The rain which had only spit on my windshield as I drove US 35 to the trailhead became light rain as I climbed upward. Tissue paper leaves hugged rocks and muddy trail as I walked beside rushing waters.
By the time I reached the first of two bridges which cross the west fork of the Hood River, the steady rain ruled the forest. The trail itself rapidly became a series of miniature lakes. Soon I found myself hopping, then dancing to avoid huge puddles, creating a choreography to match my increasing forest-induced joy. Remembering a favorite folk song, I accompanied my dance with song, “I don’t care if the rain comes down, I’m gonna dance all day!”
I’d considered hiking up to connect with the Timberline trail that circles my beloved Mt. Hood. Descriptions of the path through mountainside meadows as an “unmaintained, dead-end trail that requires excellent route-finding skills,” no cell signal in the area, and potential late fall snows forced me to change plans.
I confess I was somewhat disappointed to use good judgement. I really wanted one more alpine hike before season end but it was not to be.
Moving upward toward Tamanawas Falls via the long route, I smiled to the trees. I cautiously walked across slippery rocks and audibly gasped at the power of rushing waters beside which I hiked! The enchanted land in which I found myself renewed my soul. The baptizing rain that caused my eyeglasses to fog up and that rapidly saturated my jeans, were doing their job of washing away my stress, my worries, and even my thoughts about anything outside of the rain-soaked forest.
Arriving at the furthest point of my journey, the wide, powerful waters of Mt. Hood National Forest’s Tamanawas Falls were framed by lush Oregon green. I dropped to my knees in awe of the creating one’s marvels. It was there, near the ground that I met my rain-loving kindred. Huddling at the base of the tree in the steady, late October rain the mushrooms collected the falling waters and exuded sunlight.
As my eyes teared, adding to the baptizing waters, I overflowed with gratitude for a second choice trail to hike.