The Magic of Metlako
Let me just start off by saying that being pleasantly plump and the forces of gravity do not always mix. Also, it is worth noting that grace wasn't something I was born with. As a matter of fact, my Mom named me Chris-Crash when I was a kid because my middle name is Christopher and I was always trying to cut corners when running from room to room and I would smash into walls. :)
Fast forward 30 something years and here I find myself a landscape photographer. In the Pacific Northwest the natural beauty is everywhere and very accessible. We do a great job of building roads and blazing trails to all the great spots. We placed a very nice observation area for this falls 1/4 mile from it so you could view it safely from a distance.
But for us, the PNW photographers that live here, these trails aren't enough and a 1/4 mile is way too far away to shoot a waterfall as beautiful as this. So, at some point, some crazy hiker or photographer decided to get off the trail and climb over to the top of this waterfall. This is where we followed last weekend.
Now, the majority of shots I have seen from this location have been taken in the spring, when the ground is dry and firm, and all the plants have their roots dug deep. Even then, this trail would be sketchy. We decided to go after 3 days of heavy rain...and I was lucky enough to be the last person down the trail. Andrew & Lance took off ahead of me and were well down the trail before I even started. Christina was next and every so often she would look back at me wondering if I was coming. Each time I would look back at her and think to myself...if you don't fall to YOUR death, I will be right behind you. :)
The last part of the "trail" is about 10 feet across a vertical hillside with no vegetation, no root systems or branches to grab and no rocks to use as footholds. It is slanted at a 45 degree angle and on your right is EXACTLY what you see here in the right of this image.....a very long fall to the waterfall below. By the time I made it to this portion of the hike every safe looking spot to step had been smeared by the footsteps of the other three before me. After contemplating the likelihood of surviving a fall from here and realizing it was close to zero I basically invented a new way to travel made up of a half run/half slide combo across the last 10 feet to freedom.
Then, standing in position to take this shot Lance tried to walk by me, lost his footing and tried to push off on me to save himself! Luckily for me the forces of gravity WERE in my favor this time because I didn't budge. :)
In the end, we all agreed that the way we had come did not look like a safe way to return. The areas where we had stepped had been reduced to mud slicks and I wasn't feeling it. We decided instead to retreat up the creek and in the end we found a much easier and much safer way out. Now, when I return, hopefully after a fresh snowfall, it will be a nice & easy, non life threatening trip in.