Thursday, May 19, 2016

Waterfall Canyon

After talking about doing this hike for weeks, we finally did it yesterday. The kids were all smiles and excited to start. Boy how quickly that changed.

Right near the beginning, there was some women coming down with two young children. Just curious, we asked about how long it took them to do the hike. They said it took them an hour and a half just to get to the top. We didn't start until 5:30 pm, and suddenly I was worried that we wouldn't have enough time. I knew coming down would be much quicker, but I absolutely did not want to still be on the trail when the sun went down. Lance and I decided to go ahead anyways, but we both agreed that no matter where we were, we would turn around at 7pm.

The trail started climbing right from the start and never stopped. The first little while was completely in the sun and it was hot. Surprisingly, it was Will that started whining first. Less than 10 minutes into our hike, Will was complaining. We took a short break, then kept pushing on. Every 2 minutes, Will would ask if we could take another break. It was frustrating and I could barely get him to keep moving. He was breathing pretty hard, holding his stomach, and near tears. He had woke up with a high fever only 2 days before, and suddenly I was wondering if maybe he still wasn't feeling well. He said he wasn't feeling sick and that he wanted to keep going. This all happened within the first quarter mile or so and I knew there was a very good chance that we wouldn't make it very far. Will had only been on one hike before, but it was more of a stroll through the mountains with much less climbing. This was Blake's first hike ever, and my first hike carrying a baby. But we just kept walking.

And walking.

And climbing over rocks.

And walking.

Luckily  not terribly long into the hike, the trail entered the trees and climbed along the river. It was nice to be in the shade, and Austin seemed to like the sound of the water. The kids complained less and less. And suddenly, the trail opened up and the waterfall was in view. The last climb to the falls was very rocky and very steep. It was a little nerve wracking trying to climb it while carrying Austin. There were a lot of loose rocks, plus trickles of water coming down the rocks made it slippery in some spots. I went slow and made sure I had steady footing, and we found a good little spot to rest by the falls. 
When we passed people as we neared the top, they encouraged us to keep going and that the view would be worth it. And it definitely was. The waterfall was spectacular, and the view out to the valley was just as stunning. The waterfall was even taller, but I wasn't able to fit the entire thing in my photos. We sat down for a little bit and enjoyed a snack while being sprayed by mist from the water hitting the rocks. 

It was very peaceful and relaxing. I would have like to just sit and listen to the waterfall for a long time. It was 6:45 pm when we reached the top, and I was thrilled we had made it in time and didn't have to turn around before seeing the waterfall. But with how steep and rocky the climb was, I knew going down would be difficult in a different way. We didn't stay long at the falls since we weren't sure how long it would take us to get down. 

Austin did amazing. She didn't cry once the entire time. She hardly even made a peep. But she was kicking her legs and seemed very content. Towards the bottom, she was dozing off a little bit, but was unable to stay asleep because I kept having to adjust her.
Like I said, the view out to the valley was incredible. One of my favorite things about hiking is seeing just how far you have come. While you are walking, it's easy to keep your head down and stare at the trail ahead of you. And you don't realize just how much you are climbing. It's crazy how far you can go and how high you can climb in such a short amount of time. 
I wish I would have got a better picture of the trail just to show how steep it actually was. If you look closely at the picture of our whole family, you can see the grade of the slope behind us. There were a few tears on the way down, as the kids lost their footing and slipped a few times. Luckily they were just small slips and only resulted in tiny scrapes.
The way up was more aerobically exhausting. Our heart rates were up and our breathing was labored. The way down, however, was more straining on the muscles. Trying to step down off of big rocks slowly felt like I was doing one legged squats. Everyone else seemed to be fine on the way down, but I was in some serious pain. It didn't help that yesterday morning was squat day at crossfit so my legs were already sore. Probably not the best day to plan a strenuous hike, but I didn't really think about it until the pain hit. And Austin isn't exactly a teeny baby. She is quite the chunk and my arms and legs definitely felt the extra weight. While I was just focused on staying alive and not tripping while carrying her, Lance was awesome and helped the other kids when needed. Blake wanted to hold his hand most of the way, and she required a lot of help climbing up and down the rocks. Honestly, I'm not sure who had the harder job - me or Lance. 
We arrived back at the car, tired and hungry, a little before eight o'clock. Once we got out of the rocks and back to the open trail, the kids were cruising. They were anxious to get down as we had promised them slurpees on the way home. The bribe worked and we seemed to fly down the mountain. That is, everyone except me. My legs and back were on fire, but I tried to keep up. We had to keep yelling at Will to slow down because he was getting too far ahead of us. I would have never believed it if you had told me he would be doing so good at the start of the hike. I thought for sure we would be carrying him out. Blake enjoyed a couple of short piggy backs on the way down, but she did most of it by herself. I am so proud of the kids and it made me super excited to see them do so well. It got me excited for the possibility of a lot more hikes this summer. We had a good time and think this is a hike that we will do again, but maybe on a day when we aren't feeling so rushed.

1 comment:

  1. We did that hike a few years ago when we visited my Mom. It's a pretty nice one. I hope you find some more you like.