Over Labor Day, Jon and I went back to Durango. It was such a wonderful trip; we got to hang out with James, Colleen, and their adorable boys, and we went places that I hadn’t been last time around.
One of those places was Cascade Creek. Last time we were in Durango, we took a short hike down to the last of the falls. It is breathtakingly beautiful. I could have spent all day had the rain held off a little longer. I know I posted a shot of this in my last blog post, but here it is again as a reminder:
Idyllic, right? Can you imagine just sitting there for an afternoon as that gorgeous emerald water gushes through the narrow canyon? I loved it.
So when Jon told me that he, his family, and his friends used to “run Cascade,” I thought, ah, that must be fun, if not a little intimidating. See, I don’t even enjoy the high-dive at the local pool. I still have to work up the nerve to jump off something higher than a few feet from the water. It’s not that I’m afraid of heights necessarily—I just know when something is high enough that I could become fatally injured launching myself off of it. I try to avoid those situations I guess.
He showed me a video on youtube of people jumping off narrow sides of (what I assume is) the granitic slot canyon, and while the video terrified me a bit, I was seduced by the thought of those beautiful falls seen from a different perspective. I agreed we could try it, but in July the water was still too high. However, this time around Jon assessed the water and thought we would be ok.
I didn’t realize how frightening it would be for me until it was too late to go back. Once you’re in it, you really can’t change your mind and walk back out. The current is too fast, the falls too high to climb back over, and the rock walls too steep and too slippery with water to scramble up or over.
So the only way out is down down down.
(Here’s someone else’s journey down, for the curious.)
And down we went. Jon, his brother James, James’ son Jimmy, and I trekked over slick, smooth river rocks and through swift current to jump off several of the falls. The first one didn’t look so bad, I thought. I slid down the rock and into the water, expecting to touch bottom almost immediately, kind of like a kiddie pool. WRONG. I unexpectedly submerged completely, and when I came up for air, the water was so cold and shockingly deep that I had a hard time breathing from the surprise of it all. I could see a rocky refuge ahead, so as I still tried to take a full breath, I swam over and tried to get a grip on myself. I was shaking and couldn’t stop wondering what the hell had I gotten myself into.
I thought the next jump would be better—I knew what to expect now, right? NOPE. On each jump, my body fought me. First, I had to build up the nerve to actually fling myself into the water, not knowing what kind of hard, unforgiving rocks might await me as the current obscured each pool. There were moments when I thought my body would not be able to withstand the rushing current, and that at some point, I would just be carried from pool to pool, knocking against the rock canyon walls, trying to remember the survival skills my white-water obsessed mother had mentioned countless times since I was a young teenager. I thought about the possibility of search and rescue several times, and I even, melodramatically, wondered if I would make it out of there alive at all.
(I know. I know. I’m fine. Don’t worry.)
I don’t remember how many falls we jumped before we made it to (nearly) the end. We could see Colleen and their two youngest boys waiting for us on the rocky shores of the last pool. We were standing high on a ledge overlooking the rest of the falls. They seemed impossibly high, and the current was bound to sweep us over the edge if we attempted those jumps—at least that is what I thought. We stood there for a minute, and I smiled and quietly said to Jon, for the umpteenth time I am sure, that I was going to kill him for this later.
Luckily, even though climbing out is not an option on most parts of the canyon, our little ledge was just right for lifting ourselves up and out. James and Jon did the heavy lifting and helped us two inexperienced, terrified ones up the ledge and through the surrounding brush. We hiked back up to the highway and tried to let our limbs and toes thaw out again on the way home.
Despite quitting midway through, and despite the bruises and the still-very-tender ankle, I think it was a success! In those few jumps, I learned a lot about myself. I realized that even if I am downright terrified inside, I can still hold it together long enough to make it out of a bad spot. I even managed to give Jimmy (James’ and Colleen’s incredibly brave little seven year-old) pep talks and words of encouragement when all we could do was jump even though neither of us wanted to. I managed to stop shaking long enough to give him a hug and tell him it would be ok. I whooped and hollered in celebration when he would take his plunges, all the while wondering what fresh terrors awaited me down the next cascade.
Who knew I had that in me? I sure didn’t. I might be cautious, but it’s good to know I am not a complete coward.
Have I ever mentioned that Jon is from Durango, Colorado? Well, he is, and I don’t think any place in the world will ever be as meaningful to him as his home. Being from Salt Lake City, I can appreciate a longing for mountains and quiet places outside, but not to the extent Jon feels it. In each short narration of some aspect of his hometown, I get the sense that the words he utters cannot possibly fully express how deeply he loves Durango.
And so, we went there in July, and I better understood the beauty at which photographs and stories can only hint. As we drove through the small, winding streets of the little mountain town one day, Jon said he always dreamed of getting out of Durango when he was younger. Now, he dreams of getting back.
Jon’s brother and sister-in-law, James and Colleen, let us stay with them for a full ten days. We’re going back again, soon, so I figured it was high time to post my photos from our first trip to make room for the next round. I know photos won’t do Durango justice, but I hope I can offer some small glimpse of the fun we had.
Jon and I went to Seattle months ago, and I’m only really getting around to posting about it now—in part because I have yet to develop all of the photos. See what I mean about using my cameras less?
I am so happy Jon was able to spend some good, quality time with my brother and his sweet family. My family is so small and some so distant (physically, that is) that our family dynamic is a little harder to maintain I think. Plus, I love and admire my brother, Noah, my sister-in-law, Laura, and their two kids, Eli and Mira, so much that I was brimming with excitement that Jon would be able to get to know them like I do. Not to mention it was really good to see them myself! I hadn’t seen them in two years, and my, how those kids have grown.
We packed in a lot while we were there. I was going to go through each series of photos from my phone, but then I realized it might be easier to let the photos tell the stories themselves.
I know, I too am questioning my sanity in writing a Christmas-themed post two months after the fact. Mostly, I just wanted to share some of my favorite photos from Jon’s and my fast trip to St. George to visit his parents and spend time with his lovely family over the holidays. His family has welcomed me in with open arms and warm hearts, and I just can’t express how utterly wonderful they are, and how thankful I am to have them in my life.
My mom, Jon, and I had a lovely Christmas celebration too, but I failed to whip out the camera (I chalk it up to exhaustion from moving just a couple weeks before Christmas. Why do I always choose winter to move?). We had a great time—a calm, relaxing brunch followed by some presents and some football. I guess if I made New Year’s resolutions this year is to take more pictures of times like those because already, the details are hazy. I do remember receiving snowshoes from my mom, and we’ve already put them to good use with a hike up to Dog Lake via Mill D in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Thanks, Mom!
I kind of glossed over that bit about moving up there. It’s official! Jon and I moved in together in December. We have both loved this new adventure so far, and we’re excited to spend our lives together. The next thing on our list? Move to Oregon in about a year. Yes, Oregon! More details on that as we get closer to the big move.
The weather this summer has been oppressively, unrelentingly hot. Daily 90s and 100s for the high temperatures and overnight lows consistently in the mid-70s has made for some scorching times. Even so, I still wear sweaters to work every day (OK,full disclosure: this is partly because the air conditioning in the office is set to sub-zero). And in that same spirit, I’ve been knitting, which, sure, seems odd in this heat, but we’ve had rain storms—that dump actual rain instead of just starting wild fires all across the state—and it has put me in more of a stay-inside-with-some-tea-yarn-and-needles mood.
It started with this hat. I made it for my boyfriend’s baby niece, thinking it might fit her by the time winter rolled around (if it ever does with these temperatures. GLOBAL WARMING IS REAL, Y’ALL). When we tried it on her the other day, it was already a little snug. Maybe I’ll have to make another, bigger one?
Ah, crochet. I knit much more than crochet now, but I find granny squares just gorgeous, and one day I will actually pull the trigger and make a blanket. For now, I just toy around with patterns, trying to decide if I can commit myself to such a task.
And lastly, my frumpy cell phone cozy. I saw this lovely, elegant pattern and knew I wanted to make one of my own, but her pattern is for the iPhone, and I have a (brand spankin’ new) Samsung Galaxy S4. Instead of buying the pattern, I looked at the pictures, figured it didn’t look too hard, and tried my hand at it. As you can see, I underestimated the original pattern, so mine has its strong and weak points, er, you could say. Next time, I’d knit it in the round, make it a little longer so it fully covers the phone, make it a little more snug on the sides, and I also need to learn a little more about attaching cords to fabric. You can’t tell in this photo, but it’s a bit messy on the back side. But it’ll do for now.
Since moving out, I almost wanted to title this “Weekends with Hilde” but then I thought of that book Tuesdays with Morrie and decided better of it.
Turns out my favorite pooch has a kidney infection this week, but thankfully she’s already on the mend. For now, let’s reminisce about the better times. These were taken in Neff’s canyon last month. Problem is, photos don’t do her happy-go-lucky demeanor justice, so you’ll just have to use your imagination.