By Darcy Waits

One of the pitfalls of dating and meeting someone you like is the part where you want to demonstrate what a great gal pal you are by attempting to show an interest in the guy’s hobbies and pastimes.  This had led to me having a garage full of golf gear, tennis junk, and other sporty equipment I didn’t really want to blow cash on.  (Beware another potential pitfall: weight gain due to some couch potato guy’s obsession with BBQ or chicken wings!)

You Can’t Get There in High Heels

It’s Summer, and I find myself dating a guy into hiking and photography.  About four weeks into our dating it was time for me to gal pal up and go on a hike to scenic Tamanawas Falls.  It’s a 3.6-mile hike listed as “moderate” (whatever that meant).   But I read it’s where Cold Springs Creek spills over a 150-foot lava cliff near the eastern base of Mount Hood.  Groovy!  The elevation gain on the hike was 560 feet.  (“Is that a lot?”)  All I had to do was dig a pair of hiking shoes out of the back of my closet that had been gifted to me in 1994.  Yay, I don’t have to run and buy anything I will have to store in my garage if this guy bogues out on me too!

But I’m scared.  What if Mr. “I-Just-Climbed-Mt-Saint-Helens” is disappointed if I am not able to climb like a mountain goat?  Not to mention I hardly know this guy and I am letting him take me out in the woods!  (Chicken Wing guy fed me a steady diet of horror movies, so I KNOW what can happen in the woods!)  So the night before my hiking debut, I take him to a party.  After a few glasses of wine, the hostess laughs at the idea of me wandering in the woods, and informs “Hiking Guy” that I am a City Girl.  I am just thinking, “Get a good look at this guy so you can identify him if I go missing, Girl!”

Next day, off we go!  I spent two days creating a stylish picnic lunch for us to dig into on the trail:  my man-pleasing stuffed sandwiches (packed with a colorful array of meats, cheeses, and roasted veggies), Italian penne pasta salad, and a peach blueberry tart.  For this first outing in Sasquatch’s neighborhood, I decide wine waits until I’m safely home!  We drive for what seems like hours in his tiny loaner car.  (He claims his Jeep is in the shop!)  Not a great start for a foray into the woods.  

Spoiler Alert:  I Live!

Finally, we park and set out on what was a beautiful stroll through the forest!  Tiny dogs and children seem to be making short work of the trail, so I think maybe I’ve got this!   I am feeling great enjoying tall green trees, the sound of flowing water, and cute log bridges.  Occasionally I bounce ahead so “Hiking Guy” could get a view of my booty in yoga pants.  We stop for photography moments and enjoy a lovely picnic lunch on a rock by the cold mountain river.  We talk about our hopes and dreams while we bond in nature.  When we reach the base of awesome Tamanawas Falls, wow!  I take a deep breath.  I made it!  That was easy!  I passed the test!

But wait there’s more!  “Hiking Guy” casually informs me that we will stop and take some photos at the base of the falls.  Then we will climb up a huge pile of wet moss-covered boulders halfway up the cliff and go behind the falls!  What?!  Who IS this guy?  He wants me to do what?  I calmly hide my terror and smile.  He is attractive and one of only a few single guys in the Portland  Metro area with a full head of hair, so I’ll play along.  It turned out to be quite easy.  I scaled the boulders like a sleek agile cougar… mindful of the fact that his camera was sometimes pointed at me, so I had to make sure I looked cute! The payoff:  a sense of accomplishment, an amazing view, and a romantic kiss behind the waterfall.

We had a lovely hike back out. “Hiking Guy” delivered me safely back to my front door in civilization like a gentleman.  I was back at work the next day in my high heels without even chipping my glitter toenail polish.

And that was the first of many happy trails together!

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