Pup Creek Falls・Mt. Hood National Forest・Estacada・Oregon・USA

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Pup Creek Falls...a juggernaut somehow tucked and hidden away along the ambling trail that flanks the Clackamas River and Highway 224 barely an hour's drive from Portland, Oregon. A 237-foot waterfall has no business sneaking up on you, but that's exactly what this guy does, revealing itself only after you embark on a short spur trail off the main path and round the last bend. This was my first hike coming back from medical residency in 2008, and it's proven to be the first step in a long, long journey of discovery, beauty, mindfulness, and ever-awakening that I hope never ends. It's odd to think you can stand before such enormous power and somehow have your most frenetic energies utterly quelled--entrained, as it were, by a force at once mighty but ever so refined. It's the way I feel when I listen to such prodigiously talented artists as Yo Yo Ma and Chris Botti wield their instruments with such gossamer touch that when it's all said and done, all your soul is left to sense is the sweet, sweet sound of music.

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