Rodney Falls & the Pool of the Winds

Mondays are normally used for diving into the work week, figuring out what needs to get done for the week ahead, but not this Monday; this Monday we decided to go hiking.

We didn’t exactly have everything organized and truth be told things were kind of scattered, mostly because of our recent photo equipment purchases (so much to learn, so little time). We recently came back from Vegas where we were attending a WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photography Internation) Conference (hence our recent buying spree), then once we got home I had to go straight to work on The Gorge Business News for the March/April 2020 issue…and then….I got sick and mostly laid in bed or on the couch for about four days. By Saturday the paper was back from the printer and Rick was out delivering and I felt like I’d just been given a new lease on life. My illness had subsided and I was full of energy, so I cleaned our place from top to bottom…beds, bathrooms, kitchen and floors…you name it, I cleaned it. Of course the dreaded Coronavirus is rearing its ugly head here in Washington and the world, so I even added wiping down each and every door knob and handle with Lysol.

Sunday was spent at church, then lunch with friends, some more paper deliveries and then some time at McMenamins Edgefield where we spent a couple hours wandering the grounds and taking photos. I found some strangers that happily allowed me to take their picture. AJ and Fay who seemed very in love, and then a family of five, the grandmother Dee, the daughter Melissa and her husband Brian along with their two kids. Beautiful and fun family

So today, Monday, when a hike was suggested I had a little bit of a hard time wrapping my head around it. It was Monday after all and I was feeling a little like I’d just been off work for practically two weeks with Vegas and then being sick, not to mention we plan on leaving for Oklahoma on Friday for a week and then I’m going to spend time with my kids for several days.

Work…who needs to work? Even Wall Street shut down today with the Dow having its biggest drop in US History at 2013.76 points!!! We needed the fresh air in our lungs and nature surrounding us! Vegas was more than a week ago, but the stagnant air that clung to everything we had with us was still clinging to the inside of our lungs, we were sure of it. A hike would do us good and get us ready for the next several days of work before we take to the skies once again to visit friends and family in good old Oklahoma!

Our three primary goals for life are Travel, Write and Take Photos. We accomplish these goals constantly. We’ve decided we need to add a fourth goal and that would be to make some money while we are doing the first three. We’ll keep working on that one.

Back to today’s hike. We each have a new Cotton Carrier for our cameras. Rick’s is strapped across his back and fits on his chest, the camera attaches at the center of his chest. My Cotton Carrier is strapped to the left side of my chest. It was our first time using these and we both absolutely loved them. It was completely comfortable to me and I even hung my water jug from one of the straps until Rick offered to pack it for me, since I’d been feeling under the weather lately. He was trying to lighten my load as much as possible.

We jumped in the Edge and headed toward the trailhead. The drive there went by so quickly. It seemed like it took about ten minutes, but in reality it was probably about six minutes. Yes, we live that close to not only the Hamilton Mountain Trailhead, but also Beacon Rock, Strawberry Island and even the Pacific Crest Trail, each and every one of them are just a few minutes from our home.

The Hamilton Mountain Trailhead parking lot was almost completely full when we arrived. Here it was a Monday and the lot was full. We definitely would not be alone on the trail today. Spring is in the air for sure.

We strapped on our new Cotton Carriers, grabbed our hiking poles, which we don’t always take, but we’ve hiked Hamilton Mountain before, so we know it is not the easiest hike out there. We clicked our water tanks onto a strap on our carriers and we were off.

The trail is steep for at least the first half mile. I rested often, trying not to overdo it since I was just getting over being sick. My lungs were screaming at me often to just turn around, go home and take a nap, but I knew they needed to get all the left over gunky Vegas air out of them, so I kept trudging along. Rick was patient the entire way. I knew he would have rather walked faster, but he was a good sport about my frequent rests along the side of the trail.

In between my resting we trudged on.

I knew that once we reached the power lines there was a bench we could sit down at and look out over the gorge below us, the town of North Bonneville, the Bonneville Dam and all of the surrounding tree-covered hills. I could see the junction where the trail split, the bench was just a moment away now. We’d have our snack and rest up before the next phase of the journey that would lead us to the Rodney Falls and the Pool of the Wind. But then, from seemingly out of nowhere appeared a lone hiker. I knew in an instant the bench, my bench, the bench I would sit down and rest at, get a drink of water at, eat a cookie at, was not my bench at all, it was his.

We trudged on.

We met a man, Abram, who was hiking with his little boy and his little girl. We all stopped and chatted about the hike and before long his wife Tamesha and their son Jay came walking around the corner to join us. Of course I asked if I could take their picture and then we ended up talking about getting together for a family photo session in the future.

We all said our good-byes and then we trudged on.

Rodney Falls and the Pool of the winds were flowing much harder than the first time we saw them last year. We spent some time exploring the area and taking pictures before deciding to go a little farther up the trail so we could at least say we covered some new territory. The view turned out to be amazing and we were glad we kept going even though this turned out to be the most treacherous part of our whole trip. Steps cut into the side of the mountain were inches deep in slippery, slimy mud. I was really glad I had my walking stick, especially on the way back down through this area that threatened to take our feet out from under us, but we managed to stay upright the entire trek.

We talked about running into Washougal to take some photos before the light of day was gone, so with that motivation we headed back down the mountain side.

This time when we arrived at my bench, it actually become my bench. We sat for a short time then headed down the mountain once again. In no time at all we arrived at the Edge, lungs cleaner, mood lighter, legs stronger I’m sure of it and the thought of doing the same hike at least once a week. I remember we talked about doing the same thing last time we made this hike… a year ago….we’ll see if we can do a little better on this commitment this time around.