September 19, 2020
by Tianna Espe, College English 12, Mrs. Didrikson
The sun has yet to awaken as we prepared for the day ahead of us. Mindlessly tugging on clothes we laid out the night before, we got our essentials packed and headed downstairs. My father had taken my sisters and I to Colorado for this year's summer trip and we had a full day ahead of us, so we had to get an early start. For breakfast we had whatever we had bought from the grocery store the previous day, some combination of cereal and fruit. Our quest for the day was finding a waterfall towards the top of a mountain. By the end of the week we will have hopefully captured the astonishing views of Colorado. I was ready to be completely in awe of this whole new world a few states away.
Once we were all packed into the car with an abundance of water bottles and snacks, including granola bars and beef jerky to keep our energy up, we were off. We made sure we would not get dehydrated or tired during our long trek. From the back seat my sisters and I yell for some jams to be put on. A road trip was no road trip if there were no singing parties in the vehicle every so often. As my dad did his best to focus on the road and pay attention to the GPS, my sisters and I were in the back singing our hearts out to "What Makes You Beautiful" by One Direction. Of course, dad would yell at us to settle down so that he could hear the GPS and figure out where he was going, but he could always find his way so we were not too worried about distracting him.
After a few singing parties, we had made it onto the mountain. As we drove up the mountain our singing instantly stopped. We were all distracted by the view, with our eyes locked out the window. I was desperately trying to take in every detail of the landscape: ascending mountains, assortments of dark green trees, narrow waterways flowing below, and the bulges of gigantic rocks. There was so much to see and I hurriedly took out my phone to permanently capture the beauty. The pictures did not do the scenery justice, but they remind me of how breathtaking it all was.
I lost track of how long we had been driving. Our dad kept giving us challenges, whoever saw the first elk would get $10 or the first person to see a bobcat would get $20. It was extremely difficult to get bored with the view we had. When we were almost at the peak, we parked the car and got ready to hike through trails to get to the waterfall. It got overwhelming trying to appreciate the view, watch where I was going, and take pictures at the same time. We also saw very peculiar things. In the middle of the trail there stood an old, rusted over blue Jeep Cherokee. With further inspection we noticed that it was absolutely trashed. The side window was broken and the inside looked like it was from a clip of Hoarding: Buried Alive. There were random items stacked to the roof and I saw a few boxes of Cheerios, an obvious essential.
Moving on from that uncanny vehicle we resumed our walk to the waterfall. It was quite an adventure. Many times we found ourselves having to create new paths through the tough terrain or slide down the gravelly sides of small cliffs to reach our destination. It was definitely strenuous work for me, meaning it took a lot more work out of my father. He decided he did not need to see the waterfall and that it would be best if he took his time through some less challenging trails. We were hesitant to leave him alone, but he encouraged us to keep going. I was sad that he would not be able to see the view, but he assured us that he would be fine walking through other trails by himself. We left him with some beef jerky and a water bottle and carried on. The sun was starting to set but we heard the sound of rushing water which gave us a boost of energy. Like explorers conquesting new land, we eagerly parted through the tree branches and tall grass. We had reached the river and we knew the waterfall had to be ahead.
We took a pit stop when we found a bush of fresh raspberries. It was nice to be engulfed by the woods, watching life go on for the creatures that call this place their home. It was peaceful yet chaotic at the same time. Birds were chirping, squirrels were climbing, and the wind was howling. It felt clean, like we were one with nature. Once we regained composure, we continued on and followed the flow of the river, hopping over logs excitingly. It was like we were in a movie that was right about to reach its climax. The echoing of the river got louder and anticipation was building in each of us, we had no idea what to expect.
Finally, there was an opening in the bushes. We had reached the edge of the mountain, one step further would literally be our last. There was a straight drop off where the river became a waterfall. The open blue skies looked never ending and the land below went on for miles. We were near the top of the mountain, but not too high where trees stopped sprouting. The wind was swirling like crazy, almost daring us to take another step. As we took mental and physical pictures of the sight before us, we looked to the left of the waterfall to find a look out hidden in the crevice of the mountainside. Tiffany decided to test it out first and slowly scaled her way to the look out. It consisted of a walkway and a railing that was only supported by wooden beams as far as we could tell. Tiffany shook the railings to make sure it was secure and gave us the go ahead. One by one we slowly inched our way to the look out. It was about three feet wide and five feet long, but once we looked up we were not worried about its size. The look out gave us an even bigger image to try and apprehend. We had a front view of the waterfall and we could see everything below. I would have been scared that I was going to plummet to my death but my mind was preoccupied, analyzing every feature around me.
We tried our best, but there was no way we could express what our eyes were seeing through our phones. My dad was truly missing a once-in-a-lifetime view, but he did not need to know that. Seeing a view this remarkable made me feel like I was on top of the world, given the fact that I was almost on top of a mountain. It took my breath away. Nature has a way of being indescribably alluring. It made me think about how all of this was created and every other worrying thought flew from my mind.
Once our bodies were overflowing with awe, we silently started back on the trail we came on. We were all processing what we just saw, with no idea how to put it into words. I started to go over what was truly important to me in life and think about what I wanted in the future. This is what intrigues me about the outdoors. It always leaves me feeling filled and speechless; there is no hole that needs to be filled by social media or any type of distraction. I am left complete, with a new found appreciation of life. By now shadows began to fall, so we briskly made our way back to the main path. When we were all together again, we realized how hungry we truly were. The sight- seeing took away every feeling but wonder.
We made our way back to the car and slowly descended down the mountain. I thought back on everything we did that day and pulled out my phone to see if any of my pictures showed the detailed scenery. Nothing looks the same on a screen, but I realized I will always have my memories to look back on. We had a fulfilling day and I was ready for what tomorrow would bring. I was ready for more breathtaking moments and unfathomable views. This was going to be the best week of my life. I knew we took advantage of every minute of daylight we had, and succeeded in our first quest to find a waterfall. We were one step closer to capturing as much of Colorado as we possibly could.