Tag Archives: waterfalls

Waterfalls and the Bamboo Forest

The day following my brutal 16-mile run, Jax and I decided to go hiking. Never mind the fact that my legs were so sore I could barely bend them, causing my attempts at walking to resemble that of an uncoordinated toddler with little muscle control. Alas, you can’t let things like this slow you down in Hawaii, where there is just too much fun to be had to let a little lactic acid get in the way.

We started the day with breakfast in a cute little hippie town called Paia, then hit the Hana Highway in all its tropical glory. The road twists and turns along the coastal rainforest and offers the most breathtaking views you’ve ever seen. Clusters of lush foliage and flowers frame the deep blue expanse of ocean below, and every bend reveals a gorgeous panorama. Since we had already spent several hours exploring the winding Road to Hana with Jax’s family earlier in the week, we didn’t stop for all of the sights along the way this time. (More on our initial excursion soon, though at the rate I’m going, said future date could easily extend to summer of next year. But stay tuned.)

We set our sites on the small town of Hana, about 55 miles away, and we didn’t detour until we arrived at our intended destinationHonokalani Black Sand Beach at Waianapanapa State Park. This dramatic beach is tucked away in a little alcove set among seaside cliffs and lava tubes, and the sand is actually small, smooth lava pebbles.

We walked along the ocean bluff above the beach and admired the waves violently crashing against the rocks, forcing gusts of ocean spray into the air. Then, we spent some time climbing around in the seaside caves.

Once we had our fill of black sand, we headed to Haleakala National Park for an afternoon of hiking. We ended up going about 4.5 miles roundtrip, and the various treasures we encountered along the way were just stunning. We climbed along the Pipiwai Trail, every now and then stopping at some scenic lookout, waterfall, or hidden pool. Eventually, we came to the mysterious Bamboo Forest, which is quite possibly my favorite forest ever in the world. I have never seen anything like it. For miles in every direction are thousands of dense bamboo stalks of yellow and green, towering over your head. Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes and she’s gone….

Sidetracked by The Beatles. It happens. Let’s carry on.

The bamboo is surprisingly tall, and the effect of the light filtering through the leaves creates a dreamlike setting. The forest is actually quite dim, and when the wind blows, the bamboo stalks knock together causing a hollow musical rustle to move throughout the expanse. At points, there is a raised boardwalk marking the path, and I felt very much like a character in a fairytale as we trotted along. It was fantastic, whimsical, and eerie all at the same time.

Eventually the Bamboo Forest faded and we found ourselves crawling across small streams on slippery rocks. Thanks to some nimble maneuvering, we made it to solid ground, and directly before us was the most splendid waterfall I have ever seen. And you know how much I like waterfalls. We were standing at the base of Waimoku Falls, which rose a spectacular 450 feet above us. The waterfall crashed down a sheer lava rock wall into a pool below, and we stood there in the spray, silent under the roaring water, necks craned, just appreciating the beauty of it all.

There had actually been a point during our hike where we considered turning back because daylight hours were dwindling and we didn’t want to make the treacherous drive back in the dark. We decided to forge ahead anyway, and at this moment, we agreed that it was utterly and totally worth it. It’s amazing to think that God created things like this for our pleasure, for us to enjoy, and as a reminder of His love for us. What a beautiful, indescribable gift to my soul.

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So Long, Oregon

Our final day in Portland was a series of breathtaking views, and it made me fall in love with Portland even more than I already had.

We started the morning with….how did we start the morning….? Now that several weeks have passed, I’m having a fuzzy time recollecting details of our trip. And that’s one thing I love about blogging – it gives me the opportunity to go back and savor an event again. I get to enjoy all the good stuff twice. More than that, really, because I have the option of rereading my posts and reliving the moments whenever I please.

So. Our morning. It started with another incredible breakfast, this one in the form of stacked biscuit sandwiches and plates of hashbrowns bigger than my head. Thank you, Pine State Biscuits, for that. We then hopped in our second rental car of the trip and made our way to the Historic Columbia River Highway. The route was so scenic, we found ourselves stopping at every bend to enjoy the surrounding beauty.

Early into the trip, we took in this spectacular view of the Columbia River and the Columbia River Gorge.

From there, we stopped at the Vista House at Crown Point, where we gazed upon Washington’s majestic mountains across the river. We wound our way through towers of trees, and I ogled the wide trunks and green leaves as we passed. And I took many, many pictures, from which I’ll spare you. Our next stop marked the beginning of a string of lovely waterfall hikes.

At staggered intervals along the highway, we would spot a waterfall, pull over, and hike a short trek to the top. We loved that the closer you got to the waterfall, the more damp the air would feel, and the fresher it smelled. Now I will say, a picture of a waterfall (specifically my amateur shots) just doesn’t capture the essence of all that a waterfall is; in a picture, you can’t hear the grand crash of rushing water into the pool below or see the shimmer of droplets dancing about.

The largest of these was Multnomah Falls, where water rushes into a bubbling pool from 600 feet above. We climbed to the Benson Footbridge, which carries hikers across the lower portion of the fall, but decided not to continue further, as there was much else to see.

Our most extensive hike of the afternoon was a trail called Wahclella Falls. The trailhead started aside a gurgling brook…

…then continued past a smaller waterfall, wound up and down through luscious trees, across a wooden bridge, and culminated with us standing at the base of this gorgeous waterfall.

I determined right then and there that there is no better feeling than being sweaty from a hike, finding reward from the effort in beholding the beautiful site of a waterfall, and then being sprayed with its refreshing mist. I stood on a large rock with my arms outstretched, and it was delightful and glorious and made me feel wonderfully alive. We eventually hiked back, then finished our driving journey by twirling up Mt. Hood in all its snow-capped glory.

And then, sadly, we had to head back to the airport to catch our flight. It was all I could do to force myself onto the airplane after such a splendid day.

I can see
My rainbow calling me
Through the misty breeze
Of my waterfall

Jimi Hendrix, May This Be Love (Waterfall)

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