Chasing Waterfalls (F) - PNW 5.6.18
It was Sunday and the day was free for us to adventure. Alexis was working, and we were still new to the area, so I picked an easy, yet fun escapade. Multnomah Falls is one of the seven great wonders of Oregon. We dropped the dog boys off at Pops’ house and hit the road. It was a smooth ride as the sun beat down on us as we passed through the city. Sawyer screeched with excitement from the back “Mama you didn’t tell us we were going to the big city!” Quickly I explained to him that we were just passing through and, on our way, to hunt for waterfalls. I told them to keep their eyes open and let me know if they saw any. Breckin feverishly went back to his small note pad, intent on strategizing for Pokémon while Sawyer looked with great wonder out the window. Sawyer constantly gazes out the window and I am curious about the thoughts that flow through his mind.
We slowly pull into the area that my GPS indicates is Multnomah Falls and were greeted with a line of cars. I was confused because when Alexis and I had visited previously there was no traffic and we were able to pull right up to the lodge, steps away from the falls. This time, I could see the falls just past the highway, so we circled around and found a spot to park. The parking lot was jammed packed. We joined the masses of people herding through the tunnel, under the highway towards the waterfall. As we got closer my excitement started to evaporate like the mist at the bottom of the falls. The boys were excited because they have seen a picture of these falls many times. I keep with me a picture of the pool which when looking down from the bridge above looks like a heart. As we approached we realized they wouldn’t be able to see the heart in the falls because the trail was closed due to the wildfires this past year. We were stuck at the base of the falls. It was so packed that it was nearly impossible to get the boys in a picture by themselves. We sat for a moment, trying to soak it in and enjoy the adventure. People from all walks of life were vying for a spot a selfie or picture with their loved ones. Not wanting to be a spot hog I relinquished our VIP spot and we headed out. On our walk back, the boys wanted to play in the nearby creek. Surveying the area, I knew it was not appropriate for them to jump in and start frolicking about. We are working on the boys inside voices as they tend to shrill with excitement and I knew that they would cause a commotion and possibly get into trouble, so at this point I said we should continue our waterfall hunt. Breckin got back to the car first with me pulling up the rear. We climbed in and plugged in the next closest waterfall.
Pulling onto the highway with the windows down we heard the train barreling down the tracks right next to us. The graffiti covered train carrying mostly lumber snaked away from the highway behind trees and we pretended to be racing it down the highway. As we came around the final turn to where we would be getting off the train sliced under us and we were able to catch a glimpse of the lead car. The boys were giggling with glee in the back seat as I slowed off the highway. We took a right to head where we were hoping to see another waterfall. The road leading to the waterfall was blocked as well due to the wildfires. Quickly I found a spot on a quiet road just under a large tree to pull over and come up with a game plan. The boys were looking to run through nature and play in a creek. In my gps I plugged in waterfalls (nearby). As I hit search and scanned the area I saw Little Zigzag Falls. It told me it was over an hour away and asked they boys if they wanted to continue the adventure. With out a doubt they were in. Back onto the highway we pulled.
We rolled up the windows and put on some tunes. Sawyer sleepily gazed out the window as we watched the trees pass. Breckin dove back into his small note pad to create more strategies and draw Pokémon. This ride seemed to take a little longer, but we ate the lunch/snacks I packed, listened to music and enjoyed the time. As we traveled up the road to the Mt. Hood area the sun dimmed, the temperature dropped. We turned off the highway on to a road less traveled. The GPS said we had reached our destination, but the blue line was still extended with the dot moving towards our destination. Slowly I drove down the road with uncertainty as to where it was taking us. We weaved down the paved road past random camps, an empty tent on the side of the road, a tarp that covered two abandoned chairs, RVs and the Kiwanis Campground. It was a little eerie at first as it seemed abandoned. But driving through the parking lot I noticed two other cars. I jumped out of the car and hid any fear that I had and got the boys excited for our hike. They raced to the trail head. We found a sign and read about the Enchanted Forest and the positive effects of negativity. Apparently when the water hits the bottom of the waterfall breaking the tension of the surface it creates negative ions. Inhaling these ions increases the amount of oxygen to your brain, increasing your serotonin levels and improving your mood. Also, on the map was a small picture with the words “you are here”. Still a little unsure of where we were and how safe we were, I quickly snapped a picture of the map to Alexis to let her know our location. Looking back, I realize this is both a great idea for the future and silly for the real reason behind it. We should always let someone know where we are before we set off into the woods, but only for safety measures. It was silly that I had a fear of the unknown on such a small hike. I started down the trail and the boys raced ahead vigorously, excited to locate the waterfall. Along the way we found several tiny waterfalls from the water off the mountain that would pass under the trail and come out the other side. During the hike, Sawyer stopped several times with his note pad to make nature drawings. Then would run towards me with excitement asking what I thought. Of course, I loved every single drawing to which he would look up at me with the biggest, sweetest smile and say, “thanks mama”. About half way down the path we saw patches of snow which ensued a small snow ball fight that consisted of the boys throwing snow at me. I snapped a picture, laughed, and raced away.
We soon reached the waterfall and while it was not of the same size or stature of Multnomah, it had its own beauty. There was no one else in the woods, as we stood at the base of Zigzag falls, taking time to breathe. It was cold, damp and you could feel the mist in the air. We giggled as we looked up, opened our arms and tried to breathe in the negative ions. I took in the calmness of the woods as the boys ventured off and headed to the top of the waterfall. Breckin went to feel the water and was shocked at how cold it was. I explained to him that it was the melting of the snow off the mountain. It was snow water. A few seconds later they scurried down to go find a place to play in the creek. I was surprised as Breckin ventured out onto a log and walked across to the other side as Sawyer tends to be the more adventurous one. It was great to see Breckin getting into the outdoors and exploring. Sawyer walked slowly as Breckin raced ahead. Caught between them I lost track of Breckin. As I came near the head of the trail I saw his sneakers on the ground and found him out on a log that hung over a creek with a small pool below. Breckin jumped down into the water and his excitement was quickly brought to a halt as he yelled “it’s freezing”. He roared, and I told him he looked like Sasquatch. Sawyer dipped his toes in and there was no amount of egging him on that would get him in the water. Within no time they were cold and ready to head out. They ran back to the car as I read the final sign on the way out. It spoke of a time when Mt. Hood became Portland’s playground by those who traveled through. The state highway was moved in the 50’s when cars improved and all that is left standing is the remains of a historic bridge. At the bottom it states, “recapture the romance of the bygone era by slowing down and enjoying the simple pleasure of the forest.” I would say that we truly were successful in recapturing the bygone era today. Until next time…