All Things Considered
Hardy Creek · Hamilton Mountain Trail · Beacon Rock State Park · Columbia River Gorge · North Bonneville · Washington · USA
With its varied collection of capricious tumbles and braided cascades, Hardy Creek is an underappreciated gem largely glossed over by intrepid hikers who have their compasses trained upon the grander and more obvious views atop nearby Little Hamilton and Hamilton Mountains. Most everyone will take the short spur trail up to see the curious alcove known as the Pool of the Winds, carved out by the relentless pummeling of Rodney Falls against the bedrock. Far fewer, though, will hop the rails of the viewing platform at the end of the lower spur trail as Justin Poe and I did to behold the creek’s sights on a more intimate basis. For those that do so with eyes and itineraries wide open, there are ample treasures to be found.
Moving water, of course, is where I tend to find my groove—not just photographically but spiritually and emotionally as well. It flushes out the noxious dust bunnies that collect in the nooks and crannies of my mind, the unavoidable byproducts of a life far too easily consumed by the rigor and often inane tedium of professional demands. At water’s edge, I pause for a bit before unraveling my tightly-wound bundle of stresses and exposing them to the mercy of the elements. Like fallen leaves, some are quickly spirited away along the surface of the water, far gone in an instant and readily forgotten. Heavier and more abrasive burdens, however, like unkindly jagged rocks, may not travel quite so far, settling down in short order where motion yields to friction and lingering on in the memory still. But inevitably, over time, the water wears down even the sharpest of edges, leaving behind a scene transformed from its initial unsightliness into something that could be described as poignant, maybe even beautiful, and somehow, someway, worth seeing again.
Every now and then it helps to hop the rails and find your ‘water’. Tune out everything but the melodic rush and murmur. Feel the elements. Then just be patient and trust the flow to do what it always does.