Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Return Trip: Tanalian Falls

Today and yesterday—intermittent clouds and sun. If the wind doesn't blow, and the sun shines, and you can stand exactly under a patch of sunlight, then it might count as warm for five minutes until the wind starts blowing again.

Sunday—amazing weather, sunny and incredibly warm, like a semi-tropical August day. In the 60s, that is.

Doesn't sound warm to you? Trust me, after a week in the low fifties, it was warm. And so, with two others from the lodge crew, I ran for the hills that afternoon.

We had a particular destination in mind, though...Tanalian Falls.

Last year, I made this hike with a group from the lodge, heading up The Fire Break—as it is known locally. As I found then, the Fire Break trail climbs the ridge in giant stair-steps, held in place only by its tree-root reinforcing.

This time, though, the hiking party voted in favor of the Beaver Pond trail. The trail loops more leisurely around the ridge around—what else?—the Beaver Pond.

We were about half-way up before we realized that “pond” could also be applied to the path in places. The park service has very helpfully installed boardwalks in sections of the trail, but such help can be deceptive.

Here, at a narrow corner of the trail known now as Jael’s Diving Board, the close proximity of the boards suggests an easy jump across the puddle to safety, once you edge far enough out on the soft, water-logged tundra.

Unfortunately, the near end of the board is floating in about ten inches of water. (I went the long way around on high ground.)

We didn’t let a few puddles stop us, however. We were head for bigger water—here!

Yes, that is snow you see on the right.

And, yes, it really is spring here.

We saw a number of other flowers on the hike up, and I got a botany lesson on cranberries, crowberries, and tundra, plus a chance sighting of two purple violets. It's still early for most of the flowers, but they're starting to come out.

At the falls, we wandered about for a while, took photos, joked about going wading. I wanted to wade across to the land of greener grass.

Since that didn't work, though, we climbed up the hillside instead, and got even more photos. (Maybe I should go into business as a postcard photographer. Let's see, who could I pester about that?)

Speaking of hillsides—it's easier to climb trees than it is to climb rocks. The trees tend to stay in place, assuming they aren't rotten stumps pretending to be firmly rooted supports. The rocks tend to crumble off in chunks.

Also speaking of hillsides, we came back down the Fire Break. It's easy going downhill, especially when you're headed home for dinner!


Amber S. said...

Wow, what beautiful pictures! Sounds like a wild hike... Glad you made it back safely! :)


Audrey said...

Wild describes a lot of things out here, Amber! Thanks for stopping by.

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