There were places along the steep side of the gorge where the roots of trees that were growing on the cliffs above wove across the stone wall, looking like a living cascade or woody web. Remarkable. In some places, the only place to walk was a narrow ledge along the stone walls. (Click the thumbnails to see more detail.)
It was not an easy transit, but it was rewarding. After two hours, we reached a lovely series of short waterfalls that tumbled from pool to clear pool. Calcium deposits had formed around the falls and tiny plants grew among the formations. We dropped our daypacks and pulled out our swimsuits. The dense vegetation made it easy to change and remain modest. We spent a fair bit of time—half an hour I’d guess—splashing in the largest pool and drinking from the nearest waterfall. It was absolutely wonderful. We had lunch there as well, sitting on the rocks, chatting and drying out.
It was a day of amazing beauty, but also of a considerable amount of difficulty. Of course, fatigue wasn’t helping me, but even weary, I didn’t want to leave my camera equipment behind—which may not have been my wisest decision. As we headed back up the gorge, I wasn’t entirely convinced I’d survive the return trip. I did, of course, survive, though I’m now pretty well covered with scrapes and bruises, from having stumbled a few times. But with one last surge, I made it up the stone wall to the broken rocks that marked the top edge of the gorge.
After hiking back to camp, I enjoyed a cool shower in the creek-water shower. (Yes, we swam in the gorge, but the temperature is around 100 degrees and it was a long hike back, so the cooling effects of that dip had long since worn off.) Pleasant late afternoon in camp. The sunset was beautiful, but is appreciated for more than its splendor—it means the flies go to bed.
Now, it’s time for dinner and another amiable evening. Dinner was great: steak, grilled onions, pumpkin, and jacket potatoes. The cool of the evening made the heavier meal more enjoyable. (Hard to eat a lot when you’re hot.)
I haven’t gotten much sleep lately, but with a good meal and after a day of fresh air and considerable exercise, I don’t think I’ll have any trouble sleeping tonight.