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Things To Do When Its The End Of The World   by Richard Rockwell

Has the boredom set in yet? Cabin fever got you down? Right now wrestlers everywhere should be getting ready to watch the NCAA Wrestling Championship Semi-Finals but due to the Wuhan Virus, we are left with simulations and old champions of the past. People around us have had to let their lives come to a complete halt. Vacations have been put on hold, honey-do's are piling up and the natives among our house and getting restless. I've even been forced to close down our business temporarily in the midst of all this, but still trying to find some positives. Our day vacations may come to a halt but I find solice in the places I've been so far.

I can only watch so much wrestling, even if its my own kids. Break time for me consists of woodworking and day trips around the NW. My main job consists of hand making different products then selling them in our storefront, when I'm not working on wrestling rankings and writing. I am also spontaneous and will wake everyone up on a short notice and say, get dressed, we are going on an adventure.

Three years ago, I got a wild hair and thought at 40+, it would be a great time to take up hiking. Mostly hiking to waterfalls and bodies of water, which there is plenty of in our region of the US. So I did a little research and found our first hike, Tamanawa Falls. Off we went with absolutely no clue what to expect. An out of shape, somewhat old wrestler decided its time to see the outdoors, bad back and all. I'm sweating just talking about it, that's how out of shape I am. But as a wrestler, we can't back down from any challenge and I managed to make my way to the waterfall, even if I smelled like a wet donkey along the way. It was fun, it was hard, but I needed more. This simply wasn't going to do.

So I find a website that has a list of all the trails, hikes and waterfalls in our area and I find some that are suitable. Moderate sounds like a good rating that any normal person can accomplish, especially a noob such as myself. WRONG! Moderate is not like a mid level wrestling tournament. It's like entering the Doc B as a first time wrestler and you are way under-prepared. My Doc B hike would be called Wallace Falls in Gold Bar, WA. This was considered a moderate hike that was very photogenic. I would convince Hans and AJ to tag along, as well as my younger brother. I was convinced this would be a fun trip with some great pics along the way. Only one of those statements would prove to be true.

The first part of the hike consists of walking in an unshaded area with the sun beating down on you. Then comes the fun part. The "fun" I speak of was walking 2.5 miles up and down on uneven ground and jagged rocks. Elevation? What's that?

Pro tip- don't wear sandals for this hike. This was one of those hikes where if you had missed weight for a match and coach said "you're my partner tomorrow" and he proceeded to make sure your face touched every square inch of the mat, for two hours straight, it would be very comparable. Half way up I realize I've probably lost 5-6lbs of sweat and begin to check my pulse every so many steps.

"No human can sweat this much."
"Is that the waterfall? Nope that's just another hill."
"Waterfall yet?" Nope just sweat running down my face and into my eyes.
"Ahh there it is." Nope thats the lower waterfall.

HaHaHa, did I forget to mention this hike has four waterfalls and we've only reached the first one?  At this point I'm thinking I should've made my will.

A few more hundred feet up and we reach second waterfall. Its nice. Nice enough that I think that maybe this is good enough and I'll just tell everyone that I made it all the way. I tell myself to quit being such a wuss and muster the strength to carry on. Finally, after several more "I gotta sit down for a sec" we make it to Middle Falls. Middle Falls is typically where most people stop, as it has a great viewing area, a few benches to sit at that my feet appreciate and plenty of spots to take photos. We get our pics in and in doign so, AJ says "whats that?" Whats that would end up being one of the sketchiest decisions in my life.

We look down and some psychopath had made a trail through tree roots, rocks and branches, all the way down to the bottom of Middle Falls. Top that off with a 15 degree decline all the way down and of course my kids were like "we're going down." They are young and athletic so I knew they would fair well. I watch from the top as they slowly make their way down to the bottom. Its July, so of course they jump in for a quick swim. Meanwhile, I'm at the top with my brother thinking, if I were younger, I most definitely would've done the same thing. Then I pause and say "f*** it," and make my way towards the trail.

My brother says "wtf are you doing?"
"Listen, I am never doing this hike ever again and if my fat ass don't find a way down there, I will regret it forever."

So I make my way down, hanging on to the branches, rocks, dirt and anything I can so I don't die. Part of the way, I just hugged the hillside and slide my way down, until I reached the bottom. I get to the bottom and Hans and AJ say "wtf are you doing down here?" I repeat what I told my brother and they say "how are you getting back up?"

"That's what you two are for. If you gotta carry my fat ass back up, that's how it'll have to be."

They laugh and we take a few pics, while enjoying the scenery. I was pretty surreal however I was not looking forward to the climb back up.

Time to get brave and make my way back up. Climbing seems to be a little harder for a fat man than going down a hill. Weird. A bear crawl most of the way back up and couple of times we have to use teamwork for all of us to make it, but we manage to get back to the viewing area. Wait, we still have to walk all the way back down to the truck. Cool. No problem, let me just take this last sip of our water and start walking. No big deal. I tell them to go ahead because I'll just slow them down. Soon they disappear ahead of me and I'm alone. Imagine walking up and down a hill once. Now imagine doign that 40 more times all the way down. I'm reminded that my sweat is mucho grande and the smell is similar to the times I spent helping my grandma with her pig farm.

As I waddle my way down, I keep reminding myself how dumb this was and that I'll never do this again. Every step I think I can see the parking lot, only to be disappointed every time. Eventually I see the sun and know I'm getting close. Just a little more further and I'll have a cold one waiting for me. And then there it truck. Finally. I puff my chest out to make it seem like it wasn't that hard. Kind of like the first time you cut weight in a sauna, start to hallucinate, make a break for the door and your heavyweight grabs you and pulls you back in, then you step on the scale and make weight and say "that wasn't that bad." That was my attitude at this point. It wasn't that bad. I get to the truck and see my boys and brother and await them handing me something to drink. Instead I'm met with a phone from Hans and he says "we told mom we are at the ER right now because you fell down the cliff and had to be life flighted out of there."


Middle Wallace Falls
Middle Wallace Falls

Hans and AJ at the bottom.

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