Last time I conned Grandpa Jack into snowshoeing it was to Franklin Falls. We did it without kids and it went pretty well. Of course, he still remembers the time I tried to kill him in an attempt at Source Lake with Lilly, so I had to show him that I was capable of picking a sensible snowshoe.
This late in the season Gold Creek is about the only place with decent snow, flat, and with a a decent destination. Grandpa Jack showed up at about 10am and we (Clara, Lilly, Tokul, and the two responsible adults) were in the truck and at the Sno Park (no longer requiring permits) half an hour later.
The weather was looking good and although it wasn't really required we geared up with snowshoes. For me it was a chance to test my recently repaired 'shoes. (Atlas is a wonderful company to fix them free of charge after I snapped a strap at Lake Keechelus.) My big fear was that like the new Atlas models they would be overly springy and would flip snow over my shoulders. Turns out they were about half as springy as a new pair so that was acceptable.
The problem this time wasn't going to fast, but too slow. The girls aren't speedsters and I had intentionally left the Incredible Pulk at home because I figured they could make it 1.5 miles to the Pond.
We stopped right away for snack. Energy brownie bar was a required course and a little while later we had to have some water. Shortly after that we needed SHiBs.
At about half a mile Lilly declared she was done. I pushed her a little more, but then I gave in so we could at least get to the lake. The snow hadn't really melted much so there was still a big drop down to the lake surface, though the clouds destroyed any chance at depth perception. It all looked like a featureless white sheet. I dug a bench for the girls and we had lunch. Tokul, unfortunately, decided Clara's sandwich was her, but for some reason didn't eat or bolt when she snatched it out of Clara's hand. I was able to retrieve it and miraculously Clara accepted it back and finished it off.
Hot cocoa all around made us all happy and I took advantage of the smiles for a group photo on the ice.
The trip went downhill from there. We were able to get Clara to walk back about a third of the way, but then she was done. Lilly went onto Grandpa Jack's shoulders and and Clara was on mine. Half a mile doesn't sound like a long way, but carrying a monkey ain't pleasant for that far.
The biggest adventure of the afternoon might have been using the buried HoneyBuckets at the trailhead. We could get the door open just enough to get inside, but not enough to make it easy. The girls were troopers and good thing, too. Looking at the freeway we could see cars backed up for miles. There had been a slide just west of the summit that had stopped traffic and it was just starting. It took us an extra 30 minutes to get home. Naps were skipped, but nobody was the worse for wear.
Stats: 1.5 miles round trip with about 100 feet of gain.