Impress your lady with a waterfall hike
Zach Urness/Daily Courier

Want to impress that someone special? Take them on a hike to a waterfall. Here’s how to make it happen.

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By Zach Urness of the Daily Courier

Gentlemen of the Rogue Valley, lend me your attention. This might be the most important column you’ve ever read.

Valentine’s Day was almost two months ago. Easter was a stressful holiday. And you’ve probably been watching a lot of college basketball lately, including last night’s NCAA championship between Duke and Butler.

I won’t say the lady in your life is unhappy. But she might be a tad weary. The gloom and stress of winter’s end can take its toll. With spring on the horizon, the time has come for you to show a little tenderness, to show her that you care.

The problem is that you might be running short on ideas. Maybe you’ve tried dinner and movie, and she hasn’t been impressed. Maybe you’ve tried buying flowers, only to feel like a big cliché. Heck, maybe you’ve even thought of writing her a little love note. Listen to me: Put. The. Pen. Down.

Because I’m here to help. And I’ll start by telling you something you might not know: Your lady loves the outdoors. Trust me, she does. You might not know it. She might not know it. But it’s true. And you can take advantage of this to plan a day she won’t forget.

There are a couple keys to the great outdoors date. First — and I cannot stress this enough — unless she’s tried it before, do not give your lady a high-powered rifle and take her hunting for Bambi’s mother. In my experience, this will not end well.

Fishing can absolutely work, but between the mutilation of nightcrawlers and snags it can get complicated. Also, fishing does not encourage communication on anything beyond fishing. That might be fine for you, but remember, it’s not about you this time.

There’s only one foolproof outdoors date: A short hike to a waterfall.

This simple, effective and cheap date provides both solitude and beauty. It simply cannot be topped. However, there still are a few important steps along the way.

1) If you have children, leave them at home. The outdoors is a great place for kids, but not today. Nothing will ruin the stress-free vibe of a hike more quickly than your kid falling off a cliff.

2) Pack a small lunch. I’d recommend turkey and marble jack cheese sandwiches (without mayo or mustard, because it gets soggy) packed in separate Ziplock bags. Then add a couple of drinks and granola bars into a backpack that YOU will carry.

3) Check the weather. As Rupert Holmes suggested, there’s nothing wrong with getting caught in the rain ... provided it’s a sprinkle. Getting caught in a windy downpour, however, is something not even 10 piña coladas can fix.

4) Pick the waterfall that’s right for you and your lady. The correct hike will be long enough that it gets you into the solitude of the woods, but short enough that you’re not exhausted by the end.

Here are four suggestions to get you started: Rainie Falls on the Rogue River (4 miles round-trip, on the Rogue River Trail), Illinois River Falls (1.2 miles round-trip, near the suspension bridge), Stuart Falls near Red Blanket Creek (8.6 miles round-trip, in the Sky Lakes Wilderness) and Fall Creek Falls near the North Umpqua River (1.8 miles round-trip).

Each of these waterfalls have their own unique virtue. I’ve visited all four, and if I had to choose one, it would be Fall Creek Falls just off the North Umpqua River. Despite the completely unoriginal name, this trip provides everything.

The hike is gorgeous and easy, traversing a mossy wooded canyon alongside the silver rivulet of Fall Creek. The waterfall itself is an immaculate 50-foot cascade — the largest of the four mentioned — plunging down into a misty, oval-shaped pool. Best of all, there’s a large downed tree that provides a place to sit, eat lunch and admire the beauty of both the waterfall and the lady sitting next to you.

I’ve done the best I can, guys. If you screw up a hike to a waterfall, there’s just not much that can be done for you. Good luck, and Godspeed!


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