Take the Plunge
Summers as a kid in the forest-covered, lake-filled Mohawk Valley where I grew up meant swimming. We knew the best swimming holes in the creeks and countless lakes dotting the wider Adirondack region.
Though no longer an option due to safety and environmental issues, summer also used to mean hiking to the geologically fascinating, aesthetically stunning Trenton Falls Gorge. A hopefully well-tied climbing rope awaited those who dared to climb up the multi-tiered rock face.
Once atop the cliff ledge, the only way down was to jump out from the rocks into the bracing cold water below. Freezing in fear on the cliff was only a temporary option, because the rope logistics didn’t work going down. Climb. Jump. Swim.
The San Francisco Bay Area is rich in natural wonders, including ocean, lakes and rivers. Yet swimming spots are not easy to come by. Too cold, too big, too dangerous. I missed having easy swim spots to take my kids.
When my son’s hiking/autism helper said there was a lake with a rope swing in Marin County, I was determined to get there. A year after hearing about it, with almost three miles of hiking trail behind us, the rope swing loomed before us.
Big tree, high on a hill over the lake. Hard for a short person like me to even reach the dangling bit of rope.
“Ready, set, go!” my son said as I stood holding the rope, trying to rev myself up to swing out over the lake. “Say it again, Sean,” I said, procrastinating for another few seconds.
“Ready, set, go!” And there I went. Flying free for a brief moment, I then felt the icy shock of cold lake water. It was so great I did it two more times.
Maybe there’s a difficult challenge we have to face. Or something fun and exciting that takes courage to try. Sometimes it takes an extra push for that last big leap forward.
Listen to voices cheering you on, even if it’s just your own. Brace yourself. Picture yourself moving toward your goal. Leap forward.
Plunging ahead is not always easy, and the results are almost never exactly as we imagined. Sometimes that first step is the hardest.
If you stumble—and most of us do—get back up and try again.
This week’s Hike Notes introduce Bass Lake, a woodsy lake near Bolinas, California worth the Coastal Trail hike to get there.
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New this week:
Hike Notes 75: Bass Lake
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.