There is a completely unexpected place of unique beauty deeply hidden in an obscure small canyon of the Owyhee foothills. I know, because I was there Sunday. It will remain hidden, or, at least, you won’t find out it’s location from me, as I was crocheting contentedly during most of the drive. That peaceful pastime had to be abandoned when we arrived at the heavily rutted, winding, roller coaster, very rocky dirt road.
Greg travels out into these regions often, usually to run for somewhere between 15 to 20 miles for fun and to unwind from his desk job. It is as much an exercise of exploration as a bodily discipline. Last year we bought him a GPS watch for Father’s Day, so now he can come home and look up on maps exactly where he has been. The watch is just a validation, though, since he seems to have internal GPS. It was on one of these runs that he happened upon this setting.
The Suburban was full of all the kids who still reside at our home, that is to say, it was pretty full with seven of us. The “kids”, ages 13-19, had as much fun giggling at my exclamations and groans as in the thrill of the ride. Greg has a refined sense of physics and what the vehicle can accomplish, as well as a definite lack of desire to go any slower than absolutely necessary. I figure that he’s the one who works to pay for the damages that might ensue; also, he would be the one most impacted by us being stranded from a gutted under belly or flat tire. Furthermore, he has an excellent track record of avoiding difficulties, so I don’t have any thing to hold against him, if I am tempted to do so.
There were a few random people out in the sage brush that day, who stared at us curiously as they passed in their ATVs or dirt bikes. However, none of them took the final turn we did and there was no one else along the section of creek that Greg said to get out and walk along. The creek, usually three feet wide and about one inch deep, managed to play a bell-like melody which was punctuated by lower tones when it had to pour over an occasional larger rock. If there was a path, it appeared to be accidental and sporadic, most likely from wild life coming to quench their thirst or eat the fluffy grasses growing creek side. The creek bed meandered so that we could never see too far ahead. Our group spread out loosely, some collecting colorful and quartz filled rocks for Greg’s future cement projects.
I intermittently crossed the stream, pondering the fact that it was Melody’s birthday and this would certainly have been fun for her. The coarse sand on the creek banks was generally firm enough so that foot prints would quickly disappear. A few strategic rocks served as the traditional stepping stones in the middle of the water. When I walked a little further inland, the stickers and thorns from weeds were held off by careful choices and the soles of my Vibrams. My guide casually urged me forward if my strolling pace suggested I might stop.
Thinking the goal was simply to enjoy the fresh air and freedom, I continued around bend after bend and soon entered a narrow canyon just behind the kids. The rock walls were closing in on the stream, displaying patterns that artists try to mimic. The edges were predominantly jagged, rising like ancient red-brown castle walls, taunting visitors. Then, suddenly, the large formations became smooth stones and I felt I was stepping into a portal.
I was greeted by series of small jade green pools that flowed through curved openings in the rock wall, down idyllic tiny waterfalls ending in a larger quiet pool which held the water serenely until a small amount slipped over the edge and became the creek which we had been walking up. Being ripe for emotion, I caught my breath and thanked my guide-husband for bringing me to such a place. It is a part of creation that God made for us to enjoy; it is a delight that Greg chose to share with us; it was soothing to my soul.