Friday’s Quick Pick: The Falls that Felled Me

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The Columbia River Gorge (All photos, Cynthia Guenther Richardson 2018)

Every year I revisit Bridal Veil Falls where, in 2001 while hiking, I experienced the heart event that garnered me a diagnosis of aggressive coronary artery disease. I was literally brought to my knees by the proverbial “elephant on the chest” that gorgeous early September afternoon. I was 51; my doctors were not optimistic about the future. After stent implants I entered a difficult period in body and soul, but labored long and hard to regain health. It’s possible to take this disease in hand, and for the heart to become even stronger.

It’s been a thrill to once more vigorously hike the trails in Columbia River Gorge as I please. As I trek to the Bridal Veil Falls especially, it is easy to count abundant gifts of life with deep gratitude. The pictures posted are of that waterfall. At the top of the steps to a viewing platform, I collapsed. For a couple of years following my fateful hike this trail frightened me and I could not face it down. Soon I had had enough of intimidation and began to seek it out in August or September to celebrate staying alive. I am about set to head out this year once more.

Columbia Gorge, Cascade Locks, misc 114
Last visit in 2017, so glad to be there again

I love it there: the heady scents of damp earth and dense forest, the rush of water and wind-singing leaves, the birds chorusing and my heart and feet and legs carrying me up and down the rocky paths. I love that the place remains in its wild variations, its cyclical nature and its impartial acceptance of my visitations. I am filled with more joy each year I set out on the trail to Bridal Veil Falls.

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(If you are interested in learning more about heart disease, as well as recovery and health maintenance please search for my series entitled “Heart Chronicles” on this blog.)

4 thoughts on “Friday’s Quick Pick: The Falls that Felled Me

  1. Paul, I’m so pleased you enjoyed the photo visit, that it connected you to fond memories of a wonderful place in your own life. I love many in the NW and elsewhere. Being outdoors is so crucial to well being, isn’t it?–and it moves us to remain vibrantly engaged. Thank you for warm words–for your own writing and reading my posts.

  2. I absolutely agree with Derrick. I loved looking at the slide show of the huge moss covered boulders the water rushing over the rocks, the trees, the shade. I enjoyed it so much. I’ve never been to this place, but it reminded me of another place, in Japan, that I have come to love. Your pictures made me happy because they sent me to another place that engendered contentment and a strong joy for life.

    Thank you for sharing, keep moving, get stronger!

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