In the summer of 2003, Charlotte and I decided to take a trip across the country by rental car (why a rental? Don't ask--it's complicated, dull, and annoying.), stopping at various friends along the way, seeing the sights, and culminating in our annual visit to the Burningman festival in Nevada. This is the diary we kept along the way.
|25-26||Hot Springs AR|
|?||Oklahoma City OK|
|31||Mesa Verde CO|
|?||Grand Canyon AZ|
|11-13||Los Angeles CA|
|16-24||San Francisco CA|
|24-Sept 1||Black Rock City NV|
|2||Salt Lake City UT|
That was the conversation for most of the trip north along Route 1. Route 1 hugs the California coastline. It has precipitous drops, straight down into the jagged rocks and crashing surf. It also has sloping, curving, hills and small mountains rising up, punctuated by crevices and ravines, tucking themselves in layers to the east, to be unfolded with each right handed curve into the road, another switchback, another amazing crevice, canyon or drop off.
After Sebastian driving a bit of this route, my stomach started to
object--rare for me because I don't usually get motion sickness and
Sebastian is a pretty good driver. We pull over to swap positions a
little short of the Gorda town line sign. The wind rustles beautifully
in the trees. The scent of salt sits heavily in the air. There was a
canyon with a trailhead just to our right. Sebastian
squealsexclaims [thanks. --S], 'Hey, a
waterfall! Let's go.' I look up in the direction Sebastian is pointing--
a narrow rivulet of water about an inch high. Hmmph, I think I am not
sure about this expedition. Deperately needing the stretch we start up
the trail. We sprint, dash and walk in fits and bursts. The shade and
coolness of the woods is a relief. Suddenly, the smell changes from
salty ocean to rich, leafy, herby dampness. Pausing, we breathe in
deeply and revel in the richness of the scent and the moisture in the
air. In the distance we hear the splashing of water on rocks. I am
envisioning a narrow stream.
The path has an opening to the left. We take it, turning toward the direction of ther sound and scent of water. In front of us, rise up large boulders, two and a half to three times our height, but very climbable. Adrenalin-filled we excitedly start clambering, sliding through the nooks and crannies, going over soft grey-green domes of rock. The sound of the water gets closer. Finally the streambed. Crystal-clear water pouring over large beachball size boulders. We can see the fall from here. It is slightly larger. Clambering over and around huge boulders laid down by giants, smoothed by the stream, we head further upstream.
Finally we can see the head of the falls, fifty feet-up, the small stream was one of several that converge and diverge as they tumble over rocks and moss, algae and lichen. Spring green and grey-green stone intertwined and sparkling with rivulets of water. We start climbing to get closer, finding small footholds, amazingly smooth handholds, we cross the stream, leaping from boulder to boulder, cold water running over our Tevas. Our final obstacle, an immense boulder and we split, taking different paths but ending up on the other side facing the rock wall at the base of the cliff, and an idyllic, crystal-clear rock-lined pool of water calling our names. We gasp. I have only seen such views on postcards.
Hesitating only a second as we debate thr level of clothing required, since we passed a woman fishing and two sunbathers, who hurriedly dressed as we approached. We settle on damn little and shed to our skins. Sebastian dives in with no hesistation--the shy and timid me goes in slowly, as it is ice cold. A quick dip and a short swim. We scurry out of the water and towards our clothing, as we hear voices from a distance. Just as we come over the boulder, which blocks the view to the pool the photographer couple who had taken the left trail from the turnout lot, appear. Where we scampered fearlessly over rock and stream, they are carefully picking their way up the trail
Adrenalin flowing, refreshed and somewhat damp, we spend the ret of the day enjoying the vague, outdoorsy afterscent of our afternoon swim.