Two avid hikers and a dog I know, all to be nameless, set out to hike from Triple Decker Falls to Riverside Crescent at the start/end of the Clearwater River Trail. Since one was a local, she knew two cars would be needed. Leaving her car tucked into the subdivision turn-around, the out-of-towner double-checked to ensure her car was locked and that she had the keys. Now in one car, they drove to, then parked in, the small space near Candle Creek to begin their multi-hour hike. “Do you have your keys?” inquired the visitor, after they’d hidden their valuables, and began walking. Fastening these carefully into an inside clip, the local ensured that all was under control.
Conquering the initial steep descent was a little easier than expected, for besides the sturdy wooden rail fence, recent rains had slightly embedded the notorious roly-poly stones on that part of the path. Candle Creek could be heard trickling gently beside them. Turning down the narrow steep trail to the foot of the falls, they were soon ogling that 3-tiered cascade, its curtains of water not quite hiding the cliffs behind it on this fall day.
Back up on the main trail our heroines enjoyed the gentler terrain and varied growth that led them on to the next steep bit. Both gulped a bit, even though the sight was a familiar one to the local gal. Thoughtful earlier hikers had attached a short strong rope to a tree for the worst bit, right at the top, but it’s still a challenging, scrambling descent for these not-so-young ladies. One has foot and ankle “owies” and the other is still teaching her relatively new hip how to cope with awkward terrain.
Easier slopes led them downwards until a short trail had them looking at an awesome view of Clearwater River. “Let’s have lunch here at Osprey Viewpoint.” With dog safely attached to a tree, lunch was munched while watching the river below dashing over rapids, producing white water galore. Leaving this 5-star view our ladies gamely (pun?) carried on past brush and trees sporting varied fall colours, soon reaching Candle Creek Falls. Here one thirsty dog did his best to drain the creek before they crossed it on the sturdy bridge just below the falls. Eventually the trail climbed through a rock fall until it came up against a solid wall – sort of. Lava from long ago has hardened into columns and geometric shapes which towered above their heads as they walked beside it for quite a distance. In one pretty, mossy section, water trickled out between the cracks. Another short but steep incline strewn with tiny “marbles” had two ropes which assisted both hikers in descending safely.
Following blue dots, signs, and some fresh orange ribbons for one tough section, the trio stayed on Clearwater River Trail most of the way. Reaching a lovely beach not far from the visitor’s car, some 8 km and five and a half hours after leaving him, they phoned the local’s husband to announce safe arrival close to civilization. Having also told him they were going for an ice cream and it was too bad that he was missing out, they felt guilty. A second call informed him they’d come and pick him up. On the move again and almost at the car, the visitor stopped abruptly. “Oh no! I put my keys in my purse. They’re in your car back where we started!” Walking back along the road, and uphill to fetch them, was not an option.
They had to phone afore-mentioned husband a third time: “Please come and get us!”