Updated: Apr 7, 2022
My best friend Ethan, Abby, and I had been trying to plan a mini adventure for the better part of year. We have recently had varying schedules and always seemed to be exceedingly busy with one thing or another. Whether it was Abby and I working on Taogoi or Ethan having plans (he is socialite living in the city after all), we couldn't match up and get the opportunity to get together. And then, by some miracle, this weekend the stars aligned; we were finally able to do some adventuring!
We had originally planned to go to Mt. Rainier, but as I began to look into it, chains are required on all vehicles, AWD or not, until May. I still have trouble with my feet in the cold, so I wasn't super bummed to not go into massive snow that Rainier gets every winter. I did some digging for something fun to do while Ethan was cooking us a lovely breakfast of cheesy scrambled eggs and Abby finished up her paper for her college class. We decided to go all the way down to Oregon to Multnomah Falls.
The day started off at Ethan's apartment in Seattle, and, as if it didn't have a reputation, it was grey, cold, and raining. We piled into Bronica (my bronco), and started on our long, wonderful journey with the lunches Ethan had made the night before. On our way down South, I saw a sign for my favorite volcano and together we decided to take a detour to go see if we could catch a glimpse of Mt. St. Helens! The roads were open and in the lower elevations were even snow free!
As we were several hours into the drive, we pulled onto a side road for a break to stretch our legs. The road was gated shut, so we traveled uphill on foot to see what was up and around the bend. It seemed to be calling to us, and as we got to the top, we basked in the quiet of this newer clearing. Being from city and suburbia, this type of quiet is rare, filling up our void of true wilderness. It was quite cold, so we didn't want to stay long, then Abby noticed a whitish spot down the hill... As we all found what she was looking at down the way, it started to move! We realized it was an elk, and then there were five of these huge, beautiful animals about a half a football field away. The male elk had this incredible presence, with his massive antlers giving him much more of a grandeur than his four female companions. Turns out, this herd of elk are extremely important to the area and are one of 10 herds in the state of Washington that "provides significant recreational, aesthetic, and economic benefit to the citizens of Washington". Which has made the experience even more magnificent than it already was.
Magic was in the air from then on. Continuing up the mountain road, in awe of how lucky we were to have seen such an amazing sight so early on, we soon ran into snow. My Bronco has this fancy "slippery mode", and since I didn't have chains, I was glad to have this mode (since I was chainless) and was going to test how far I could go. Comfortably at least. We got about two and half miles up on the freshly blanketed road, until we came to a little bridge that was most likely one of the last bits of level-ish road before it turned downhill between mounds. I knew that we were not going to make it back up if we went down those winding hills. So we came to the decision to turn back. It was a little sketchy coming back down (the road is slightly uphill, it was easy to forget we were gaining elevation), I put her on neutral and rode the break back down to clearer roads.
It was a good thing we turned back when we did. When we started off coming down south, the sun was just starting to break through the clouds of King County. Up in the mountains, it was beginning to flurry a little bit. The, the flurry started to worsen before we finally got out of there adn back to unimpeded pavement. Heading back West towards I5, the weather started to clear again. Enjoying each others company to the fullest, we continued our drive to Oregon. We wouldn't have been able to see the mountain today. Ethan took over driving at this point, and we all marveled at the immense vastness of the Columbia River and it's amazing gorge as we approached the state line. Spotting waterfalls that were trickling down the cliff on Oregon's side of the river as we came out of Portland's mess of a highway system. Then it came into view; the exit on the left side of the highway, Multnomah Falls. Walking up beneath the highway and up into the smell of freshly baked sweets and sizzling steaks that were in the lodge that sits at the bottom of the falls, we saw the very top of the 620ft tall majesty.
Nothing makes you feel quite as reverent and mesmerized as wild waterfalls. They appear to be in slow-motion as the water freefalls hundreds of feet, crashing towards the Earth. The long, skinny part of the falls gives the reminder of how powerful gravity can be with water. Looking so delicately elegant, and yet has this thunderous sound, which overwhelms the senses. You are there. Captivated in every sense. Only you can pull yourself away from its glory and back into whatever you consider reality. I hate being surrounded by people, but beautiful sights of nature make it not so unbearable. I'd rather not have gone on a holiday weekend, but alas, I won't be deterred from having a great time with my closest friends that I had been looking forward for such a long time!
After spending some time taking pictures and enjoying the falls, we needed to started heading back if we were going to make it to Seattle at a reasonable time. Feeling completely refreshed from our mini, yet long adventure. We drove, in total, about 400 miles and have memories that will last a long time. Finally being able to hangout, catch up, and absorb the healing affects of nature at it's finest was well worth the all-day trip. We couldn't have had a better adventure for how long we had all been waiting for this. From wildlife to snow to cascading waterfalls, we had it all. We even saw a few different rainbows on our drive back, which were as vibrant as our friendship!
Even if you haven't talked to your best people in a while, never forget that they are still your people. Time may grow us apart, but the love we share for each other doesn't fade, it waits for the the time when everything is aligned just right to make more memorable moments. Give it time; space is required for us to grow, that doesn't always mean we will grow apart. Some people are chapters in our lives while others are part of a larger series in our library of life.
Never stop adventuring, never stop loving your people, even when it's a longer break that you'd like to have. There is always time to make amazing memories, be patient