Monday, July 7, 2008

Fourth of July Hike

For a few weeks now, we'd had a Fourth of July hike and following barbecue planned with several friends.

So around 8am we drive up Highway 5 towards Grants Pass and exit, headed in the Galice direction. The morning is quiet and cool. We are the first to arrive at the Grave Creek Bridge and park. I love the shadows early in the morning and notice swallows pirouetting as they dive under the bridge. Their white silhouettes against the dark shadow make me smile.

The next carload arrives and we gather ourselves for the two mile hike. We have chosen the south side of the river to hike - for the shade - and are grateful for it later! The beginning of the hike trails along a steep wall of rock and then, softens to hills and fern forests. I was captivated by the colorful Madrone trees twisting bizarre angles with their branches as they reach for the sun. And often found myself lagging behind - me and my camera capturing Madrone postures. A small creek cascades down the hillside about 2/3 the way to Rainey Falls - a chance for our Golden Retriever to lay belly down cooling off.

The Falls appeared quickly, taking me by surprise. Usually waterfalls occur where a valley is narrow and there is a giant drop - but these falls reside in a wide part of the valley and are a jumble of tiers at a wide mouth. More playful than jaw-dropping for me yet, powerful and beautiful.

We spread out like little ants across the rocks looking for the best vantage point or a particular angle from which to look. More downstream, one can see the width and fullness of all the cascades, closer, the thrill of the dropping water and the raging white swells. Most everyone settles near the exciting falls and chatter while watching rafters and kayakers navigating the different pathways. I land a little upstream, more near a little cove with a sandy beach. There I pull out my sketchbook and begin a brief sketch as I nibble on my Luna Powerbar. Cody and Roland wander the shores and the sandy beach is a safe, fun place for Cody to wade and drink.

While combing the shores there, my dear, observant husband chances upon tiny lil' shells upon the rocks, nearly 3 feet above the water line. He comes to me with three of them "for my Journal". Can you see why I love him? So here you see the yellow Ochre-colored shell for which I carved out a window in my journal. Since I'm at the near end of my journal this presented a challenge - but heck, why not carve out a bit of the journal cover. So that's exactly what I did, and cut out windows with my Exacto Knife to protect the height of the fragile shell.

It seemed all too quickly our friends were picking up packs and heading back along the trail - homeward. Oh yes, I'd completely lost myself in sketching and forgot about the barbecue later. Food! Fun! Conversation! Ok, ok, I'm working on coming back from my right brain! Roland & I share a nectarine before trotting off after the rest of our group. The hike back seems farther . . . and that little toe seems to be talking to me too! Ouch! This might be the last hike for my ole' hiking boots and I'm relieved when we get to the cars.

On our drive back the wind blows around the car cooling our hot necks and Cody is sound asleep in the back of the Subaru. Suddenly we see a large dark shadow drop out of the woods on our right and lop across the road. What!?!? As we slow the car to let it cross the road we realize - it is a bear! How exciting . . . glad we saw her here rather than on the hike! As we near Galice packed with holiday rafters we notice the soft-ice cream sign and Roland is quick to respond to my inquiry, "Ice-cream?" We stop and relish a cool cone and nod, giggle and chat about a great hike.

Just another wonderful slice of life. Hope your holiday was just as much a "celebration of life". Cheers!

No comments: