I should have felt like crap that morning. I had been out line dancing, and drinking, until 1am. For my last birthday in my 20’s I want to do something very 20’s-esque. What fits the bill more than drinking heavily, taking a nap, and then going for a hike?
When my alarm went off at 6am, I was pleasantly surprised to find I had energy. Lots of energy. I was excited. So excited, in fact, that I ended up at the meeting point for the hike almost 45 minutes before I needed to be.
I sat outside that Starbucks drinking my Mcdonald’s coffee like a real rebel.
My next surprise was to see that 9 other women arrive at the coffee shop for the adventure. I still have a hard time really soaking in that so many people wanted to help celebrate my birthday. Furthermore, that 10 other women were willing to get up so early on a Sunday Morning to hike to a waterfall with me.
I already felt blessed.
I still wonder if I could have done this hike just a year ago. Proxy Falls is really easy, but I just don’t think 28 year old Katy would have done it. I think she would have found a reason why not. It’s amazing the experiences I have denied myself all these years, all the adventures I had turned down.
This is what the “body positive” movement has done for me. I’ve learned to stop making decisions based on my weight, or what I might look like. It doesn’t matter what I look like, and it certainly doesn’t matter what other people think. My weight does not dictate my hobbies, my ability and desire do.
The first falls we came to were gorgeous. This view point was the first of many times I tried to hold back a cry-asaurus-wreck flood. I hope someday I can let go of my guilt and the emotion I feel about being out in the wilderness. I know that I didn’t for so long, but it’s time to appreciate that I can get out there now. I can’t fix the Katy of the past, but that doesn’t mean I have to mourn for her.
One of the highlights of the whole trip was when I put my hand in the stream. It was cold, frigid cold. It also felt magical. My hands were touching water that were flowing down a waterfall in the middle of the wilderness. How many people can say they have done something like that?
Again, feeling absolutely blessed.
The viewpoint for the Lower Falls snuck up on us. It was, also, absolutely gorgeous. I admit, from afar, it’s pretty but it’s not amazing. I think I’ve become so spoiled by being able to touch waterfalls that if I can’t go play in the water I am just unimpressed. That could be way Multnomah Falls was such a let down.
Luckily for me, we still had a ways to go.
There is something about rock hopping across creeks, balancing on logs, and just straight up walking across a mini river that makes you feel alive. I felt so powerful.
We started prepping for a group shot RIGHT NEXT to the waterfall, when I heard some of my friends start to conspire with each other. I didn’t know whether to be excited to scared when I heard, “Should we do it now?”
These amazing women packed in everything we needed for a mini surprise birthday party next to the waterfall. Believe it or not, but you can hike a cupcake into the middle of the woods in a chinese takeout box and it will survive. Those hats, ya, they brought those too.
The cupcake, which I ate when I got home, was delicious. Ida’s cupcakes are the best!
So much of this hike made me feel healthy, and powerful, and ready to take on the next stage in life. But this birthday party, it made me feel loved. Truly, loved. I don’t know if I have ever been on the receiving end of such generosity before.
If anyone ever tells you that you can’t make real friends using the internet, show them this picture. (And maybe get rid of them, you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life 😉 )
Again, feeling blessed.
28 year old Katy might not have come on this hike. 28 year old Katy probably wouldn’t have wanted to do the scramble trail. I can tell you for sure, 28 year old Katy absolutely would have refused to go explore the base of the falls.
When I say explore the base of the falls, I mean go completely off trail. Looking back on it, I feel like we were kinda crazy.
I wish I could take all the credit for being brave. It really goes towards the trail blazers who went first. I don’t know if I would have gone by myself. I am blessed to have women in my life that will nudge me towards “trouble.” I like it. It should be noted, that they are very good judges of what is safe. That is why I’m willing to follow them almost anywhere.
Standing at the base of Proxy Falls, letting the water cascade over me, was an experience I hope I never forget.
There was a moment that I felt something I have never felt before. I cannot describe it. I’m not even really sure what it was. I do know that it was positive, almost euphoric. It was as if time had begun to stand still. I was aware of being a tiny speck in the grand scheme, but I felt like I could take on the universe. It was a strange combination of power and humility.
You know how drug addicts talk about chasing their first high? I’m going to be chasing that dragon for the rest of my life. I am hooked.
A huge thank you to all the ladies who hiked with me that morning. Thank you to the three (or four?) musketeers who conspired together for that amazing surprise. Of course, thank you to the photographers who took these pictures. I was so busy gawking and exploring that I really didn’t pull out my camera that much. Thank you to my amazing husband. He was the biggest trooper of them all, being on Little Man duty all weekend as well as helping to execute all the birthday plans. I love you! Want to know more about Proxy Falls, check out my post at the Oregon Waterfall Tour.