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Fantastic Falls
posted by John : September 17, 2008

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I'm going hiking with Daddy!

After two half-hearted attempts to find the fantastically named "Fantastic Falls" I had all but given up on the trip. It wasn't supposed to be long or (too) difficult, but it fell into that category of trip that wasn't worth burning a whole day on, but more than I usually had time for on the spur of the moment.

The one part that stuck in my head (and my inbox) were directions to the waterfall from a waterfall fanatic who had spent far more time looking for and finally finding the waterfall. I'd been gathering dust at the bottom of my mailbox for almost a year when the volunteering training class at Clara's school ran short. I'd planned upwards of an hour, maybe an hour and a half, for the training, but it was closer to 15 minutes than an hour.

At home, Henry was asleep and Clara was still at school. It'd been ages since Lilly and I had done anything just the two of us and although there are plans on the calendar for me and Clara to go on an overnight there's nothing like that for Lilly. We scrambled hard and with Amy's help we were out the door by 10:30 with a return time of "lunch."

The drive to the "trailhead" took 20 minutes since it was all the way across "town" just before entering the Hancock "farm." Along the way we practiced Lilly's ABCs and I tried to impress upon her the need to be speedy.

The directions for finding the trail were spot on and in fact they were perfect the whole way. He had warned me about it being steep and slippery and that it wasn't a good spot for kids, but cha! He doesn't know my kids. My kids are trail divas and they can do anything.

We picked blackberries (Tokul, too), looked at the unfamiliar northwest wall of Mt. Si, and wandered down the old logging road at a decent pace. (Well, decent for Lilly, anyway.) The two logs across the trail were right where they were supposed to be and the trail that dropped down the slope was just after that. It was also marked with an empty beer can and a Crown Royale bag that Lilly insisted was a hat. ("Someone will be very unhappy they lost their hat!")

We turned at the next trail intersection (who knew there would be so many trails down here?) and when it started down the hill again I realized Tony, my guide from afar, had not been exagerating the difficulty.

Now, before you read any more or look at the pictures (too late, I know) remember that I'd never do anything that would put the kids at risk. (Me? Well, maybe, but not the kids.) So when I say there was a rope to assist in the descent (two actually), and I parked Lilly on a ledge overlooking the water just keep in mind that she was perfectly safe all along. Plus she had her whistle ready to blow if I fell in the water.

Unfortunately, with Lilly in tow I really couldn't get a clear shot of the falls. As nasty as the part we'd come down was the side trail that went to a clear viewpoint of the falls themselves was even worse and I drew the line there. Instead we threw rocks into the deep pool below the cliff and ate mini-Oreos for snack.

Tokul was none too happy about being so close to the river, but still dry so she tried to go down further. Then she couldn't get back up. So after I put Lilly higher on the slope where she couldn't get into trouble I went back for Tokul and "coaxed" her with the leash back up to Lilly.

The walk out was, as usual, nothing special. Lilly did have a blast picking blackberries for sharing and laughed when Tokul demonstrated her own picking and eating skillz. We were back at the car at about 12:30 and home just before 1pm. Great timing for lunch and if she'd have bothered to take a nap it would have worked out well for swim lessons. Oh well, it can't all be good.

Total hiking distance was about 1.8 miles with 300 feet of gain. Pretty good if you're only three and a half or you only have a couple of hours to cross off another hike on your list.

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