Upon waking up today, I randomly decided it was time for me to go exploring. I didn’t waste any time, nor did I wait around for someone to reply to my post on Facebook I made about going to Fall Creek Falls. Monday, I went to Cummin’s Falls and spent pretty much the entire day out there, but since I had today and tomorrow off, I wanted to plan a two-day trip. Instantly, Fall Creek Falls popped into my mind and I was rushing to get everything packed, hotel booked, clothes washed, gas in the car, and snacks in my basket at the grocery store. After about three hours of driving down the highway, taking a quick bathroom break, and waving left and right down the curvy roads to get the park, I arrived at Fall Creek Falls with an attitude filled with determination and craving adventure. I couldn’t check into my hotel until 4pm, so I had plenty of time to kill. After detouring down the scenic drive (peeing on the side of the road, it’s only natural :D) and finally remembering where it was I had been looking for I arrived at the overlook of the Fall Creek Falls waterfall.
As soon as I looked down at the waterfall, excitement built up inside of me. This was the trip I have been waiting years for. I had to get down there as quickly as I possible. I asked some random guy which way the trail was to get down there, he pointed me in the right direction, and I was on my way.
As I was preceding to the trail, an old man gave me his walking stick saying that I may need it farther down. I took it from him, thanked him and headed down the path.
It didn’t seem to be as challenging as I remembered, not sure if that is because I have hiked it before, or because I have been working out a lot lately. Either way, I made it down without being out of breath. Once I was down there, I wasn’t completely satisfied. It was almost like it wasn’t challenging enough. But, I was in awe of how beautiful the waterfall was and how the mist looked around the rocks. I couldn’t look away and I continued to venture closer and closer to the waterfall. It may not have been the biggest waterfall I have ever seen, but it was still just as beautiful. Nature is truly inspiring to me. 50 selfies later, I decided that it was time to hike back up. I stopped some guy and asked him to take a photo of me by the waterfall.
I continued hiking back, anticipating where I was going to go next. Thoughts of inspiration were racing through my mind the entire time. I wandered onto the trail that lead to the nature center. I chose to take the longer of the two paths in order to get there. I figured it would be more of a challenge. There were several overlooks on my way to the nature center. I knew in my mind I couldn’t wait to get to the cascades though. I have had that place stuck in my mind for years now, because last time I was here I couldn’t go down that way. The overlook to Cane Creek Falls was absolutely stunning. I probably stood there for a good ten minutes or so. I didn’t want to leave this view.
Once I was back on track, it didn’t take long before I reached the nature center. It was pretty basic in there. Ya know, souvenirs, information about the park, history of the park on the walls, and an middle-aged woman who was clearly ready to leave, because I walked in at closing time. I didn’t spend much time in there. I grabbed a couple of books and a park map and was on my way out the door. Ahh, the cascades. I pretty much ran down the trail, only to come upon a swinging bridge. OH. It wasn’t that bad. At least, I was able to get an inspirational picture from it and it was a bit terrifying to cross, but isn’t that what life is about? Being able to get over things that seem scary at the time?
The journey to get to the cascades was definitely worth it and I would do it again in a heartbeat! I literally stayed there the longest of all the scenes I traveled to today. I felt so at peace and at one with nature. I wanted to get into the water and swim, but it was too cold unfortunately. I was kinda bummed out about that, but didn’t let it get me down. I was just thankful to be able to finally be there. My dreams are finally becoming reality and nothing feels better than that.
It was quite amusing when this man and his young son came around the corner only to discover me in a swimsuit, posing for my camera that was propped up against the rocks. He kinda just pulled his son’s arm and turned around. I felt a little awkward, but shook it off. I did put my clothes back on soon after that though. Ah, I felt content in that moment. More content than I had felt in a very long time. I wanted to come back to this place for so long. I think to prove to myself that I could do it alone and also to redeem the last time I was here when I was 18 with an ex-bf. He didn’t want to go to the cascades, so I didn’t go. I felt like I had cheated myself from an experience ever since then. It feels amazing to be able to say I made it and I did something I enjoyed for me.
I observed many squirrels, some deer, and a lot of grand-daddy long-legged spiders. I think that is the name of them. Nature is such a beautifully crafted mystery that happens all by chance. I feel honored to be able to walk in the paths carved out by it’s creator. I feel spirituality at one with everything in the world by being in this place. I finished the night off by going back to the hotel room, taking a shower, eating a buffet that surely had the world’s worst fish and chicken, yet the soup was good. It’s all about finding the good things in everything you do in life. Plus, enjoying a craft brewed beer doesn’t hurt any either. Ugh, artificially flavored cherry cobbler wasn’t the best choice either.
I went to the small gift shop at the hotel, didn’t find anything that interested me so I decided to head over to the general store. Once I arrived, it seemed a bit too dark, and I discovered online that it had closed at 6. I questioned myself for not looking it up before, but what happened next was the highlight of this whole trip I think.
I drove past the lake and decided to stop really quick and look up at the stars. It had completely slipped my mind that I could actually see them. It was pitch black outside, like as soon as I turned off my phone’s flashlight, it felt like everything melted together. The sky, the earth and me. Darkness. When, I looked up. I literally couldn’t breath for a moment. The sight of all those stars in the sky was mesmerizing. I stand in the darkness in total awe. I don’t think I had ever witnessed so many stars in my life. It made me realize how small I truly am. How small we all are in this world. Which made my gratitude grow even greater.
I feel transformed. Overwhelmed by how I am changing. Changing into someone new. The fact that I drove 2-3 hours away, all alone is a huge accomplishment for me. I wouldn’t even go to the grocery store by myself a year ago. I have started to grow into my own individuality and to feel alone is astonishingly comfortable. There isn’t any words to express how free I feel. I feel like I have finally found peace within myself. The exact thing I set out to do almost two years ago. I wish I could live in this moment forever, but I can’t so I am going to continue to embrace all of these “new” feelings as I lay down. Not afraid. Not really feeling lonely.
Tomorrow is a fresh new journey. I am going to do some more hiking and exploring. I can’t imagine what I will find out about myself next. This is what it feels like to be living your dreams and it feels unlike anything I have ever felt before.
Like the bright blue sky above me, be open and free. Be limitless without any boundaries. Accept everything that flies into your sky, because it is all apart of you. Welcome all emotions and feelings into your life; the good, the bad, the unwanted, and the anticipated. It is all happening for a reason. Live a life of gratitude.
Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from doing what you want to do in this life. The truth is some people aren’t going to understand. Do it anyway. Sometimes, the best things in life are experienced in solitude. Dare to be different and don’t hesitate to go down the road less traveled. Be fearless and watch your dreams come true.