|family photo at the falls|
Years later MY family is doing the same thing. We're five years into our Pacific Northwest adventure and still discovering new places to play and rest. This weekend I guided my family to Oneonta Gorge, one of my childhood favorites. They loved it as much as I did and we spent a very hot summer day playing in the ice-cold water.
|kids playing in the gorge|
|after Curt's "let's be kind, loving and safe" pep talk, he told us to line up shortest to tallest. I wonder how long it will be before Grant is on the other side of me?|
From that point, the trail was the creek. It feeds into a very narrow and tall canyon with cliff walls rising on either side. The water is cold and the creek bottom rocky and unstable. A hot summer day and tennis shoes or water sandals with sturdy bottoms are a must-have to complete this hike.
The first peril is a huge log jam that blocks up the entire gorge. Hikers must climb up and over the slippery rocks and logs to follow the creek through the gorge. There is no margin for error and a fall would result in broken bones. We were there on the weekend and the backlog of people (and dogs) trying to cross the log jam was long and intimidating. Many well-intentioned hikers turned around at this point.
|log jam. Our oldest three kids are on the bottom right - playing on the low log and swimming in the swimming hole behind it.|
Once we were over the log jam we took a collective deep breath and followed the creek into the depths of the gorge. Blue skies and bright sunlight danced with shadows from the cliffs. The water numbed our toes and kept our bodies cool. Curt and I hung back and watched our kids explore, laugh, splash and shriek in the water. It was a glimpse of heaven.
|sometimes I wish they would be a little less boring...|
Half a mile into the gorge, the creek dead ends into a stunning waterfall with an inviting swimming hole. Grant dove right in, swam to a rock outcropping and jumped back into the water. Normally I'm a Freeze Baby and avoid cold water like a plague, but it was just hot enough outside to be inviting. The water beckoned and I kept thinking, "How often in life do I have the opportunity to swim with my boy in the pool of a waterfall?" It took me a good hour to warm up after our swim but it was the highlight of the day for me and a memory I will take with me for the rest of my life.
|the entire waterfall|
|Grant and I post-swim|
We chose to spend the remainder of our Sabbath at Oneonta Creek, splashing in the shallow spots and dipping into the deeper holes when we needed to cool off.
|doing nothing, something I don't naturally do well.|
|teaching Alli how to "egg beater"|
|Katie and Paige|
|Grant and I climbed to the top|
|Curt and the girls stayed put on solid ground|
As the afternoon lapsed into early evening, we reluctantly left the gorge and headed to church via Target to buy all the things we should have packed to get ready for church (like underwear and deodorant) but forgot. We converted from hikers to worshippers in the church bathroom and finished our day celebrating the new life we have through Jesus.
The kids fell straight into bed and Curt and I sat at the kitchen counter scheming up what to do next week on our Sabbath.
Thank you Jesus for the gift of rest...
|family (I forgot I tied my shirt around my head so it wouldn't get wet)|
Of life that is truly life.