Monday, September 2, 2019

Our Little Secret

There it was, on the side of the road. A cutout big enough to house maybe two cars at most. A small opening in the trees, no markings to announce its intention. Here our hike began.

My son located this trail by a combination of sleuthing and serendipity. A brief mention in two discussions on line. A route of a mile or less to a waterfall. No description of the journey to the destination. No hint of what lay between here and there. No clue of what waited to greet us.

Only a small way up the road we had passed a well known trailhead. There, at least twenty five cars had gathered, shepherding a relative mass of humanity. Here it was us and nature. The road less traveled. As in extremely less.

We had no expectations as we walked the relatively flat path. In short order we came across the beginning of the stream bed. It was dry as the desert floor. The rocks protruded from the earth and we could have moved forward in their midst without fear of a drop of moisture dampening our feet or our spirit. And so it continued for a good while, no sign that we would encounter any hint of water along the way. An easy hike with a disappointing payoff. This was why it was unmarked and unattended. It was, I was certain, wholly unremarkable.

And then it began. The trail we had been following suddenly became more suggestion than statement. No definition marked the path ahead. Did it turn left? Maybe. And now the hill ascended, not in slow orderly fashion, but all at once, as it burst upward to the sky. And the first tricklings of water covered the stones that were, in a blink of an eye, situated far below.

In skiing, the most difficult terrain is the double fall line, signaling you should be moving in two directions at once. And now, as we strained to move upward, we were also invited sideways, to our right to the ravine that waited to capture our attention and any errant step.

We had definitely not been warned, or prepared for this. Looking for the foothold, or the finger pull as we thrust ourselves up the gnarly path, or maybe it wasn't the path, it was hard to distinguish friend from foe. 

At certain moments we thought of retreating, no one would know the better. We had given it valiant effort and there was no shame in saying enough. But then we caught a glimpse of a waterfall through the trees, barely a few hundred yards above. We heard it calling us and we did not want to be rude to our host. And so, on we trekked seeking answers to the questions of where and how we were possibly to continue our steep ascent.

It took less than an hour to complete this most treacherous portion of our task. From the point where the one and only marking on this trail, stating "US Boundary" notified us we were entering what exactly? to where this trek would conclude. And then we came upon it.

My son said we could have been anywhere in the world as we stared out on this site. The sheer sides of rock, chiseled from millions of years of contact with the falling water, creating a carving on both sides worthy of the finest sculptor the world has known. The trees hovering, staring down at the majesty day after day for eternity. The greens that blended seamlessly into this landscape, a perfect painting come to life.

And at the fall's bottom a pool of water, as clear as the sky on a cloudless day. How deep its reservoir unknown. Six feet, maybe much more. Every pebble on its bottom as visible to our eyes as those that sat on the dry bed that had greeted us far below at the inception of this adventure.

We looked at each other in utter disbelief, as if we were the first humans to gaze upon this sight. As surprised at this find as if we had discovered that pot of gold at rainbow's end.

And so my son took to chronicling our treasure, photographing it from all angles we could get to, even taking video to try to capture its essence. But we both knew nothing he would show others would do justice to what we were so privileged to witness. It was the sheer unexpectedness of the strain of reaching this point and the surreal beauty that we now soaked in with every pore of our being that made this such a unique and unforgettable moment. What we viewed, what we felt, could not be expressed from within the confines of a camera.

And then we descended, giddy from what had just occurred and certainly a bit saddened that we were leaving this smallest reminder of something far, far greater than us.

We will breathe word of this locale to no one, first because we don't want to send anyone on a path unintended for their level of capacity. And also because I think whatever God there may be wanted to keep this quiet, not marked for the hordes but maintained as the private reserve for a select few who stumbled unknowingly into its magnificence. 

Just our little secret.


Anonymous said...

A treasure! Your words and your experience


Anonymous said...

What a treasured, shared adventure!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your little secret. Lois

Anonymous said...

They say that one picture is worth a thousand words, and that may be true, but your words brought meaning to the beautiful photo, and the photo brought meaning to you beautiful words, so I think that it’s pretty much “even Steven”....

Love your post today...thank you!


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

This is such a beautiful story and I am so pleased about the waterfall!


Anonymous said...

How exciting! I wished I'd been there too! Thank you for sharing with us as this is a wonderful story of your adventure. And thank you Richie for taking pictures and videos. These will be the next best thing for all your fans to watch!