"Hiker Mama" has been organizing kids hikes during the week through nwhikers for a long time. I typically miss these since they are during the week. When I realized I'd be home for the week while Amy was away I dropped her a message and we were on.
We met at the Redmond Watershed Preserve at 9:30. Jennifer (Hiker Mama's real name) had brought her two kids and also a friend (Owen) who had brought his two kids. Let's see... one, two, three, seven million kids with just three adults (I'm including myself, right or wrong) to keep them in line. Luckily, Clara was in ok spirits and Henry was mostly quiet. Lilly was prone to swinging her poke (one of my trekking poles) around and wanted to be the line leader, but otherwise it was mostly good.
We started on the Trout Loop that wound through the trees and above Mackey Creek. At only 0.6 miles long it didn't seem like it should take too long. Of course, with six little kids to herd it took a fair while. One of the biggest problems for me was that Clara wanted to hike with me at the back while Lilly wanted to charge along at the front. For me to get to the front to deal with Lilly meant I had to pass all the others.
I frequently tried to get her to change her behavior by calling out to her, but as with Tokul it wasn't terribly successful. Worse, I called Lilly Clara more than once, which really confused Clara, did no good with Lilly, and probably made all the other hikers unsure of who was who.
It wasn't much of a surprise that we completed the short loop pretty quickly. It seemed prudent to pause for heavy snacks/light lunch. The kids took maximum advantage of their newfound energy and ran around the small grass area. Clara and Lilly started picking flowers from the lawn. Each would pick a flower, run to me, open my pocket (I wasn't allowed to help), cram the flower in, and run back for more.
Unfortunately, the other kids had to head to school up in Edmonds so they took off. Clara and Lilly weren't ready to head home and worse, had an incomplete scavenger hunt sheet to finish.
Jennifer had brought pages with pictures of things to find. We had crossed off everything other than a bridge, a pond, and a tree that had a face.
Across the parking lot from the Trout Loop was the Treefrog Loop. The Trout Loop was short, but the Treefrog Loop was even shorter. At only 0.3 miles it hardly seemed a hike, made worse by the fact it was paved. No matter. Hiking is hiking. Lilly used the trekking poles while Clara and I looked for the remaining items on the list.
We had no problem finding the bridge (two, actually) or the pond, which was a gorgeous wetland full of ducks and submerged logs and stumps. The tree with a face proved significantly more difficult. Clara started seeing faces in all the trees we looked at, but I held her off until we found one that really did look like it had a face.
With the list completed we headed back to the truck and home. We wound up in the sun as we shed coats and sweaters at the car, but the girls still insisted on covering up with blankets, which was a tradition from snowshoeing.
Henry got the bum end of the whole day. He was barely out of the pack and when he was it was only to get into the truck for the ride home. Oh, well. Next year will be different. (And really, it was Tokul that got the bum deal since the Watershed doesn't allow pets.)
Total stats were 0.9 miles and maybe 100 feet of gain.