September 10, 2019
Last summer I took a day trip up to Paulina Lake with my family and knew I had to come back. The entire area around the lake is lovely with numerous accessible trails that quickly lead you to some truly beautiful spots. I hiked the easy but stunning Paulina Falls with my parents which is what truly sold the deal of a return.
This time Tim and I returned with the goal of at least hiking Paulina Falls, but were open to see where the day took us. It was a warm sunny day with few people out on the trails, so at times it felt as though we had the trail to ourselves. Paulina Falls is a quick quarter mile trail leading you to the base of the two towering falls. There’s also an informative trail with viewpoints of the falls from above. We checked out many viewpoints as well as did a river crossing. This was a larger river crossing for me, but with our new adventure sandals on, we had to do it! The chilled water was a relief from the heat.
With adventure on our mind, we continued our travels from Paulina Falls towards East Lake. Between Paulina Falls and East Lake are several turn offs and places to stay. One of our finds from our drive was the Big Obsidian Flow. At first glance it looks like a large pile of obsidian; beautiful and interesting that so much of it lies there, but not as much of a showstopper as other stops. We got out of the car and began exploring before realizing that there was a trail. This trail lead to what felt like another world. Tim even questioned whether part of Star Trek was filmed on the trail with its towering walls of black glass and pumiced grey boulders that weighed almost nothing. As the sun blazed down on us, the obsidian glisented. What added to the magic was the sporadic tree growth between the rocks and boulders. The was one tree specifically at the highest point of the loop that stood there with pride and strength. He was a survivor, a reminder of how powerful and resistant mother nature is. Although the trail provided beautiful views of the surrounding area, this tree and it’s contrast among the surrounding boulders was by far my favorite part of the hike.
We continued our drive until we hit a dead end at East Lake at which point we decided to come back to Paulina Lake for a couple nights of neighboring pines and lakefront views. As I write this, we are sitting beneath the trees with a fire going and staring out at the lake. Being away from it all with no cell service is my favorite place to write. The serenity of it all is often what I crave. Last night we had quite a storm with hours of pounding rain. Temperatures were expected to be down in the 30s and man did it feel it. We could see each breath of air and had four layers of blankets to fight against the dropping temperatures. With possible snow in the forecast, we hoped to wake with a light dusting. Sadly we woke to no snow, but have decided to stay another night in our little slice of tranquility.
That’s one of the joys of doing what we’re doing. We can be flexible. Yes, it’s a major adjustment for me to be so flexible since I’m a planner. But the moments we don’t plan have become some of my favorites. I have a feeling today will be one of those days. The sky has returned to grey after brief sun this morning and we’re expecting more rain and dropping temperatures. Maybe we’ll wake up to snow, maybe it’ll be a night filled with rain. Whatever it brings, I’m happy to experience everything Paulina Lake has to offer alongside Tim.
Update...It began raining minutes after I wrote this. And not only did it rain, but it rained heavily for at least 4 hours. Instead of cooking the dinner we had planned, we sat in our rooftop tent with crackers, peanut and almond butter, and an apple. We snuggled up under all our blankets with the windows cracked to peak out at the rain falling over the lake and fog swiftly rolling through the campground as we binge-watched an entire Netflix season. It was an unexpected but wonderful night in.