Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Shalom on the Trail

I wasn’t super enthused.  I was worried about my Renaud’s syndrome - digits that go numb with the slightest cold..  Although the forecast was for a sunny 60 degrees, it was in the upper 30’s when we took off. Hiking in February - even an unseasonably warm February - was somewhat dubious as far as I was concerned.  However, I gladly went with my Imzadi.

Tim finds trails to hike by the Holy Spirit.  He has a good knowledge of the trails around Hood River. Sometimes he starts with an idea of where he wants to go and lets the Spirit worry about the details.  When it comes to recreating, we don’t like to plan very much.

Dangling over snow melt
My first Spirit surprise was the left turn onto Frankton Road which meant Mt Hood. I had been assuming the Gorge. “By the way, we’re going this way. I don’t know where yet.  Several possibilities - height or waterfall.  Do you have a preference?” Ask the asthmatic whether going up a mountain or going sort of uphill to a waterfall is preferable, and you’ll more than likely get waterfall.  “Whatever. Either is fine with me.” We were Spirit hiking, weren't we?

Up through Odell and Parkdale we cruised, past leafless orchards being readied for the growing season.  Mountains of fruit crates were piled at Duckwall’s and Diamond.  And views of the mountain.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Route 35 offers some breathtaking views of Mt. Hood, especially with the morning sun glinting off the snowcap. 

We parked at the Pollallie trailhead.  I faced the forest until Tim pointed out that the trail was actually across the road and started vertically.  "This is the worst of it."  The end game?  Tamanawas Falls.   Okay, I can do vertical - for a while.  And if the Spirit picked this trail with Tim, I had to trust that I could do it.  I was delighted to realize that my months at the gym paid off. Stronger legs carried me upward as my lungs worked to catch up.

Tim photographing ice cycles and rushing water
Despite my reservations, the hike was soul refreshing, reminding me our summer hikes on the coast and in the Gorge.  The path was at times spongy with thawing earth and a carpet of pine needles beneath our shoes, at times hard with rocks or ice.  We climbed over fallen trees, hugged the rock face where the path dropped off precipitously, and climbed upward, over and around rocks large and small.  All the while, the sound of the surging Hood River serenaded us.  

Tamanawas Falls
Rushing water has always been therapeutic for me.  When we lived in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, the churning waters of the Mississippi listened to my musings and counseled me in times of need.  The water served as a vessel,  carrying my junk far down stream while leaving me washed, refreshed, clean.  

About two thirds of the way towards the waterfall, Tim and his camera busied themselves capturing images ice cycles and thundering water.  Slightly upstream I found a rock on which to sit and dangled my legs over the snow melt below.  Closing my eyes, I could feel the roar of the flow vibrating within me.  Shalom.  Oh how I've needed shalom.  When our lives are over-busy, stress-filled, and frantic, we especially need shalom although it seems even harder to find. Ahh.

The falls themselves were, of course, spectacular when we reached them.  Wide and powerful,  the falls sent up sheets of freezing water for the rocks and trees to catch.  Enveloped in thick ice, the rising temperatures caused small clumps of ice to break free and cascade down the wall periodically.

After a bit (the spray was too cold to linger) we made our way back to the trail head.  The Hood River accompanied us the whole while, as a beloved following and protecting us with Divine care.  Shalom.

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