Against my better judgment, I went on a 1.5 mile hike. A hilly, mountain hike with stairs up and down both ways. I have done this hike before and I remember it being a good hike. I remember it being a very long hike, but I’ve been told by two people it is a short hike. The reward at the end of the hike is Cascade Falls.
I started the hike fresh and with a positive mindset. 1.5 miles in and out can’t be too bad. It should be okay.
I started off the hike all smiles. Whatever was in store for me, I could manage. I managed the 1.2 hike at Aspen Mirror the couple days before. This was just a little longer. How could it be worse? I did it before. Why could I not do it again.
Off into the forest we went. Armed with a water bottle. The breeze blew lightly, keeping us cool. The trail was wide on packed red earth. It quickly narrowed and the trees opened up to reveal the blue sky and sun.
It also revealed the long path that started going down hill with steps broken into the path. I exhaled and started the jaunt. I was quickly winded. Elevation. Recent non smoker. Fat. Triple hat trick for not being able to breath. I was winded and needed constant breaks just moving down hill. My friend was like Tigger just pouncing along the trail. I told him to go on without me. I’d catch up.
One side of the path was high rock that rose against the mountain. The other side of the path allowed you to look out into the valley of endless trees and beyond. It was beautiful to stop and catch your breath as the scenery was breathless. I would be in awe of the dead trees that still stood tall, alone and weathers grey. The wall of mountain would leak water and trickle little bits in the dirt path causing mud in the tracks. I was worried about slipping but it was hardened earth.
I took some pictures of the water dripping down the rocks. I love water. I’m drawn to it.
I went down a path and up a path and down another. All the while taking turns to breathe. A family and a dog passed me. There was a bench under a rock. I refused to surrender to it on the way up the mountain.
We turned a corner and immediately could hear the coursing and running of the falls. It was loud and roaring. On closer inspection we could see it in the distance. It gave me motivation to keep moving. It didn’t look THAT far. I could do it.
I continued to move my ass up the hill. Now it was just up and up and up. The trail was narrower. I ignored everything except the calling of the cascade. I just listened to the water call me up the trails. I passed another family going down. They said hello. I grunted a hi at them. I needed my breath for me.
Finally, I reach the top. The reached the platform. I drank some water and just took in the beautiful site of being at the top of the mountain and seeing where we had come from. My breathing evened out and I turned to take in the point of the falls. There was another family up there taking pictures. We slowly waited for them to move. We made small talk.
We took our picture and turned around and started back. At first it was all downhill. Then it was all up hill. We reach the top of an uphill and I was catching my breath. I though that was all the hills. My friend goes, “okay, I think that’s the last one.”
Looking up, there was a monster of a hill. I wanted to cry. He saw the devastation on my face. He said we will just do it a little at a time. He picked a set of rocks and we walked there. The first spot he picked, I started to cry. When I got there he asked why I was crying. I told him that I was embarrassed that I couldn’t just walk it. It was embarrassing. I was sorry he was having to baby me and slow down his walk. He didn’t coddle me. He just said. You can do it. It’s all good. That’s how I break down difficult walks too. Bit by bit.
That’s what we did. Picked a spot. The tree. The boulder. The shade. The rock. Then, the top. I made it. We made the look out and had a seat. I was winded and needed a rest. We sat and chatted. I drank my water. I felt successful.
We started back to the trail head. It was only a few more minutes and we were out of the forest. I took a final picture of being winded and red faced. If only to remember. My life will not always be like this. I will conquer this.