Last Friday, I woke up just stoked to get outside. The fall colors were out in full force, and it was a chilly, bluebird day. As soon as I awoke, I knew exactly where I wanted to go to enjoy it. After breakfast, I loaded up my backpack with my camera, snacks, water, and my guidebook, jumped in the car, and headed east into the mountains.
I wished I could have photographed the fall colors on the drive. The aspens and maples were glowing orange, red, and yellow in the bright sunlight as I wound up the road higher and higher in altitude. When I arrived at Salt Creek Falls, there were only 3 other cars in the parking lot, and one was pulling out. I practically had the whole place to myself.
Last time I was here was in the winter for snowshoeing, and it looked completely different. It was also quite a bit easier to navigate and move around without several feet of snow on the ground and pounding frozen wind funneling through the valley as I’d experienced last year.
With about half a day at my disposal, I took off down the 3 mile loop trail and took my time to enjoy the views.
I only passed a handful of other hikers for the entire 3 hours I spent playing around Salt Creek Falls. It was heaven. I felt the recent chaos of my mind settling down again, as if lulled by the easy pace of my footsteps on the trail. I let my thoughts float by as they wished, and didn’t try to focus on any in particular unless they felt like they wanted to be focused on.
Memories flashed through my mind. Nostalgia. Gratitude. Hopes. Dreams. Fragments of songs. Wishes. Inspiration. And lots of silly, meaningless thoughts. Something about letting your feet follow a trail makes thinking so much easier. I just need to start remembering to bring a notebook with me so I can write some of those thoughts down, because inevitably by the time I get back to the car, I’ve forgotten what it was that was so inspirational or amusing on the trail.
By the time I got back to the car, my legs were tired but I was happy. Whenever I start to feel stagnant, I find that time and time again, finding a new place to explore is the best remedy. Spend time doing something that makes you happy, and appreciate the place that you’re in and the things that make it special. To be honest, Oregon makes it pretty easy. But nonetheless, I remain grateful for this place and constantly in awe that I’m here and that I get to experience it in my lifetime.