Journal Entry: 06.30.15 / by Ryan Lee

I had the opportunity to take a trip back to Washington State this past Summer. I spent most of the time visiting and catching up with friends, on one occasion we decided to take a short trip to go cliff jumping at Alder Lake.

My friend Daniel and I, whom I was staying with got off to a pretty late start running into an inconceivable amount of traffic on the way to meet up with our two other friends we were going with, Jessica and Silas. We ended up arriving almost 2 hours later than we had anticipated so we quickly packed up and headed on our way to the lake which was about a couple hours away.

Grateful that the day was forgiving enough to stay light upon arriving around 7 PM, we parked and were on our way to the park where the cliff was. That is until we were stopped by a local woman who lived nearby to tell us that the park was closed indefinitely for various reasons and that we wouldn't be able to get in. We considered trespassing until we spotted the gate guard staring at us. The woman told us there was another area we could go to if we took an alternate path and then journeyed on an animal trail. While walking, we kept looking for this animal trail that was described to us but couldn't seem to find anything that resembled it. Eventually, we ran into a small landfall that lead to the lake.

I don't go hiking very often; I'm not a huge outdoors man. However, on the rare occasions I do find myself out there, adventure is all I crave. The opening leading to the water was admittedly a bit strenuous looking, but with the hot Summer weather in ours midst, I was just eager to jump in the cool water. Silas and I suggested we just make our way down. Dan and Jess weren't as keen to the idea, so they decided to keep walking in case they could find the so called animal trail we were told about.

I'll be honest, the trip down that little landfall was more difficult that I had anticipated, but when Silas and I finally reached the other side, it seemed well worth it. The landfall opened up to a flat, pebble beach decorated with several large trimmed tree stumps, starting from the overgrown grass behind the beach all the way to the water. To make the scene even more breathtaking, we reached it right as the sun was beginning its descent. The amber sun casting elongated shadows of the tree stumps as still water mirrored everything around it, it looked like something from a video game.

Thinking we had finally found a place where we could settle down and start cooking a belated dinner, I put down my things and started heading back to see if I could assist the others. I was fairly disappointed to find the rest of the group opted to find another place due to the vigor of climbing down the landfall. It was understandable, but having seen the other side, I found it a little upsetting to pick up my bags and head back. Although it wasn't a total loss; making our way to that small area let us see where the cliff we wanted to jump from was. The water level had fallen a good 20-30 feet than where it was last year. I'd heard that Washington would have a dry Summer this year, but this was a beyond what all of us had expected.

At this point the sun was rapidly setting so we agreed to head back to the car and drive to another park on the lake to hang out for at least an hour or two so the trip wouldn't be for nothing. We found ourselves racing the light as we rushed to this other park that upon arriving we found was closed for the night. Slightly frustrated, we remembered a small picnic opening along the lake we'd passed on the way so we hastily ventured back with a good hour of decent light to spare.

From that point on our time was pretty fun, as short as it was. I'll admit, our evening ended up significantly less than what I had expected, but the almost comedic unfortunate events that happened upon each other one after the other was quite an experience. If nothing more, I still enjoyed the company of my friends along the way.