Sunday, October 05, 2014

wallendas in the woods

It started out as "into the woods" -- another of my recurring Sondheim references.

And that would have worked, as well.  At least, for most of yesterday's adventure.

The day was one of those perfect central Oregon fall days.  Clear.  Sunny.  A crisp start to the day, heading toward the low 80s.  And what could be a better outing than a hike in the foothills of the Cascades?

Tumalo State Park is one of Bend's most popular mixed-use recreational areas.  It centers around Tumalo Creek, fed by ancient springs at the base of Broken Top -- an extinct volcano sitting amongst its kin in the Cascades. 

There has been a state park here since the 1950s, I believe.  But it has not always looked as it does now.  In the 1970s, a forest fire burned all of the standing timber.  Freed of the trees that restricted its bank, the creek simply split up into rivlets further eroding its former bed.

With a bit of help from the forest service, and a lot of help from Old Mother Nature, the creek developed a new and restricted bed.  To look at it now, it is hard to imagine that the place was a mess a mere four decades ago.

Looking around, it appears that the accumulated wind and winter damage is setting up the forest around the creek for a reprise of the 1970s.  This hill is merely a pile of kindling just waiting for an errant lightning bolt.

We decided to take about a four mile hike (at least, that is the story we all agreed upon) along the creek.  It was well worth the steady grade increase.  The scenery is exactly what I expect of this part of the world.  Practically perfect.  There were photographic opportunities at every turn.

Such as this rather disturbing image offered up the creek.

All of that would have played into my original title.  Sharing an afternoon with family on a hike has to be one of my favorite ways to spend time.

But the afternoon was to take a quick turn.  Christy urged us on to get to a higher set of falls. 

We could hear them in the distance, but I was not prepared for what appeared behind a rocky promontory.

The mixture of forest and rock and water were stunning enough.  But what caught my attention were two lines strung high above the creek.  One green.  One blue.  You can see them if you increase the size of the photograph.

At first, I thought someone had set up an illegal zip line.  But I was wrong.  We were about to be entertained by a bit of street (or steam) theater.

A young man, theatrically dressed in lederhausen and an alpine cap, edged out on the bottom line.

Then he walked the full length of it.

When he got to the other side, he climbed to the higher line and his buddy walked the lower line while he took the high road.

When we started the hike, I left my long lens behind.  It was just too heavy to lug on the climb.  But I could have used it for these shots.

For some reason, this cameraman had no trouble lugging his video camera.  I shot him just as he was shouting directions to the tight-rope walkers, who, as most talent does, simply ignored him.

I thought I had shot a series of interesting videos on my own camera that I was looking forward to sharing with you.  Unfortunately, I can find none of them on my storage card.

But that is just a photography disappointment.  It doesn't matter.  What does matter is I shared one magical moment where an entertainer grabbed moonbeams in his hand and shared them with us fortunate few on the cliff.

Moments like that do not need a camera.

Even though he wrote these lines over 70 years ago, T.S. Eliot may as well have composed them for our adventure yesterday.

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.  

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