Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Cataract Canyon

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I took in the view out our back window one night between rain storms and enjoyed seeing stars in a clear sky. There was Orion off to the southeast. As a boy, Orion's Belt was one of the first constellations anyone ever showed me. I can picture myself as a boy looking into the night sky as if I were recalling a movie. I thought what a long way I've come since I was a tow-headed kid in the '60s. But old Orion out there, he was just the same. What's five decades to a constellation that probably looks the same now as it did when the Earth was still just a hodgepodge of dust, not even a planet yet, just a sidekick of the Sun.

Incidentally, that was about 4.5 billion years ago, and the sun's predicted to last another 4.5 billion years, give or take. This little middle part between the beginning of the world and its end is where human beings and waterfalls exist. We also exist between the smallest particles and the very edge of the universe. I like to think of our place in the grand scheme of things as being at the crossroads of the infinities.

I was the first person to park at the bottom of Cataract Gulch on the Martin Luther King holiday, but I was soon followed by many others with the same great idea. The Alpine Lake reservoir was filled to the brim, and all of Mt. Tam's ravines were running full steam ahead.

Here's a short, roaring clip of Lower Cataract Falls.

This is the falls and pool at the junction of the Helen Markt Trail. Do you remember that big log that used to be jammed at an angle in the falls? That log got blown out of the waterfall in the big atmospheric river event of February 2014, but the big log remained in the pool. Not any more. It's gone! (See the before and after about half-way through this post.)

I met a guy at Junction Falls who was hiking down from Rock Spring and told me there was a gorgeous waterfall higher up that reminded him of Hawaii. I don't know if this is the falls he was talking about, but it looked good enough to me to call it Hawaiian Falls.

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  1. The story1 is told, my dear Terentius Priscus, that certain eagles or swans, flying from the uttermost parts of the earth towards its centre, met in Delphi at the omphalus, as it is called; and at a later time Epimenides2 of Phaestus put the story to test by referring it to the god and upon receiving a vague and ambiguous oracle said,

    Now do we know that there is no mid-centre of earth or of ocean;

    Yet if there be, it is known to the gods, but is hidden from mortals.