Friday, March 29, 2013

My Sweet Triumph

Today was a wonderful glorious kind of day for me. I accomplished something that almost four years ago I never thought I would. I made it to the top of Multnomah Falls. For many people that live in the Pacific Northwest this is no big deal but for me it was huge!

Four years ago we took our son to what is known as the tallest waterfall in Oregon. You can read a short post about that trip here July 2009. Ever since then he's wanted to go forward almost 4 years to now.

Today was the day. Banning had the day off and the weather was holding out so on a whim this morning we decided we'd go. I was ready! I have gotten many jabs from Cameron over the last several years about how I didn't make it to the top yet he and Daddy did. Many times when we go for a walk/run he asks when we're going back and if I'm going to try to walk all the way up. Today I was ready, or so I thought.

Multnomah Falls is located in the scenic & historic Columbia River Gorge, which is gorgeous in it's own right. It's a tiered falls and has two drops; the lowest falls is a drop of 69 feet while the upper falls is an impressive 542 foot fall. Many photographs have been taken of this beauty by professional and amateur photographers from around the world and a simple Google search will turn up more than enough for you understand it's beauty. Growing up in the area I'd never been and I didn't figure to go taking a bunch of photographs of something that is a hot tourist spot. For me it's like taking a photo of Mt. St. Helen's. I don't photograph much that is in my own back yard.

The end of March is much earlier than the last time we went and we dressed fairly appropriate. The wind that the falls kicks up is pretty spectacular and I have some freaked out hair that is testament to what wind and spray can do. But it was perfect. Not cold, not too hot, just right for a hike in my book.

After you cross the bridge that is located at the tier you start up the hill located to the left of the falls. There are 11 switchbacks that lead up to the top of the approx 620 feet. If you read my previous trip post you'll know I didn't make it very far at all. This time I was so dang determined though.

My guys were ready and so was I. This photo was taken just before we started up the trail. The second switchback I thought was the hardest, that was until I reached 5, or maybe it was #6. I actually had to tell myself to stop counting because I was getting frustrated that I was fatigued walking uphill. At home when we walk our 3 miles it starts with a pretty good uphill climb. I kept having to tell myself that there was no reason to push it and to take breaks. Of course Cameron, being only 9, couldn't understand why mom had to stop at all. I finally snapped at him to shut it! Okay, probably not the nicest way to handle it but I promise I was nicer when I told him in 'real life'.

After I thought I wasn't going to be able to pull through, and we'd passed dozens of people that were on their way down and I was just sure even that two year old that I just passed had made it to the top (I don't know if every one of those people actually did make it) I told myself to stop whining and get my butt moving. Along came switchback 7...or was it 8? (see I stopped counting lol), and all of the sudden my step picked up and I was cruising up that hill. Finally I'd gotten my second wind! There was no stopping me now. I didn't care what number we were on, get out of my way people, mad woman who was proud of herself was coming through!

I wanted my husband to take a photo of me with the green switchback marker that said "11 of 11" but it had been vandalized and was illegible. I was a tad bummed but I was okay with it because I got this photo instead:

This one was taken standing on the platform at the top of the falls. Behind us is a small waterfall that precedes the big 542 drop. This one is taken looking down from the platform to the bridge where we started:
After some looking around at other trails we decided we were hungry and not going to venture any further than we had today. It was time to head back down to the lodge and the lunch I had packed. Of course the walk down was a piece of cake, I even stopped long enough to share some, what I hope was encouraging, words with a young lady that really wasn't sure she wanted to do 8 or 9 more "of these" switchbacks.

I was flying high and feeling great but about 3/4 of the way down I almost lost myself. Maybe it was the endorphins or something, I'm not quite sure, but the feeling I had was of incredible happiness and peace. So much so that I almost broke down and started crying. Four years ago I couldn't do it. Maybe I physically could have, but I just didn't want to. I didn't want to pant my way up feeling my lungs burn and my legs ache. I didn't want to be uncomfortable. After losing weight and getting in better shape I knew this time it was so much more important for me to make it, do it, prove to myself that the panting and the pain are worth the view from the top.


  1. Girl, your words are so inspiring! You literally conquered that "mountain"! Soooo proud of you. Makes me wish I lived close enough to hike up it with you. :)

  2. What an awesome story! You are an incredible young woman ...Mz Pepper Miller! xoxoxoxo