The Hot Spot
Iron Creek Falls · Iron Creek · Gifford Pinchot National Forest · Washington · USA
Sunlight pierces the forest canopy above 38-foot-tall Iron Creek Falls and bespeckles the emerald-turquoise plunge pool in a disco-ball display of dancing spotlights. Hard to believe this veritable paradise lies a mere 500 feet off the main road, albeit a long and winding one starting from my home in Portland. Still, the magnificent stands of western hemlock, Douglas-fir, and noble fir that flank Forest Road 25, along with imposing views of Mt. St. Helens' eastern flank, make the sinuous drive well worthwhile, and after a period of acclimation even the chilly waters lapping over my feet transitioned from torturous to refreshing as the mercury continued to climb. Once I saw the movement and pattern of light that was slowly unfolding, I pretty much just sat down on my kiester with my feet dangling in the cool shallows, taking in the fresh forest air and the soul-cleansing sound of rushing water all the while. Sometimes it's nice to stop chasing and just wait for the light to come to you for a change.