Pleasant memories of the short hike to Sheep Creek Falls often seep into my thoughts on hot summer days.
Although faint, it’s an easy trail, perhaps a mile long. And it follows close enough to the stream to give Nora the Schnauzer (and Sadie the Dalmatian, in years past) easy access to water.
Nora, of course, loves to go.
Darlene even made the hike once.
She stopped when the trail led into the stream at a bend that hid the falls from view.
Then, on the way back she slipped and bounced a few times on the trail.
I don’t remember laughing, of course, or the trail being muddy.
Darlene remembers both.
“I was covered with mud,” she reminded me.
She declined to make the trip when I suggested it a week ago.
Nora and I last visited the falls on Aug. 20, 2010.
That’s two years ago to the day.
That time, I found the pool below the falls so tangled with deadfall that when maneuvering to approach the falls I fell into the stream and filled my boots with water.
Anyway, all that aside, Nora and I went.
As usual, it’s about a two-hour drive.
Then, we ambled easily along most of the trail until we had a choice: Walk into the stream over my boots, or angle up the mossy cliff seeping with tinkling showers.
Huffed and puffed.
Up and down.
We struggled over deadfall.
Nora stopped twice to be lifted onto logs, which she pranced along and jumped down.
Once near the stream, and facing another 20-foot climb, I shucked the daypack and left my sweaty shirt in a tree to pick up on the way back.
I made that climb.
Then I slipped on my buttocks down to the stream.
“Deja vu all over again,” I mumbled and examined another skinned elbow, just like in 2010 when I had clutched the camera to my chest and dug an elbow into the rocky slope to slow my descent.
Nora, who didn’t slip, moved away as I landed.
Anyway, we made it. I felt good about that, especially since no nasty tangle blocked the falls.
I inched behind Nora along a 30-foot log, however, to view the 4-foot-wide falls that tumbled 15 feet with a solid roar and a sparkling spray.
I took the usual ton of photos and experimented with slow shutter speeds to give the falls a smooth, snowy appearance.
When we headed back, we easily followed the stream to where I left the daypack and shirt.
I must remember that route and avoid a skinned elbow the next time.
Until then, I’ve banked a few more pleasant memories of the short hike to Sheep Creek Falls.
Contact Don Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org. More of Don’s photos can be found online at www.tripper.smugmug.com