Thursday, September 28, 2017
After the spooky feelings I got on that trail this morning, and after hearing about that weird, angry backpacker from the Ranger later in the morning, I was hesitant to head out on any trail this afternoon. But the idea of being kept at “home” in my trailer by some crackpot guy got my dander up and I decided to head out again after lunch. I’m so glad I did.
The correct Murhut Falls Trail turned out to be an excellent hike, the falls were beautiful, I met really nice people, and a Northern Flicker led me down the trail back to my truck. 🙂
Photo above, Murhut Falls trailhead. Photo below, big white truck parked and awaiting my return. There was another vehicle parked here when I arrived … a burgundy car with a temporary paper license/registration in the back window apparently issued by a dealer.
Just to be on the safe side, I snapped a photo of the car and the registration number. If something dastardly happened to me by someone else’s hand, and if someone checked my camera, then there would be information on the camera that might be used to track down whoever was in that car, and maybe they could help identify the dastardly person.
As it turned out, I met the young couple from that car a couple hundred yards or so along the trail as I was heading in and as they were heading back out to their car. They were absolutely the sweetest folks! Young and in love. 🙂 They were from India and had very recently moved to the USA because he had been hired here, and they had purchased the burgundy car.
They were more uncertain about me than I was of them. They each had heavy accents and were quite reluctant to chat with me at first. I walked on past them a bit so I wasn’t blocking their path along the trail, which gave them physical and emotional room. I kept smiling and nodding as we tried to talk with each other. When I told them I was a retired IT (computer) technician and manager, they relaxed noticeably. That was his field too.
When I asked if they were Hindu or Muslim, they hesitated quite a while! But eventually they said Hindu. I bowed slightly with hands together and said “namaste”. They beamed gloriously and said/did that back to me and then I thought they would never STOP talking. 🙂
He worked in Olympia for the State of Washington; she was looking for employment and had run into some not nice folks who belittled her for being a foreigner and for being Hindu. I told them that I was an American and yet my grandparents had come from Ireland and Scotland (via Canada), were considered foreigners when they entered this country back then, and that no one had a right to belittle any of us for who we are.
We chatted more and they ended up feeling better about themselves and better about “Americans” in general. And they let me use their phones to take several photos of them. The interaction was delightful.
And then we parted and they continued on the trail out to their car and I went on into the forest towards Murhut Falls. Oh, it was so beautiful in the forest.
The forest is such a huge place, almost unimaginably large. And yet it is also indescribably minute, with entire worlds inside such small spaces.
So large that you can’t begin to see it all. And yet so tiny and compact that you could spend a lifetime studying one small square foot of land and never understand it all.
The trail wasn’t long, less than a mile each way. Most of it was level, but the last part of the trail was a steady uphill slog so I simply stopped more often to take photos. 🙂
The sounds of the forest! Even the sound of the slightest breeze in the trees was so relaxing … or the sound of water. Oh, hey, I hear the waterfall ahead!
Around one last bend in the trail and it felt like the temperature of the air dropped twenty degrees. And there up ahead through the trees was my first glimpse of Murhut Falls. It was a lot taller than I thought it would be, and it was loud.
As I got closer to the falls, the trail got rougher and trickier to manage. I could also now smell the waterfall. I was reminded of that fellow earlier this year at Kanaskat who told me he could tell how high the Green River was by how the stars looked. Well, I swear this river had a most wonderful sweet smell to it, and if that was so, then why couldn’t the stars talk with the river?
There was only one spot from which I could get a photo of the entire falls. How impressive! 153 feet from the top of the falls to the pool at the bottom.
In the two photos above, the top section is 117 feet in height and the bottom section is 36 feet in height. There appeared to be a “trail” of sorts that wound around down to the base of the falls, in front of and just below that pool, but the rocks were wet with spray and it just didn’t seem wise for me to scramble down there since I was alone.
This was late September. I’d love to see these falls when they are in their spring freshet stage, with a torrential rush of water racing through here on its way from the mountains to the sea.
I lingered here quite a while, sitting and listening, being thankful, enjoying the sounds and the smells and the richness, feeling so rich myself. I noticed that the river (it was actually Murhut Creek, I found out later) … the river/creek disappeared into the ground not far from the very bottomest bottom of the falls.
After 30 minutes or so, I got up and started back down the trail. Gosh that was a nice place!
But not too far down the trail, I thought I heard fast running water again. Well that’s odd, I thought, I hadn’t heard it on my way TO the falls. But I stopped and peered through the trees to find that the river/creek had resurfaced in its mad rush downhill, was pouring out of the rocks and creating another, smaller, waterfall that once again dove into another peaceful pool of water.
Then the river/creek plunged underground yet again. The trail turned away from the creek at that point so I can’t tell you if it kept on repeating that pattern.
I was in a happy mood, just sort of bouncing along down the trail, when I realized I’d been seeing a bit of movement in the trail ahead of me for quite some time. So I slowed down a bit and looked more purposefully ahead.
Well, look at that, a Northern Flicker. (It’s in the photo above, too, if you have really good eyes.)
For over a half hour, this Northern Flicker hopped ahead on the trail, then would stop and wait for me, then hop ahead, then wait for me, then hop a short distance off to one side but before I caught up with it, it would hop out in front of me again.
It certainly knew I was there since it kept looking back at me. It didn’t make any noise that I could hear, didn’t flap its wings, didn’t behave as though it was in any distress.
A few times, it flew up into a tree, or onto a tree trunk, and would wait there for me to catch up. And it would then hop down onto the trail in front of me again as soon as I caught up to it.
I couldn’t fathom why it was doing that, but I liked it. About 30 feet before the end of the trail, it flew up into a tree and stayed there as I passed by. I chirped and whistled a little, in gratitude for its company, then walked on out to my truck.
And then … remember that young couple from India I met on the trail earlier this afternoon? Well, when I got back to my truck, their car was gone but there was a note under my windshield wiper, just a plain piece of paper that said “Peace be with you. Namaste.” And they signed their names. 🙂 How cool was that.
And so I headed back to the campground for my last night at Dosewallips. Nope, no Elk that evening or the next morning. At long last, they had moved on. Tomorrow morning I would hitch up and head home. What a remarkable week I had!