I have come to realise that time spent with my eldest daughter, 26yo Melissa, is never predictable! In fact, we seem to end up having the most amazing experiences together when we originally set out to do something mundane. I think we bring out the spontaneity that lingers just below the surface in both our souls and we live in the moment. Often, our dog Molly gets swept along for the ride!
On Monday, it began as a simple outing: to the local beach to take some final photos of Flat Stanley before stopping at the post office to mail him back to Arizona. Melissa tagged along with me so I could manage Stanley, Molly and the camera, without one of them ending up in the sea! Melissa was also looking for a particular stick to create a wand for an upcoming event, so combing for driftwood, we strolled away half an hour or so quite sensibly.
It was when we were back in the car and I suggested we could stop by a local creek, that mischief took over!
I grew up within walking distance of Sweetwater Creek, however back in the 70s, there wasn't a lot of sweetness about it! In fact, it was a weed-infested no-go zone that our mothers didn't even need to warn us to avoid! In the decades since, it has been nurtured with walking paths, bridges and such, but sadly the volunteer Friends have not been able to win the weed battle. However, not all weeds are ugly and it is spring, so our walk along the tracks was quite pretty and Molly enjoyed the abundant birdlife.
I had never seen the tiny waterfall there, nor the area of rock at the water's edge called the Granites. It was all quite magical, if you overlooked the mosquitoes. Flat Stanley had a wonderful time and Molly enjoyed most of it.
It was when we went up a path that wasn't that the adventure began! Melissa insisted we were following the designated track, but we had our doubts as it narrowed and then took a sharp descent. Up for the challennge (and still thinking we were on the proper path) we scrambled down, convincing Molly that she could jump over the exposed tree root and on we went. The path became less and less convincing as we went down further and we soon realised we were hiking down the gully to the waterfall! But clambering back up the hillside didn't seem very appealing either!
Our path came to a halt right alongside the top of the waterfall - and then continued upwards on the other side. We looked back up the way we had come and looked up toward the way we could go, and neither were very appealing. However, there we were with poor Flat Stanley (becoming Slightly Bent Stanley) a slightly bemused Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, my DSLR camera and us! And our phones left in the car!
(You can just see the "path" where it meets the upper creek)
I passed Stanley to Melissa, grabbed the dog under one arm, thanked the goddess I was wearing my Crocs and stepped cautiously onto the exposed rock in front of the downward flow. Thinking I would at least have an interesting reason for explaining the plaster cast at my other daughter's upcoming wedding (!), I made it across and faced the sandy track up the hillside.
Melissa was watching me (waiting to see if I survived?) so I released the dog, pointed her in the right direction and gave her a confident "UP!" command (normally reserved for stairs at the beach!). She looked back at me as if I was mad, but with a bit of a shove she scrambled up to to the path and I held onto the lead, hoping she would help pull me up too! We made it and Melissa followed across behind us, both of us laughing hysterically at the madness of it all.
We made our way back to the car and just made the post office in time. Still shaking in his paper boots, Flat Stanlety was hastily stuffed into an envelope with all his treasures and was soon on his way!
Never a dull moment with us!