Last year in June, I turned 21. My idea of a perfect 21st birthday was to travel somewhere I’d never been to, spend quality time with people I love, adventure into the unknown, and eat fried chicken & waffles somewhere along the way. Somehow, I decided Oregon would be the place to do this.
After a few days of hiking, eating, and more hiking, my family agreed to go on one last hike with me. Bless their souls (lol), because I know waking up too early and hiking is not everyone’s ideal day.
Now being that it was the day of my birthday, (June 14th. whoot whoot! shout of to all my Geminis'!) I decided to save the best hike for last! We drove an hour and started on the hike, only to realize after another hour of intense hills, that we were in fact- NOT on the trail I wanted to be on. & since I’m the kind of person that tries only to spend my limited time on things I know will lead to something great, we turned back around to the car.
At this point, I was honestly really frustrated, but my siblings were trying to be as optimistic as they could about the journey we took. So after another hour hiking back, we were unsuccessful, cold, and I was just super discouraged. We started driving away and somehow ended up going in the opposite direction of where we should’ve been heading back to. Two minutes into the drive, I saw a familiar bridge & was certain that this was the entrance to the hike I wanted to take.
Just as we began to make our maneuvers through the trails on our new pathway, we started to hear the lightning........ SKETCH. Then as it began to rain lightly, we made our way through the ankle-deep freezing water and over the fallen tree logs / boulders.
The second we go to the other side, it started pouring. And i mean POURING, as much as it does in those dramatic romance movies where love is confessed (aka the notebook, aka “I wrote you everyday for a year”). And though we mayyybbeee should've been a liiiiiittle concerned about a flash flood happening ,or something, we were just stoked that the rain would make the hike more intense and waterfall more full!
At this point, i’m not even cold. Because, I FOREAL can’t feel my body. Then we get to this place where we see it in the distance, the beautiful waterfall. But to just see it in the distance, was not enough. We needed to be there, right up close and personal with it. The only thing left in our way was this intense body of water that we would need to swim through. AND OF COURSE, June of 2016 just so happened to be a record blowing 24 F. So I thought, “naaah..yah know…. i’m good where I am. This view's good”. That was, UNTIL, my brother mustered up the courage to swim through. Then we watched in pure jealousy of the epic joy he seemed to be experiencing on the other side. We knew what he had to do. We took a deep breath, left all of our stuff behind, and went all in. and dang, I did not realize what freezing was until I was completely immersed in freezing water trying to swim for my life (lol). With lots of willingness, we made it through. and it was……………………………. SO WORTH IT.
I kid you not people, as soon as we made it through- the rain completely stopped. So we took it all in. We made our way right up to the beautiful waterfall: literally just standing in awe, captivated, taking mental stills that will last a lifetime. All I could think of was of gratefulness & great fullness. So we prayed.
We thanked God for creation, and the overwhelming beauty we get to see and experience. We thanked Him for always showing up in the valleys and hardships of life- Not making them go away but helping us grow stronger to get through them. We thanked Him for the rain & cold, because of it we got an epic waterfall and an intimate hike all to ourselves. We thanked Him for his PERFECT timing and making all things good. We thanked Him for each other: that in the craziness of life we don’t have to do it alone. That we have each other to help, encourage, love and walk through the good and bad together. I thanked Him for 21 years of grace & I thanked Him that the best has yet to come.