Monday, January 31, 2011

oh, go take a hike.

who wants to hear about an adventure i had yesterday? yes? yes :) let me begin at the beginning, then...

the itsy bitsy town in which i have lived for my whole life has very little street cred. growing up, i would sometimes taunt it; there is so little to do here that seems fun to a tweenager. but i have grown to love it... and yesterday solidified exactly how much. (and how much is A LOT.) you see, our town is built around a forest. this means that we are surrounded by a plethora of trees. many, many trees. life is very green where i live. my dad is an avid bird-watcher, so we've visited the forest itself frequently, and i'm incredibly grateful for its existence. i'm now aware of how unique it makes our town, and how beautiful the forest actually is.

but that's not all our town has. oh, no. on the outskirts of town, if you're willing to go for a bit of a hike, you'll find - no lie - a WATERFALL. and here is where i duck my head in shame and wait for you to scold me soundly... yesterday was the first time in my entire life visiting said waterfall. when some friends of ours announced that they'd be trekking down to see it with a small group of people and invited anyone who wanted to join them to come along, i was such an eager beaver! and my enthusiasm didn't waver... despite the steep inclines and slippery slopes and hot weather. i was scratched by thorny bushes (clever Hannah wore knee-high pants!) and sweaty and sticky and aching by the time we got to the bottom. but oh my friekin' goodness, it was worth it. if you want photographic evidence of why, scroll down to the end of the post; otherwise, stick around for some preliminary photos of the journey down :)

i loved the signs that we came across, pointing us in the right direction :) (the idea of a picnic site is a fallacy... the picnic sight is completely useless and overgrown. however, the idea of having an actual picnic down there... well, THAT, my friends, appeals to me!)

how cool are these trees? they make me think of arms reaching heavenward.

one of the things i adore most about our town is how spacious the sky is. there are no tall buildings to interfere with its space; it stretches out, like a great big yawn, comfortable and vast.

at the beginning of the hike; my dad is on the right, and our friend Bill is on the left. luckily, we weren't exercise-hiking, so i could keep up most of the time ;)

up at the top of the waterfall; this is the stream which precedes the drop. it's been raining TONS here, so it was flowing fast.

and here begins the waterfall! *excited face*

this is... lantana. *boo! hiss!* i took a photo of it cause it made me laugh and remember when i was 8 years old and at my mom's school. this plant isn't indigenous, so we'd scowl whenever we saw it growing along the fence at school and pull it up. now it just makes me grin.

this tree stump is ENORMOUS! as in, two of me could have sat inside it with room to spare. if it was hollow. which it wasn't ;)

a bag of one of our fellow hikers... too much cuteness!

the leafy greenness was all around us - on our left and right, and above us! remember how i mentioned that everything is green in our town? ;)

this was our first view of the waterfall after travelling a little downwards from its top. i almost didn't make it down here because the climb down was steep and crazy. and i don't like steep and crazy, no sirree! thank goodness for sturdy branches and my dad's help :)

funny story. we eventually got down to the very bottom of the waterfall, after an incredibly tedious climb, and found our view obscured. my dad sighed in major disappointment. he's a photographer guy, so he was really looking forward to getting a shot of the waterfall. but he decided he wouldn't let this little dilemma deter him! oh no. instead, he took off his boots and socks and left me as their guardian while he gingerly wandered upstream in search of a good view of the waterfall. turns out if we'd turned right a little sooner down the path, we'd come to a spot where the waterfall was in full view, with no wading required. (my dad discovered this after wading, of course...) anyway, after he returned, we went around and this view awaited us:

HELLO, BEAUTIFUL! my breath was taken away. and i'm not just sayin' that :)

and then the obligatory pose with the waterfall in the background... because, let's all admit it, when you've climbed that much and are dreading the enormous climb that awaits you, you want EVIDENCE that you've actually made it all the way down to the bottom. somehow, it makes it all a little more worthwhile ;) [photo courtesy of my dad]

and i chose to end off with this photo because for the longest time, i saw these gorgeous little daisy-like flowers growing all along the path down and up from the waterfall, and yet i continually failed to get a decent photo of them. this is the best result, my sort-of triumph... and i am proud of it :)

in any case, after this trip, i don't think i'm gonna be able to hold myself back from the waterfall for very long. such a miraculously glorious example of God's infinite coolness should be experienced a little more often, don't you think? ;)

what's the most breath-taking thing you've ever seen? i want to hear all about it!

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