Father's Day means hiking. Since I acquired the title I've taken advantage of "my day" to force the willing and the not so willing to hit the trails. Check it out:
Franklin Falls in 2003
Barclay Lake in 2006
SMC Lake and Lake Nadeau in 2007
Not bad, huh? Three out of the five holidays on the trail. Well, now it's four out of six with this trip to Snoquera Falls. I even pushed it a little harder for a longer drive (almost an hour and a half) to get near Mt. Rainier for this one.
We got to the trailhead late in the morning. We'd slacked at home and I hadn't gotten all the necessary gear for a five person one dog outing together the night before. Tsk tsk. The kids were great in the truck, though, so it didn't see so long.
I had even taken the time early that morning to put the route into the fancy new GPS to see how it would do in the heavy trees on the trail. We started in and had no trouble... initially. There were signs (with incorrect mileage) pointing the way so we wandered through the open forest. Unfortunately, we came to an intersection of trails with no sign for the falls. Going straight/right seemed correct so we headed up the hill. But Mr. GPS said nope, the other way. Dang.
So down we went, but we didn't want to go down. We needed to be going up. I looked at the GPS again and the map and the compass and determined... uh... I don't know. Let me run ahead a little bit and see what's around the next corner. Nothing. Returning to Amy and the girls we decided to go back the way we had originally tried. Except I had to go look for Henry's hat, which was no longer on his head. Dang dang.
With hat in hand (ha!) I started back up the trail following the girls. Thankfully, they'd left me navigational aids along the way in the form of arrows made of goldfish. Tokul loved them. I was still a little uncertain, but this seemed like it must be the way. I had seen an abandoned trail right where the GPS said the real trail would be so that must have been the route I'd saved to the device. But then was the mileage on the sign ("3 miles") accurate? Were we on a six mile death march that was supposed to be three miles round trip?
A little further up the trail we met a couple coming down. They didn't know how to pronounce the name (neither did we), but they did say we were on the right trail. Sweet.
The girls traded off on holding hands and running ahead and using my trekking poles. Amy declared she wouldn't hike with them again if they had the poles, but once they were out there was no getting rid of them on this trip. The trail climbs steadily through mostly open forest so even though it was bright and sunny we weren't being baked.
Well, not until we got to the spot where the trail had been wiped out by a rock slide. A primitive scratch of a trail had been hacked out of the hill to bypass the worst of the damage, but it was a tad dicey with the girls on foot, Tokul under foot, and Henry on my back. (Still, it was better than the short distance I'd had Tokul on leash, Lilly on my shoulders, and Henry on my back. Ugh.)
We were slow crossing the slide, but found a nice spot by the creek to eat lunch. Unfortunately, it didn't have much of a view of the falls, but it did have a big rock that could be used to hide behind while doing one's business.
As we were finishing up I quickly crossed the creek and scrambled up a trail to get a better view of the falls. They were a double drop and very nice. Every once in a while a strong wind would blow the entire waterfall into the air and for a moment it was very quiet until it all came back.
Pictures taken I returned to the family and shouldered Henry. He hadn't been out of the pack, but was still in good spirits. Back across the rock slide and down the trail. We made great time even though Lilly was in full storytelling mode including waving her arms around for emphasis. After that she went Monkish on us and had to touch every tree we passed. There are a lot of trees.
By the time we got back to the car the kids were beat and only the promise of ice cream back in Enumclaw kept them awake. After Enumclaw it was the horrible rattle coming from under the hood that had us all alert. That rattle grew worse and worse, but the trusty truck got us home. We'd later find out that it was the bearings in the engine and that was a mortal wound for a nine year old car with 170,000 miles on it. The engine would cost almost as much as the truck was worth so now it's time to embark on the next adventure: Operation New Truck.
In spite of the misleading signs the trip to Snoquera Falls was about three miles and 1,500 feet of gain and a great way to spend Father's Day.