East Fork Lewis River

By Alexander Gilbert


The drive up lead to Washington and cloud coverage. The Washington part was fine but the clouds put a damper on the start of the day. Short shorts were already adorned to pay respect to the summer sun, and now an overcast sky intervened.

So my companion for the day took the time to hook up his tunes to the car stereo as I drove, gazed, and brooded along. Out came Lil Dicky, a rapper, speaking of things far from the rural setting we were entering into. Looking off into the shrubbery—into nature, became askew with Lil Dicky speaking to Snoop at sixty miles per hour. Add an energy drink and dipping tobacco, and I could have achieved a new phase of being. Let alone any blunts.

Making it through Battleground, WA and into Gifford Pinchot National Forest the reception dwindled and the fur trees got taller. The forest silenced the music, and Lil Dicky passed from my mind. Amazing what a national forest can do.

The forest road swindles along the river. Snatching views of the bubbling glitz I attend to jump into further up. Feeling the beauty while still in the contraption of my car, and not even at the “spot” my buddy assures me.

The river is polka dotted with spots; spots being swimming holes. A natural theme park of cliff diving, jumping, flipping—screaming, however it is done, a cool dousing of water to swim.

The drop from Sunset falls outplays any dubstep. Getting there in the AM, missing a shinning summer sun, adds to the submergence. Definitely adds to the amount of time we stood on the rock above the falls anticipating the temperature of the chilled mountain river.


One fell leap, and I siberianed my climate controlled existence. With crystal clear water clasping around me by the tight grip of a river sourced from a twelve thousand foot mountain. Retaining the blizzard and whiteout winter from above, and dismissing it below. The experience lead to full body shivering, and more importantly was accompanied by an exhilarated feeling of joy. As the shivering increased in strength—I became self conscious but shortly after witnessed Duane shake like he was undergoing the big one all on his own. Which brought me to laughter, and as one releases their stomach from sucking it in—I let go of trying to tame my quaking, and felt better.

The mental block against discomfort is more frigid than any body of water. Overcoming it has ordinarily lead to improved conditions afterward. Breaking out of comfort by hurtling through the air off of a waterfall—into a cold pool of water, without the warmth of a shining sun; floods the boundaries of comfort.

The coldness brought on a certain silence. What became at hand was the very noticeable chill in my bones, and the other predicaments to life shook and chattered off. What could be more present than actively feeling an elemental discomfort. I am cold. Simple.

The river hops down the rocks steadily while I found a few times sufficient for me. A seat on the bank became more appropriate. One where a glance of sun was making it through the clouds that acted as an incubator bringing me to a living warmth. All the while, down river the steadfast current is busily alive at Moulton Falls, and all the other spots—so after thawing we were off.

Moulten Falls Park has a slab of barren stone from a lava flow that would best be recreated if several cement trucks collided. Rock, and water trenching by in plashing form.

The grand architect installed jumping platforms and a basin of enough depth for diving and swimming. The structure draws a crowd for lounging and a dip. The collection of people communing with earth and water make it seem I drove up into an ancient civilization. Perhaps Duane and I did for the day.

After the river set me aside from fatigue I watched and listened to it for some time. Saw the river as a continued motion greater than my own life. That I will cease to move before this river does; ever more dependable than myself. And in rebuke Duane and I hauled ass in my fossil fuel burning car blasting rap while heading home to our apartment complex lives.

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