Mother’s Day with Mother Nature

14 05 2012

My mother is far, far away. Farther than usual. Instead of the usual half way across the country, she is clear on the way other side of the country, on vacation to South Carolina with her gal pals.

So for Mother’s Day, I visited my other mother: Mother Nature. We’re quite close these days, and I’m stoked the weather is warming up so I can spend more time with her. After a nice lazy morning, J and I headed out into some of Nature’s finest work to say hello and celebrate her.

We weren’t going to do anything crazy like climb a mountain, but instead stuck to the valley bottom. One thing I love about mountain country is the finger systems. You know, ravines, valleys, drainages, gullies – whatever you want to call them. I call them fingers. The places where rivers or creeks branch off like a tree. (We’re going upstream in my brain, instead of starting at the sources of water and joining them all together…) In my neck of the woods, we start with the great Columbia River. Then we branch off up the Methow. Today, we left the Methow and headed up the Twisp. And finally, way up the Twisp River finger, we split off one last time up War Creek. As you can imagine, we were tucked up into some pretty amazing country at this point.

Methow Valley map

See the fingers?? And the green diagonal line in the middle – we were kind of at the top left of that valley.

We got most of the way by car before hitting a roadblock. A super huge landslide last spring took out a good chunk of the road, so we would be walking the rest of the way. Of course, the first thing we had to cross was the massive washout. Un-freaking-believable. Mother Nature sure did a number on that mountain! Its been a full year and the destruction is still breath-taking. Huge trees taken out, massive boulders swept downhill, chunks of the mountainside scraped to the bare rock. So crazy!

War Creek landslide Okanogan Forest WA

J walking across one section of the landslide – where the road used to be!

We didn’t need to go all the way to the trailhead. Today, we were in search of something not on the main trail, and not widely talked about: the War Creek Falls. I don’t know if you’ve picked up on this from previous posts, but I kinda have a thing for waterfalls. So when J told me this was the day’s Plan Of Action, I was super excited! And as we hiked up the road, past the slides, the creek could finally be heard, raging with all its spring-time melt. We hiked upstream a ways, not sure which direction the falls might be hiding, and soon realized we picked the wrong way. Back down to our off-trail starting point, we struck out in the other direction and soon heard it – the roar of massive amounts of water thundering over a precipice to crash into the pool below.

Thankfully there was a little bit of a user trail heading down into the chasm where the falls lived, but it was still frighteningly steep. For me anyway. J the mountain goat had no problem, but we both managed to make it down without serious injury and without pitching over the edge to sure death. Yay! And there, suddenly, was the gorgeous waterfall we had been searching for.

It wasn’t the tallest waterfall, it wasn’t the most astounding, but there was just something about it, you know? Something that took my breath away and left me sitting on a rock staring at it for quite some time. I lost myself in the torrent of water crashing through the rocks and over the little cliff. Maybe that’s what is so special about this particular waterfall – the air of mystery and secrecy surrounding the place. Not many people get to see this guy, or even know about it. J’s been in this area and hiked War Creek Trail several times, and he just heard about the falls recently. And it was crazy difficult to get down to. The waterfall scored bonus points for being a local secret.

War Creek Falls Okanogan Forest WA

I made it! Soooo cool.

And that sound!! Moving water is one of the greatest sounds my ears can hear – any kind of moving water, from babbling brooks to pounding surf, you name it. That much water blasting through this little gorge was so soothing to my little soul. I love it!! I’m a little sad it isn’t always like this, since right now it’s swollen with the spring snowmelt. However, J found a little trail that went down farther, where we might be able to get down to the actual creek. You know what that means?? Summer-time swimming hole!!  Once the falls loses its spring-time fury, we’ve got ourselves a fantastic summer get-away. Once more reason to look forward to summer!

It was a nice, peaceful walk back to the car. It’s such a serene, out-of-the-way place, devoid of human distractions of any kind. Today, there were no other people on the trails, no cell phone reception (we just used ours for the camera, quit judging me) and no sounds of traffic or other human life. Just the birds, the squirrels, and the wind in the trees. Ahhhhh, wonderful.

So Happy Mother’s Day, Mother Nature. I greatly enjoyed our day together, appreciating all your beauty and wonder. Hopefully, I’ll be back for another visit in just a few days!

And just so there’s no confusion, let’s revisit why my real Momma is still cooler than your momma.

mother daughter Mother's Day

Me and Momma, about 2004 (we were such young spring chickens!)

mother daughters on the beach Mother's Day

I guess I’ll let the other daughter in, too. This was around…2008, I believe. I miss my Momma!





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