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Swamps and Big Trees
posted by John : April 21, 2008

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It's not raining (yet)

It was our last day before Amy came home so certainly we needed to get out on a trail. We had a lazy breakfast and made our way to the Highpoint trailhead.

Daryl had told me a fair while ago that there was a cool little trail on the flanks of Tiger Mountain. The Swamp Trail ran through the middle of a swamp and had a story along the way. Cool.

We geared up and then geared up some more. Since it was, in fact, supposed to snow the girls were wrapped in Gore-Tex and fleece. Henry was in his warmest (aka jammies) and a snow suit. We were so well geared that we started getting hot almost immediately.

The Swamp Trail dropped a bit from the road and paralleled the swamp (and the freeway on the other side). We found the first of the story signs and I started reading. Lilly wasn't too interested and Henry was a captive audience. Clara was keen on the story, though.

We squelched from sign to sign and Clara became more and more concerned about the presence of an actual Swamp Monster. Dang. I gotta chill out on the performance.

The trail left the dry(ish) ground and followed along a series boardwalks through the bog. The girls were happy to look into the murky water and Clara told me about the time she saw a frog at Scout Lake. (I still don't remember that, but I'm tired of trying to convince her otherwise.)

The story kind of petered out leaving us without closure. So instead of heading back along the road up the power lines we continued across and jumped onto the Big Tree trail. The difference between the relatively open swamp and the enclosed evergreen forest was crazy. The ground was nice and dry so we made good time searching for the "Big Tree."

We saw lots of cool plants and some huge root balls from downed trees. The girls were having a great time pointing out various things to me and Henry. (Actually, I think they were talking to Henry and I was just in the way.)

The Big Tree was very impressive and very unphotogenic. We had a mini vote and decided we should continue going forward rather than back. Unfortunately, we found a bunny "sleeping" on the trail. It was made a little more confusing than you might expect since we had just seen an "awake" bunny running on our driveway.

The next five minutes as we hiked were spent trying to explain mortality to Lilly. I don't think she ever really got it, but Clara did. At least I think she understood about the rabbit. I'm not sure she understands it could happen to us. Reality sucks.

When we got to the next road (the lower part of Tiger Mountain is crisscrossed by roads) we started following it back to the car. I finally got in touch with Amy who was at a hotel in Ft. Lauderdale after getting booted off the ship. She sounded very relaxed, but not looking forward to the long plane ride home.

The walk back was spent mostly encouraging Lilly to try to keep up with Clara, asking Clara to slow down so Lilly could keep up, and finally trying to dodge the snow/hail that appeared from nowhere. (Actually it came from the storm we were warned about.)

We did a bunch of running and the running became splashing in puddles and the splashing became being wet. Amazingly, Lilly consented to being filmed during much of her craziness. Check it out, but only if you're ready for a full minute of wackiness.)

This getting wet phase was the girls' least favorite, but it was only near the end so we made it back to the car without too much real trouble. The girls stripped down and Henry was finally freed from his pack, but only to go into his carseat.

In total we did about two miles of almost completely flat hiking. It was a perfect trip for the girls and a great way to end the week without Amy.

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