The “old” forest emerges again, and soon I plunge back into tall trees and more waterfalls.
At exactly the time I promised I’d turned back, I reach my favorite waterfall on this trail, which also marks the farther east I’ve ever climbed. I pause to step out on a rockbar in front of the falls, snap a photo for a family who want a group shot in front of the falls (only the fourth group of people I’ve encountered), and then snap my own photo. I feel euphoric and I want to keep hiking farther. I look at my watch it is 12:44. I can turn back, or walk for another 15 minutes with the idea that the trek downhill will be faster than the trek uphill was. I decide to continue 16 minutes.