Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Once again -- part 2

After breakfast on Sunday morning, some of us decided to hike to the waterfall. I was determined to see it this time. Last year, my family tried to go on our own but we but took the wrong trail and reached a dead end. So this time, we went with a big group.

You can't miss the sign. But where is the trail?

Not far from our campsite, we saw bear poo on the trail. Uh-oh! Somebody just emptied its stomach. Is it looking to eat again? I wondered.

Bud and the boys also saw a snake sunbathing on a rock. Concerned, I asked, "How big is it?" "Just a small one," they answered. "About the width of a finger." "That's not small," I said. "That's medium!" When I saw the snake still lying there in the sun, it was medium all right. Small for me would be worm-sized. "Don't go near it!" I warned the boys.

After hiking for about 20 minutes, we reached what seemed to be another dead end. Disappointed, we returned to our camp for lack of time and decided we'd try again later.

After the worship service, we went looking for the path to the waterfalls again. Bud decided to stay in the cabin because he was not feeling well. Gabriel and Markus were very excited to go on an adventure. Me, too! I want to hike. I want to see more of the forest.

We let the teenagers lead the way because they had been to the falls earlier. "You're sure you've seen the falls, huh?" I ascertained.

The hike up to the waterfall was more challenging than I expected. The path was rocky and narrow and very irregular. It appeared to me that this was not a trail at all. We were walking on rocks on both sides of the stream. We had to cross back and forth to find the path of least resistance.

No trail. Just rocks.

The young people, my sons included, were very quick to go up the mountain. We adults lagged behind. After a while, I lost sight of the children and teens. I looked back and the adults were gone too. I felt a tinge of panic. I remembered overhearing that a baby bear was sighted in the area earlier. Oh God, please don't let me come across one. I prayed over and over.Thank goodness, cougars didn't even cross my mind. You know me, the only thing I don't like about the wild outdoors is the wild part. Ohh, pleeeeease!!!

Thankfully, I caught up with two young girls, about 11 and 10. One of them was having a hard time crossing the current less than 3 feet wide. How can I cross this without getting my shoes wet? I thought to myself. I held onto a tiny branch and, attempting a Tarzan stunt, jumped over the water. Okay, it was more like a Jane. Then I helped the girl to cross.

Crossing this narrow part of the stream was tricky.

Markus, who had reached the top and was already taking pictures, saw me as I climbed a rock. "Mom, pretend you are rock climbing," he said holding the camera towards me. "What are you talking about? I AM rock climbing," I retorted.

This rock is hard to climb.
But I managed to smile for the camera.

Finally, we reached the top of the waterfall. It was only a small one but the water was lovely.

Markus took nice pix.

We rested for a while and enjoyed the view. I realized that some of our adult companions had remained behind. In fact, I was the only female adult who continued on the non-existent trail. I felt a sense of accomplishment. Now, the problem was going back down.

How do I get down from here?

Most of us started our descent together. As expected, the children went faster. Gabriel slid down a steep large rock straight into the shallow running water. I was afraid to do that. I went the long way around and did another Tarzan with a branch hanging over the stream.

After a while, I found myself alone again. I could not keep up with my younger companions, and the people behind me seemed to be taking their time.

I tried to keep my mind off scary wildlife. I thought, Well, at least I have not gotten my shoes or jeans wet. Gabriel and Markus and most everyone else had slipped and slid and fallen in the water. Me, I am still good. Thank you, Nike. Good traction!

Just then, I came to a very tricky part of the river that was difficult to cross. The current was strong and stepping stones were underwater. I stepped on a wet rock, and bam! I lost my balance, slid and fell knee-deep on all fours. Aaayyy! I screamed and hoped nobody saw me.

Not far ahead, I found Markus collecting rocks. Then we walked on together.

"Mom, I was waiting for you. You know what I was doing? I was praying, God, please protect my Mom, because you were screaming so loud. And I saw you fell," Markus said.

"Really? Was I loud? I thought nobody saw me," I said. "Well, thanks for praying."

We had a good chat going back to camp. We encountered Gabriel and his friend as they were coming out of another path.

"Mom, the workers showed us the waterfalls," Gabriel said excitedly. I think he was referring to forest rangers who were at the site. "We went on another trail and it took us only 15 minutes to get there."

"Whaaat? " Ugh, that was the trail we should have been on! That's the falls we wanted to see. We were supposed to go to the bottom of the waterfall, not the top of it.

If we go to Camp Hope again next year, Ill make sure to try that other path. And I'll make sure to follow adults.

Last part coming up...

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