It was Santana’s first day off all summer. So even though I was on a ten-day stretch myself, I agreed to go for a drive to the destination of his choosing. He chose Vernon and invited a friend, Keith. The boys had a list of places in Vernon they wanted to check out. I had a list of my own.
Just a few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with someone, describing my hobby. He suggested I check out BX Falls in Vernon. Breaking with tradition, I looked it up before we went. Not very thoroughly, as it turns out.
“These falls are five minutes from the parking lot… quick, easy visit. No real place for picnics, just walk and view…nice, relaxing.”
That sounded great!
I should have kept reading the review.
“Lots and lots of stairs to the bottom…. So that means lots of stairs on the way up.” (CalGirl1982)
Well, you know what they say about hindsight…
Either way, when we arrived, I was expecting the nice, relaxing five-minute walk.
Harvesting St. John’s Wort
It started out that way, to be sure. The forest of mostly cedar was deep and cool. The sound of the creek was soothing.
Then we got to the stairs.
Guest Photographer – Santana
I might have made it to the bottom without any issue. But there were no handrails. I would never make it back to the top.
I handed each of the boys a camera.
“There’s no way I’m going to make it. You’re going to have to do it for me.” They promised to take lots of pictures and headed off. I turned around and began to make my way back.
Before long I realized that I didn’t have the car keys. I had no pockets, so I’d given them to Santana when we got out of the car. I looked around. There was a lovely spot beside the creek where I could dip my feet in the water and wait for the boys to return. Much cooler than waiting in the parking lot.
I settled onto a nice large rock and put my feet in the water. It was COLD! But it was also clear and beautiful. Almost instantly, I regretted giving away both cameras. There were plenty of things I could be taking pictures of right now. Then I remembered the story told at the beginning of a National Geographic Photography video – Don’t Forget to Pet the Whale.
Basically, the story is about a man on a whale watching trip. A whale approaches the boat and everyone on the boat reaches over the side and pets the whale. The man is so busy photographing the experience that he forgets to experience the experience. Don’t Forget to Pet the Whale is a reminder to not let life pass you by while you’re taking pictures of it.
I took a deep breath – the scent of water and rocks, overlaid with a touch of mud. Cedar, moss. Damn. It was beautiful here. I watched a Cloudless Sulphur coasting over the moss. I watched the odd leaf betray the season by falling early. I watched a squirrel race across a fallen log and leap over the creek to another fallen log because, well, because he could, I guess. He did it three or four times. Show-off. I let the sound of the creek lull me into a place I haven’t been for a while. I was so relaxed I almost didn’t see the boys coming back down the trail. They had kept their promise and taken photos for me to share.
Guest Photographer – Santana
Guest Photographer – Keith
So while I didn’t get to see the falls personally, I had a wonderful time petting the whale. Of course, once the boys were back I was free to take a few shots before we headed home.
BX Creek, as seen from the rock I was sitting on
Random Tree Roots
Hey, I said I’d pet the whale. No one said anything about a full-body massage.