I mentioned last week that there would be an upcoming post about the waterfalls on Orcas Island, Washington. Well, today’s the day! When we were out in Washington over the Christmas holidays, we visited Moran State Park several times. While the top of Mt. Constitution (http://afinedayforanepiphany.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/a-mountain-of-memories/) is the best view in the islands, Cascade Falls, lower down on the mountain, is surely another must-see part of the park.
I remember coming here as a child and we’d make little dams in the shallows of the stream that eventually became the falls. We’d bring a picnic and spend the whole day, and we wouldn’t even get too sunburned, because the forest is so deep.
The falls themselves were (who am I kidding – ARE) so fun to climb down to. We’d climb on the rocks – and likely fall in – and we’d walk across the fallen-tree-truck bridge (that is still there today) to the other side. Maiden Hair Fern clung to the water-sprayed rocks, so delicate and lacey; I can’t see it today without thinking of the falls on Orcas.
If we were lucky we’d find what we called “Indian Pipes”, too – a parasitic wild flower that looks like a fungus because it contains no chlorophyl, growing at the base of towering pines. This flower, also known as the “corpse plant” only grows in nutrient rich soil…all I knew then was that it made any trip to the falls extra special if we found it growing along the hiking trails.
There are many hikes of varying degrees of difficulty that hikers or walkers or climbers can take at the park. Along many of the paths are wooden foot bridges – all of which make marvelous places to play “The Three Billy Goat’s Gruff”. My dad would mysteriously disappear as we walked and suddenly, when we came to a bridge, a deep voice (sounding nothing like my dad’s) would say, “Who’s that tripping over my bridge?” And I’d cry, “Oh, please, Mr. Troll. Don’t eat me! My sister is coming along and she’s much bigger and juicier than I am!” And then, of course, Dad would appear from beneath the bridge, his camera around his neck, and we’d all laugh and laugh. It never got old.
I took swimming lessons at the park. Never did learn to swim.