Ever since moving to Spring City (nearly nine years ago), I have heard fanciful tales of a waterfall up our nearby canyon. And not some dribbling, piddling little thing that’s hardly worth a mention, but a roaring, honest-to-goodness fall that would take your breath away if you were to behold its majesty.
So many neighbors have told me about this waterfall, without being able to specify exactly how to get there, that I’d begun to suspect it might be local folklore.
So much did I long to set eyes upon this natural wonder that I asked most everyone I knew in town if they could take me there. Some weren’t exactly sure how to find it, and others lacked either the time or the inclination.
Finally, however, I found a willing and seemingly capable guide: a 14-year-old boy who lives just up the street. He simply nodded with impressive nonchalance when I asked if he would shepherd me.
We agreed upon a day and time, and he answered my excited anticipations with another casual nod.
I invited others to join our expedition, and when the day finally came, there were 15 of us in this corps of discovery.
Clouds of dust trailed behind our convoy of pickup trucks as we wended our way up and up Spring City Canyon, our young scout in the lead truck wearing the confidently resolute face of a young man who harbors no doubts.
Despite his unhesitating manner, I felt a doubt or two creeping into my mind, as we climbed higher and higher up this canyon road, wondering if we’d eventually top out at Skyline Drive, only to have him shrug his slight shoulders.
But then, he pointed in his cocksure way to a clump of trees off to the left of the road, which looked like any other of the many clumps of trees we’d passed during the past 30 minutes, and motioned for our driver to pull off the road.
We all climbed out of our respective vehicles, slung on our backpacks, and followed our very young guide into the trees.
After several false-starts and some baffled backtracking, I began to wonder whether this was destined to become the proverbial “wild goose chase” or even some elaborate practical joke (like the time I spent two hours one night hunting in the dark woods for that ever elusive “snipe”).
I would soon regret having doubted this unflappable young fellow, who pointed affably toward a clearing, which led to a discernible trail, which led to a red climbing rope, which was tied securely around the trunk of a massive fir tree.
It didn’t take long to figure out why this rope was there… our trail led almost immediately down a precipice so steep, that, without a rope to hang on to, the only person in our party who might have attempted this descent would’ve been our unperturbed young guide.
I clung to the rope like Edmund Hillary descending the steepest slopes of Mt. Everest, planting each successive step with extreme deliberation.
Down and slowly downward we all went, following our 14-year-old leader like he was the reincarnated Dalai Lama leading us all on a sacred pilgrimage.
Step by careful step, and hand over chaffing hand, I finally heard a deep and booming sound coming from just below us that quickened my pulse.
Less than a hundred sweaty steps later, I found myself standing on a rocky outcrop, enshrouded completely in a refreshingly cool mist that wafted up from the thousands of thunderous gallons of water crashing down from above, onto the nearby boulders.
I was dumbfounded. It is not often in life that reality exceeds one’s expectations. This was one of those times. Our young friend betrayed his first perceptible grin at my excited gesticulations.
I eventually kicked off my shoes to soak both tired feet in one of the many pools all around us.
How had I lived here nearly nine years and never beheld this spectacle? It’s been up there the whole time, just perpetually thundering and gushing over those high, rocky cliffs, for the amazement of anyone who cares to venture… Or for no one at all. It’s always there; doing it’s spectacular thing; every single minute of every single day.
I can still hear that unmistakable sound of violently rushing waters, and I want to hear it again; to get back to that ethereal place—to stand there again, enshrouded in that cool mist, enthralled, beguiled, in wondering awe.
Can I find it again without my stoic young guide? I think so. But, if not, I now know his standard fee for these squiring services: one chili-cheese dog (with fries) at our local eatery.
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