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  • Writer's picturestephenriella

What time?

Mountain stream reflections
Reflections from a still pool

"You want to come with me tomorrow?" I asked, knowing what the answer would most likely be. A general look of concern swept over my wife's face. "What time?" Ahhhh! The question I couldn't give the right answer to right out of the gate! "3:15," I responded, in a tone that was not the most confident. Who wakes up at 3:15 in the morning willingly? "Yeah, that's a firm no." At least she responded in a laughing tone. I'm lucky that she doesn't mind my outdoor issues.

I packed up my things and made my way to bed. I always feel like I'm about 100 years old when I pack it in on Saturday night at 9:00 PM but what can you do? I have to sleep at some point.

Oddly, I woke before the alarm. I had a plan to hike a minor peak I had never been on. I whipped up some coffee and made sure to put on more layers of clothes than one could ever need. The drive was pretty mundane. A lot of listening to music and letting my mind wander on what I might see and how I could capture it. I arrived at the same time I always seem to. How can you wake up an hour earlier than normal and still, barely make sunrise? This is a constant battle for me, maybe I need to shorten the trips? Nah!

Sunrise in the Witchita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge

I made my way in on a trail after snapping a few sunrise images at a nice vantage point. It was brisk, but the wind was calm and I was making great time towards my trail exit and then I heard it. A faint sound in the distance. I may be a mountain junky, but I know that sound. Water.

My mind was moving a mile a minute. "Falls? Perfect! I need to find those now!" I moved as quickly as I could in the opposite direction to find the smallest stream trick me. The echo in the canyon was louder than expected. I tiny stream had seemingly foiled my original plan. I walked a bit further and I saw a sign for falls and thought, " Ya came this far out of your way Riella, what's a few more feet?"

I arrived at the falls, if you could call them that. The water wasn't moving much but it did give a great chance to see some stunning reflections. I figured I couldn't miss out on a good shot so I set up and snapped away.

A calm pool in a mountain stream. Witchita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge

"Ahhh what the? What happened to my glove?!" Turns out in my excitement, I managed to plop it right in the water. SMOOTH MOVE! I tossed the glove in the backpack and moved on. I figured, after finding two amazing areas to capture reflections, it was worth wandering a little further to see what else I could find.

A short way up the stream I was met with another fantastic view. I sat down pulled the tripod and camera out and began to snap away. I enjoyed the rest of my morning hopping from rock to rock, scrambling the sides of cliffs and enjoying a beautiful landscape.

Canyons in Witchita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge
Canyons and Mountains

Not every adventure needs a great plan, but you do need to wake up early to have them. Watch out for your gloves!

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