Categories
Diary

Beautiful weather, beautiful day

budding daffodil, Gibbs Gardens

Today was lovely :) I got up around 8, poked around online until 9, then headed out for a day of photographing spring blossoms.

First, after gassing up at Costco and picking up a Bacon Egg n’ Cheese Biscuit, I made the drive up to Ball Ground to visit Gibbs Gardens. Normally I go early and arrive right when the gardens open; since I was late today, I had to park in the secondary lot and walk back to the entrance. On the way, a lady approached and asked me if I’d been there before. She was new to the gardens, so I told her as much useful information as I could—including that I think the best time to visit is the middle of summer, when the crape myrtles are in bloom. Spring is pretty in a subtle way; summer is ostentatiously gorgeous.

The daffodils were out in full force throughout both of the main gardens, as well as in their own special woodland fields. I went through the Japanese Garden, spotting a cherry tree and a plum tree, then hiked up to the Manor House, where I saw that the distant mountains were clearly visible against the bright blue sky, and two ladies asked me to take their picture in front of the house. Finally I strolled into the forest of daffodils, and it was incredible. Last year when I saw them, it was sort of early, so there weren’t nearly as many. Today, they were neverending.

daffodils at Gibbs Gardens

The gardens were packed with people. As I was leaving, there was a line not only at the cafe and the restrooms but even just to get in the door! It was lunchtime, so I ate a CLIF bar in the car, then drove to downtown Ball Ground to get pictures of the flowering trees I’d seen on the drive in. There was a lot of traffic, and plenty of people were milling about near the Cajun restaurant and the German butcher shop, but I couldn’t tell if something special was going on, or if they were all just enjoying the beautiful weather.

flowering tree in downtown Ball Ground

I decided I wasn’t quite done taking photos, so instead of going home, I went to Midtown and the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Parking was a little nuts, but I found a spot in the lower levels of the garage. On my way out of the parking structure, two men approached, and one of them asked hesitantly, “Excuse me, do you know where the botanical gardens are?” It is sort of confusing when you’re leaving that garage. “Yes,” I said. “It’s this way.” And I gestured the way I was going. The men thanked me and strode off ahead.

Like Gibbs Gardens, the Botanical Garden was filled to bursting with people. There was a bonsai exhibit set up at the entrance, and daffodils and tulips were everywhere.

me and many tulips

 

I had made it through the Edible Garden, the Fuqua Orchid Center, and the Conservation Garden and was trying to take a photo of a pretty white flower near the Great Lawn when my camera decided to stop working. It’s a known issue with Nikons; apparently I will have to take it apart to fix it. This put a huge damper on my mood, as I felt I had just barely gotten started. Annoyed, I took a few more photos with my phone, then made for the parking garage. I ended up not seeing the Japanese Garden at all.

As I reached the parking garage, I realized I was hungry, so I decided to walk over to Park Tavern at the other end of Piedmont Park. It would be nice, I thought; the restaurant had always been quiet and empty the other times I’d gone there, and I could take the opportunity to rest and catch up on Tumblr. So I strolled past the pond toward the other side of the park, stopping for a skyline shot.

Atlanta skyline as seen from Piedmont Park over a pond

Unfortunately for me, Park Tavern was not quiet and empty today. Every table was either reserved or filled with people. The outdoor section looked to have been expanded and it was still overflowing. I don’t know if I had just never been there at that particular time of day, or if something was going on—maybe everyone was watching NCAA basketball. Regardless, I left disappointed and hungry.

On the way back, a young couple asked me to take their picture in front of the pond and skyline. After that, I stopped to rest on a park bench alongside the pond. I read Tumblr and took a couple pictures with my phone until I was ready to walk again. I felt pretty good when I finally made my way back to my car.

On the drive back out of town, I passed my exit again, this time so I could pick up some Zaxby’s for dinner. Then, at last, I went home. I ate my dinner and surfed the web and took a nice, long bath. And now here I am recounting it all to you.

So yeah, it was a nice day. I’m glad I got to get out in the sun and see some pretty flowers. :)

Categories
Diary Travel

Jaunt to Little River Falls

Yesterday I went on a desperately needed photo adventure to Little River Falls in Gaylesville, Alabama. This was one of my spontaneous adventures–the decision to go and the actual going occurred pretty close to one another.

I had never heard of Little River Falls before the previous night, when I saw a picture of the falls posted to one of my Facebook groups. It was late in the evening and I was winding down for bed, but the picture was beautiful, surging water cascading over jutting rock. I pulled up a Google map of the location, noting that it was less than two hours away. Then I pulled up the National Park Service’s Little River Canyon page, poking around to see what the park was like and where parking was in relation to the falls. I went to bed happy to have found a new place to explore someday.

When I got up yesterday morning, feeling rested and excited and ready to do something, I knew I would be going to Little River Falls that day. I started the second load of laundry first, because I am a responsible adult! And in the meantime I read social media and had my protein shake and packed myself a lunch. Almost as soon as the laundry was in the dryer (whites, so no worry over wrinkles), I grabbed my camera bag, water bottle, and lunch, and headed up to my car.

The drive was quite pleasant. I truly enjoy driving, especially when I’m going someplace new. The route began with I-75 north, then branched off to the west on GA-140, north on GA-1, west on GA-48. I passed through downtown Summerville, Georgia, and it felt like the little town, if not dying, was barely pushing on. I passed closed businesses and abandoned storefronts and a few places that were still open, but not on a Sunday. I took a wrong turn up US-27 and discovered an ancient Hardee’s, and I stopped for a few pictures after that.

Then I was through and back in the countryside. In tiny Menio, Georgia, I turned left on Jamestown Road and then crossed the border into Alabama. It wasn’t long before I reached AL-35 and the parking area at Little River Falls.

Falls parking is free. The lot is pretty big, and there are two large, glorified porta-potties, one for women and one for men. There are two ways from the parking lot down to the falls viewing area: a series of beautiful stone steps, and a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk. At the entrance to these paths, signage offers warnings about the rushing water, which you can already hear, if not see through the trees.

After documenting the parking lot and entrance with my camera, I set off down the steps. The falls came into view as I emerged from the trees onto a lovely riverwalk.

They were absolutely gorgeous.

Little River’s water level is not artificially managed, so the flow is entirely dependent on rainfall. The website indicated that winter and early spring are the best times to see the full effect, and I was not disappointed. Water surged, white and misting, down and around craggy shelves of rock. There were three main sections of waterfall: the largest, furthest from me; a comparatively slim and pleasingly symmetrical curtain of water in the middle; and another large section, surging just beyond the riverwalk.

The falls lie just down the river from AL-35, which passes as a bridge high overhead. The bridge is off to the right of the viewing area, offering a grounding backdrop for wider shots. I took my fill of photos, a variety of compositions from a variety of angles, and then I strolled along the riverwalk for a few shots of Little River.

When I got to the point where the riverwalk curved back up toward the parking lot, I discovered a dirt path leading off into the woods, labeled “Martha’s Fall Trail.” My plan had been to see the falls and perhaps to drive the scenic AL-176 route I’d read about online. But the woods and river were so inviting, and I was full of energy. I set off down the trail, feet cushioned by powdery dirt, dead leaves soft and oddly silent beneath my sneakers.

The path curved toward the river and became rocky. It was also high, weaving along a cliffside that often dramatically dropped off above woods and water. The precipitous nature of the trail was difficult to capture in photographs.

There were lichens and moss and pine needles everywhere. There were odd ground coverings I’d never seen before, miniature vines with bright red berries. It had rained recently, but much of the dirt had dried. I found spots where rivulets of water slipped in calming gurgles through the woods, across the stone, and down the cliffside. At one such spot, I climbed down a rock formation nearby to get a better view of the water, and I discovered a cave set into the cliff. Others had obviously found the cave as well; a fast food drink cup lay abandoned on the slick rock.

I did not enter the cave. Instead, I clambered up the rocks again and set back out on the trail. It guided me away from the cliff’s edge, and almost immediately I was in a lush grove, slim pines arcing overhead and small, bushy, pine-like grasses covering the ground like carpet. All was still save the rush of rapids and waterfall, unseen. In the hush, I felt like an intruder.

I emerged onto another rocky cliffside trail and stopped to gather my thoughts. Stepping back to write down what I’d seen, I nearly brushed up against a tree. It was covered in lichen, like gold leaf in the process of being applied.

Shortly I stumbled upon another grove, the pine-like carpet so thick my feet sank in by half a foot. Here and there the ground was spotted with mounds of pale green, tiny tendrils forming miniature explosions that came together in large, airy poofs.

I heard rustling and froze. Motionless, I squinted through the trees to try and find the source. Movement alone eventually revealed birds, tripping along through leaves screened from me by tree branches. I felt completely isolated from the world of people. My heavy footsteps, the beep and click of my camera were intrusions upon this natural, holy place.

I moved to try and find the real trail again, to make no more mark upon the sanctity of this breathless place, and it was then I came across the remains of a campfire. Then I sighted a hiker, not 20 feet away, on what was apparently the trail. I was not alone, but I felt that I was–a different alone than I’d felt not five minutes prior.

I sat on a rock overlooking the river and ate the last bits of a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit. A red kayak slipped suddenly through the rapids; I was not fast enough to take a picture. I finished eating, stood, and realized my pants were wet and covered in damp pine needles.

Back on the main trail, I encountered more and more hikers. A family of four scrambled past me over the rocks; one of the children gushed, “It looks like a fairy garden!” and I knew exactly what she’d seen.

I was on my way back to my car, because I was satisfied and because my ankles were starting to tire, when I came to a roughly level area of dirt. Stepping through a deceptively dry-looking patch near a spot where a stream of water trickled over the cliffside, my right leg suddenly slid laterally out from under me, off to the left, sending me down on my hip and the side of my knee. I cursed, but I hadn’t been hurt, thankfully. I struggled to my feet and examined my mud-smeared jeans in dismay. They had just been washed the day before. Ah well.

Rather than return to the boardwalk, I hiked straight up and out of the forest to the parking lot. This path led me past the main entrance again, where a man and a woman were now standing. I didn’t really look at them as I stopped and stuffed a $10 bill into the donation slot, but all of a sudden they were saying “Thank you!” and I glanced over and realized they were rangers. “Oh, you’re welcome!” I said, and smiled.

I was ready to get back in my car at that point–I laid my hoodie in the seat to avoid getting mud from my pants on the upholstery–when I realized there was a river access trail just beyond the parking lot to the other side of where I’d been. Why not? I grabbed my camera bag again, locked up the car, and headed down.

This was an excellent decision, because the river access trail offers a beautifully close view of the water. I stayed three car lengths away, as the signage warned, and snapped plenty of photos. Then I hiked back up the side of the cliff rather than taking the trail, because I’m a rebel that way.

A paved path led off from the river access entrance to the AL-35 bridge. I strolled that way, crossing the bridge on a pedestrian path separated from the roadway by a guardrail. This high vantage point offered a breathtaking view of the width of the river and the charging mist of the largest waterfall as it surged over the edge. There was a staircase leading down to the river on the other side, but as the bridge sits upstream from the waterfall, I wasn’t sure there would be anything to see down there, so I didn’t go look. Instead, I finally headed back to my car. I dug into my packed lunch and ate a cup of blueberry yogurt, and then I pulled out of the parking lot to take the scenic drive.

In a lucky coincidence, I ended up accidentally taking AL-35 instead of AL-176. This was lucky because I soon came upon a gas station–my low fuel indicator light had just come on.

The gas pumps were ancient; the boxy units had analog indicators that rolled over to keep track of how much had been fueled. Of course there was no place to swipe a credit card; I went inside to prepay. With gas prices so low, I decided to spend $15, and this almost completely filled my tank. “You have to stop the pump,” the lady at the counter had said. “We don’t have a way to stop it.” So I stopped it at exactly $15.

I quickly found my way to AL-176–the turnoff was across the road from the entrance to the Little River Canyon Center. The road runs along the river on the opposite side from the falls parking area. I pulled off to get a picture of the sign and to start eating my bologna sandwich. Then I tooled down the slim, winding road, stopping at every scenic overlook for photos. Only the first stop, the Little River Falls Overlook/Boardwalk, had a view of the falls. The rest offered stunning cliff and river vistas. At one point I passed a series of huge rock formations, two of which sat in the middle of the road like a median. On my way back, I stopped and explored the outcroppings of stone. They were like a secret world, a maze of rock jutting out in weather-rounded overhangs. Here and there, some moron had written his or her name in permanent marker.

To finish up my excursion, I pulled off AL-176 shortly before it came out on AL-35 and hiked down to see if I could get a close view of the falls from this bank. I could see the falls, but there were too many trees to get a clear shot. I climbed back up the cliff and settled into my car. Even without this opposite bank view, I was completely satisfied. Little River Canyon is beautiful, and I had seen so much.

I decided to try and drive back without using GPS. I made it all the way through Summerville just fine, but then I missed the turn off GA-1 to GA-140 and ended up in Rome. From there I found my way to US-411, US-41, and then I-75, all without using GPS directions or even looking at a map. I was pretty pleased with myself (and with road signage in Georgia).

I’m really glad I took this little jaunt to Alabama. It was exactly what I needed after being cooped up indoors for so long. I’m refreshed and happy and ready for the week.

Categories
Diary Photography

A glorious day in Midtown

Midtown skyscrapers

In my post about second homes, I mentioned that I hadn’t quite made that special connection with Atlanta yet. This past Tuesday, I realized that’s not exactly true. I do have strong feelings…for parts of Atlanta.

It only makes sense. Atlanta is huge. The sprawl just keeps going and going. Much of the city is strings and clusters of strip malls, businesses, and homes that are only accessible by car. Of course I wouldn’t find that homey, walkable, or natural.

But there are places where I can stroll around happily for hours and find plenty to do and see. As I rediscovered Tuesday, one of those places is Midtown.

Midtown skyscrapers

My friend and former coworker Stephanie just moved back to the Atlanta area–we met in Augusta, but she grew up here. We’ve been trying to get together and do something for awhile, and finally this week things came together. She and her baby Landon, who is just about to start walking but for this day spent most of the time in his stroller, met up with me at the High Museum of Art.

High Museum of Art with signage for Frida and Diego exhibit

Stephanie hadn’t been there since she was in school; as for me, the last time I’d visited was for the Picasso to Warhol exhibit a year ago. I acquired a photography permit (something I don’t recall them doing last year) and signed a statement agreeing not to post my photos online (alas), then we got to exploring.

We started in the Stent Family Wing, heading up the ramp to see European Art from the 14th to 19th centuries and American Art from the 18th to mid-19th centuries. We took a short break so Stephanie could feed Landon; I was impressed with how organized and thoughtful a mom she is. After a quick diaper change, we were able to take in the first part of the visiting Frida & Diego exhibit before Landon became too fussy to continue. All the while, Stephanie and I chatted about the art, and travel, and cutie Landon, and it was a lot of fun!

I wasn’t quite ready to leave yet, so after walking Stephanie and Landon down to the lobby, I headed back up to finish out Frida & Diego. I hadn’t heard of Frida Kahlo or Diego Rivera before this exhibit came to town, so it was an eye-opening experience. They both had such fascinating lives, their relationship with each other a pivotal point. One of Frida’s paintings in particular, “The Broken Column,” so strongly resonated that I had to fight burning tears. Frida suffered crushing injuries in an accident when she was 18. Her spine was broken in multiple places and her uterus was impaled. These injuries left her in a lifetime of pain and unable to carry a pregnancy to term. She died young, at 47. “The Broken Column” is a self-portrait. Frida gazes at the viewer, standing tall despite the exposed, fractured column that represents her spine, her body riddled with nails, her face streaked with tears.

All of the Frida & Diego exhibit is amazing and informative; I highly recommend checking it out before it leaves Atlanta in May.

After Frida & Diego I went up to the Skyway Level to see Gogo: Nature Transformed, a temporary exhibit of jewelry based on designs found in nature. Much of it was cast from molds of animal bones, and I didn’t really care for it. After that I wandered through the Modern Art exhibits, which were far more to my liking. I especially enjoyed the furniture designs; the High has pieces from Frank Lloyd Wright (instantly recognizable) and pieces that were sold by Herman Miller in the mid to late 20th century. One thing I also appreciated about the Modern Art exhibits, and the others that incorporate furniture or sculpture, is the way the museum has arranged all the pieces. Designing an exhibit is an art unto itself.

After Modern Art I skipped Folk Art and went straight to Contemporary Art. I remembered many of the pieces–Anish Kapoor’s untitled reflective dish, for one–but new items had appeared as well, and other exhibits and pieces that were on display last year are now gone. Then I went down to the Third Level and looked at American furniture, paintings, and sculpture from the 19th and 20th centuries. Items I found especially fascinating were an ornate cabinet, an intricate piano built for its looks rather than its sound, a group of face jugs from Edgefield, South Carolina, and two separate still life paintings featuring dead fish.

Finally I went down to the Lower Level, where I strolled through the Works on Paper exhibit and the African Collection. I found myself drawn to three paintings by Will Henry Stevens in Works on Paper and a display case filled with intricately detailed metal curios in the African Collection. And with that, my wonderful five and a half hours at the High were concluded.

High Museum of Art

At that point I was pretty hungry, so I decided to try and find food. I’d had a protein bar at around noon, but it was now 4:30. At first I thought I’d just go to the restaurant next to the High, but nothing on their menu sounded appealing, so I got on Yelp! to see what was available in the area. Unfortunately, the Midtown branch of South City Kitchen wasn’t open yet. I tried to go to a place called Article 14, but I couldn’t find it. (I ended up passing it later in the evening on a completely different street from where I’d been looking, but in my defense, the streets are both called Peachtree.) Eventually I decided to just keep walking around and eat whenever I found a restaurant that looked good. It took about 45 minutes, but I finally came across a pizza place called Vespucci’s, so I stopped there and had a delicious pepperoni calzone.

Pepperoni calzone from Vespucci's

Thus recharged, I decided there was still enough daylight to warrant going to Piedmont Park, so I headed off down the other Peachtree Street and then up 14th Street, all the while taking photos of beautiful Midtown. I got to the park at around 6:30 and spent about 45 minutes strolling through it, circling the pond and snapping photos of flowering trees and shimmering water. It was pretty out, though it was starting to get cold; I kept my hands in my pockets as much as possible.

Flowering tree at Piedmont Park

Flowering tree at Piedmont Park

Midtown skyline as seen from across the pond at Piedmont Park

Detail of a flower on a tree at Piedmont Park

Pavilion on the pond at Piedmont Park

Visitors Center at Piedmont Park

I took more Midtown shots on my way back to the car. The setting sun made for some nice light.

Reflected skyscraper bathed in a wedge of sunset light

Sunset light washing over 14th Street

I was headed off for home before darkness had a chance to settle in, thanks to Daylight Saving Time. (I may be the only person who likes DST.) As I found my way back to I-75, the dwindling sunset painted Midtown pink.

Pink-hued Midtown skyscrapers

I’d had an awesome day, but somehow I didn’t want to go home yet. I called Sean to see if he wanted to go out to dinner, but he didn’t, so instead of going to the apartment, I drove to our local movie theater to see if they had anything interesting. At the time, my mood was swinging toward either Emperor or A Good Day To Die Hard, but neither was playing at that location. Oz the Great and Powerful was available, but I’d read a review that had somewhat soured me on seeing it…so I went back to my car and pulled up Yelp! again, deciding to just go ahead and have dinner. A search for nearby restaurants revealed a Thai/Malaysian place in an adjacent shopping center. Given my love affair with Penang, that sounded like a plan to me, so I hopped out onto Cobb Parkway and then right off again, heading straight back to Top Spice.

The ambiance wasn’t quite as cozy as Penang’s, at least not in the entryway. I felt rather like I was on stage, as all the tables were raised above the level of the front door and there was no half wall or anything to provide a feeling of privacy. Once I was snug in my booth, though, I was quite comfortable.

Interior of Top Spice

Rather than an entree, I decided to have two appetizers. This was mainly because they had roti canai and I love roti canai, and I knew if I got roti canai and an entree, I wouldn’t be able to finish. The second appetizer I chose was called martabak. It’s made with the same Malaysian “pancake” as roti canai, but it’s a beef and onion curry wrap. Somehow the flavor wasn’t what I was expecting, and I’m not sure I liked it. The roti canai was good, but Penang’s is better.

Then I gave in to temptation and tried their sticky rice mango, and it was amazing. The plate featured three separate items: a sticky rice patty with sesame seeds, a neat pile of mango slices, and a small bowl of coconut syrup. At first I tried alternately dipping the rice, then the mango into the syrup, but I soon found that assembling bites of all three at once created the ultimate flavor. Sticky rice mango is one of the most delicious desserts I’ve ever tasted. I devoured it all.

Sticky rice mango at Top Spice

With that satisfying conclusion to my meal, I was finally ready for my day of adventures to end. I headed home in sublime contentment, my belly full of yummy food, my camera full of photos, and my brain full of happy memories.

View more Midtown photos | View more March 2013 photos

Categories
Adventure Diary

Adventure at Aqueduct Park

I didn’t set out to endanger my own life today, but that’s what ended up happening.

Some time back, Augusta cleaned up the aqueduct between the Augusta Canal and Lake Olmstead and dubbed the area Aqueduct Park. Whitewater rapids spill down a long stretch from the canal into a swimming area that’s also fed by a trickling waterfall on the other side. That pool drains off towards Lake Olmstead, a body of water the size of a pond that sits near the Augusta GreenJackets’ minor league baseball stadium. To get to the park, you either have to travel the Augusta Canal trail by foot or bike, or drive in along a gravel and dirt road from Sibley Mill.

Rushing flume of water at Aqueduct Park

I’d ridden past the area many times on my bike, and even taken a few pictures of the waterfalls and swimmers from up top, but I’d never climbed down to the pool. After the park was established, some trees were cleared, making the climb more inviting. This morning, desperately wanting to swim after my run and having few options–the Family Y doesn’t open until 1 o’clock–I clambered down rocks and dirt to get to the inviting waters below.

Aqueduct Park swimming hole

I’d cooled off considerably thanks to the air conditioning in my car, so to get back in the mood for swimming I hiked around the aqueduct area and took pictures. I tried to capture the beauty of the place–the rushing waters feeding in from the canal, the old brick tunnels now closed off at the end, the blocks and sheets of slate over which trickling waterfalls painted smooth, wet paths. By the time I was satisfied, I’d warmed back up and was quite ready for a good swim.

rushing waters brick tunnels rocks reflective pools reflective pool tiny waterfalls

Stripping down to my swimsuit and exchanging my tennis shoes for flip-flops, I carried my towel over to where the rocks gradually descended into the pool, laid the towel where I thought it would be most convenient, and then started to step down the rocks to the water.

This was my first mistake.

slippery rocks

The rocks were smooth, wet, and covered with slime. As I felt myself slipping, two thoughts occurred to me: one, that the water was very cold, and two, that flip-flops didn’t provide very much traction. I scooted down onto my bottom to try and slide into the water without falling.

It was then that I recognized my second mistake.

Filled with enthusiasm, and perhaps overconfident after successfully climbing all over rocks and waterfalls, I’d chosen to enter the water right next to the canal ingress. Right next to where the barreling flume of water was churning into the pool.

My ingress point

As I sat slipping on the rock, trying to pull off one of my flip-flops, the surging water caught me, thrusting me out and down into the pool. My flip-flop was instantly sucked away. As I struggled to keep my head above water, arms pumping downward to thrust my face out of the rapids, I thought, “If I drown here, like this, I am going to be pissed.”

My efforts were not in vain. I was never completely submerged. At first there was no ground beneath me, and I thrashed in terror to stay afloat, but then, suddenly, I found myself dashed upon the not-at-all smooth array of rocks that makes up the bed of the aqueduct pool.

“Ow,” I said. And then, “Well, I’m stupid.”

As the water continued to push me, gentler now that I was out of the direct path of the flume, I pulled off the other flip-flop for no logical reason, and, holding it, fought my way around the pond. The flume sent water churning in two directions: to the left, off towards Lake Olmstead, and to the right, forming a clockwise eddy circumscribed by the pool. I was caught going right, thankfully. The flume’s strength decreased little by little as I was pushed further and further away; I braced myself on rocks to keep myself steadily on my bottom.

The pool

Eventually the water no longer had the strength to push me, and I maneuvered myself to shore–to the spot where I should have entered the pool to begin with. There, the water merely lapped at the rocks and dirt as its final whirlwind strength was sapped away.

“I survived,” I said.

I took a barefoot walk back around the shore of the pool, hoping my flip-flop had washed up somewhere, but it was nowhere to be found. I resigned myself to throwing the other one away…but first I would wash the mud off my feet, clean out the shallow open scrape the rocks had left on my right knee, and get back into my sneakers. I was moving my shoes over to the rocks–the calm area–when I saw it. My flip-flop had somehow been deposited on the rocks right next to the flume. Perhaps during my flailing, I’d actually flung it backwards.

I laughed; somehow finding the other flip-flop was more of a relief than scrambling to shore. Maybe my brain took it as a metaphor of getting out of the situation in one piece.

the pool

I washed and dried my feet, tied on my sneakers, retrieved my wayward flip-flop, and began the hike back up and out of the aqueduct.

As I was leaving, a man walking his dog came down the pass. “Wow, I haven’t seen it rushing like this in a long time,” he said.

“Yeah,” I agreed. “It’s crazy!”

“It used to be like this all the time when I was a kid,” the man said.

“Really?”

“Oh, yeah.” He gestured back up to the top of the flume. “We used to slide down the rocks.”

Wow,” I said. If that was the case, then kids have been doing essentially what I did today for decades.

the flume

Maybe my life wasn’t really in danger. I hope that is of some comfort to my mother, who is probably horrified that this happened. Sorry, Mom.

I’ve learned some good lessons. Don’t walk down slippery rocks, especially in flip-flops. Don’t enter a pool fed by rushing water right next to that rushing water. And it probably wouldn’t hurt to get a good idea of the depth of a body of water before swimming in it.

All that said…I did have fun, and I’ll probably swim there again. :)

me in front of the little waterfalls

View the complete photo gallery here.