—a tall man who was apparently giving her a staredown as he walked by.

That’s not the only time she barked. Oh no! She barked at least a few times whenever we were pausing too long on the trail, whether it was to take a photo or because a tourist was mistaking us for park staff and keeping us from getting back on the trail. During our snack break, Rain stayed perfectly silent and focused as I ate my Clif bar. The second I finished, it was TIME TO GET BACK TO WALKING according to her and she let me know it. Rain can be such a pill!

Once back at our starting point, we found the off-leash area and let Rain do her thing for a few minutes. I had very stupidly forgotten to bring a ball, but she still had a fair amount of energy after about seven miles of hiking!

It wasn’t until the next morning when I noticed it. Rain and I were in the living room, and I left to get dressed in the bedroom. Rain did not follow me. Could it be? Was she a little stiff from our hike? That evening she was back to her bouncy self, but that one moment gave me the faintest glimmer of hope. Perhaps it is possible to wear Rain out.

We must do more hiking!

See all the photos from our hike to Silver Falls State Park on Flickr.

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