Roll #17: Go the Distance

Updated: Feb 20

Weekends are great. They're full of exploration, waking up late, mid-morning chocolate-chip Kodiak Cakes Pancakes with Kirkland Signature 100% Pure Grade A Maple Syrup (it's a tradition), and naps.


Occasionally, the weather throws a wrench in these well-orchestrated weekend plans. While some aspects go on without a hitch (waking up late & pancakes), other key weekend activities (exploration & naps) are thrown out of balance. How can one nap if no exploration takes place to generate tiredness? As rain fell heavy and uninterrupted, the only exploring I could do was on Netflix and Prime Videos. Not the exploring I had wanted. Occasionally, I would make my way to the window, hands pressed against glass, to see if there would soon be a break in the weather. In these moments, I pondered what would break first, the weather or my spirit.


Saturday came and went.


Sunday was essentially Saturday reincarnate. Until, for a brief moment, the rain stopped.


Elated, I grabbed a cheap camera (Canon Sure Shot 80 Tele), roll of cheap film (Kentmere BW 100), and like a shooting star, hopped into my ride. The entire weekend, I had dreamed of a far off place, but not knowing how long the weather would cooperate, I needed to go somewhere close. Unfortunately, I couldn't go the distance but I still wanted the heroes welcome. Where would I go?


I would go to Patapsco Valley State Park. A mere 6 miles away. A place I had been once before. After what felt like a thousand years in waiting, I was on my way. Would the journey be worth the wait?


As I turned into the park, I deposited $2 worth of quarters, dimes, and nickels into the honor box. Then, I continued onward. Down an unknown road to embrace my fate. I wouldn't look back. Though the road wandered as I made my way deeper into the park, I knew, it would lead me to a place...a place where I belonged.

The road eventually came to an end. I was greeted by what appeared to be an abandoned State of Maryland work truck. Aside from a busted windshield and well-loved interior, it appeared to be in running condition.

Finding myself alone, I stepped out of my car and made my way towards a worn wooden sign. It read "Lost Lake." I brought my eyes to the horizon and sure enough, there was a lake. The body of water was surrounded by trees, a bench, and a wooden fence, to which the years had not been kind.

Abandoned lake.

After a few moments of admiration and deep breaths, I started to walk away. Over the crunching of my feet on the gravel, I heard a voice. At first I couldn't make out where it was coming from or what was being said.


I paused.


I waited.


There it was again! This time, clearer than ever: "Can you tell me how to get to the Tidal Basin?"


The question was repeated over and over. With each repetition, the water of the lake rippled. It was the lake asking me the question! It truly was a lost lake. [laugh track plays loudly] After I gave detailed directions, we parted ways. The lake towards the tidal basin and I towards the nearest trail.


The trail was framed in green. A beautiful contrast from the dark earth which paved the trail.

Excited, I started running...until I encountered a steep, uphill slope. They say a hero's strength is measured by his heart and after a few strides, mine was about to jump out of my chest. My pace quickly slowed. I absorbed my surroundings. The trail was a roller-coaster of sorts. Ups. Downs. One big loop. I had arrived at the end and it was the beginning.


As I pondered the existential questions tied to this recent trail experience, I headed to another. This time I knew it had an end and this end was called Cascade Falls.


Once again, upon arriving at the trail head, I was alone. Blame it on the weather. The recent rains had added to the power of the falls. The trail ran in parallel to a mighty stream; the waterfall's aftermath. A rumble echoed along the trail. With each step, the intensity of the rumble increased.


A light rain began to fall, bigger drops formed on the leaves above and eventually plummeted to the ground below.


Turning a corner, I get my first glimpse of the falls.

Water methodically fell from the rocks above. Moments, later I had made it. I had gone the distance. All 400 meters. Pulling off my shoes and socks I waded into the water until I was knee deep. Cold water soothed my not-so-sore muscles. Songbirds hovered around me. Their tweets a soundtrack signaling the journey's end. I had found my hero's welcome.


Camera: Canon Sure Shot 80 Tele

Film: Kentmere 100 (B&W)

When: May 2019

Where: Patapsco State Park (Avalon Area), Maryland

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Washington, D.C., USA 

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©2019 by Taylor Mackay