October 2006 - Article 3
by Jessica Kuzmier
So, here we were, at Bushkill Falls, the Niagara of Pennsylvania. Now what?
It was already getting a little colder by the time we reached the falls, even though we were further south from our house. Probably the mountain air versus the air that was surrounded by sea, which wouldn't be all that surprising in and of itself, but enough of a jolt that it surprised my rather cold arms. Of course, we were figuring this out just as we were getting to leave. Which meant that now that we were at our first destination, I had to go back into the van and find my jacket. Which should have been an easy task, seeing that I hung it up in the back on its own hook.
Of course, nothing is that easy when you travel, or at least, it seems that way when something goes wrong. It's almost as if you have to earn your way through it, like some kind of travel god has it in for you, testing to see if you're worthy to make it to the next destination. For whatever reason, I couldn't find my jacket, so now here I was, rummaging through our clothes, and getting goose bumps all over my arms. It was partially the cold, but partially excitement. Throughout my search, I kept thinking about the waterfall that was just behind me, anticipation, in a way, that my trip was just beginning. I didn't find the jacket, but I found a long sleeved shirt, and changed into that. The cold was satisfied, but not my excitement.
There are several ways to get through Bushkill Falls. The main attraction is known as the Bridal Veil Falls, similarly named to its counterpart in Yosemite Park. You can see this on the observation deck, but we wanted a little more adventure than that. Two other ways to explore the park are a fifteen minute trail, and a two hour hike. Although I would have loved to walk around the part and taken the longer hike, it was getting later in the day and there was still a lot of driving to do. So the fifteen minute trail overlooking the falls is what we went for.
There are several bridges and viewing areas where you can see the falls, and the other attractions of Bushkill Falls. I spent my time maneuvering up and down the stairs, watching my step and what was around me. After being in the van for so long, my equilibrium was a bit off. But the view was wonderful. I was surrounded by nature. The bustle of my city life had been burned in the rubber that had taken me here. Not much had to be said, because the falls, in its song, was saying it all. As we got closer and closer to the falls, its story become the front show, and the logistics of nonsense I experienced before became a memory that I seemed to have made up as a joke.
I'd been to Niagara Falls about a year earlier, on both the Canadian and New York side. I heard from others that the Canadian side was supposedly better, but I didn't find that to be true. On the Canadian side, I saw a promenade and a nice view. That's what it was, nice. But on the New York side, I got the opportunity to walk below the falls, have the spray right in my face. I bonded with strangers as we stood on the platform feeling the falls hose us down, relishing in the exuberance that comes from an experience that hardly is ever met. That experience in Niagara Falls was the last time that I had seen a waterfall, and now I was here, at Bushkill.
I stood on the promenade, looking at the waterfall. Occasionally, a raindrop of spray danced over to me, as though the waterfall was flirting with me, playing a coy game. The air was even cooler with the mist of water falling all around us. Even with my longer-sleeved shirt, I felt a little cold, if I thought of it. But really, I didn't. I just watched the waterfall. Everything seemed still at that moment. I couldn't distinguish any other voice. Our dog MacGyver, after enthusiastically greeting all who was around him, suddenly was still. The fact that we were over a hundred miles from home and another hundred from where we would stay was also far away. The only thing real was the waterfall.
I don't long we stayed there, maybe ten minutes, maybe an hour. Eventually MacGyver wanted to move around, being a dog on the hunt for a new smell, and I realized I was cold. More people showed up, disrupting our sanctuary of silence. I made my way back up the stairs and on the bridge, as cumbersome as before holding dog and videotape, but on the way back it didn't seem as apparent on the way down, as though the natural beauty of the waterfall had woven some kind of magic.
And in the end, later that night, I found the jacket that had been so important to me in the beginning. As the way these things go, there it went, hanger and all, wedged in the back between the bed and the back door. Vindicated that I hadn't been remiss with my supplies, and satiated from the long day, I could remember the falls and its ripple of water that stayed in my ears.
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