Technically, it wasn't so much a hike as a rescue mission. On Saturday Tokul returned home without a collar. Not a big deal, except it had all her tags on it and it was the second one I'd lost while out hiking. Yikes.
So when Amy suggested I go look for it and even volunteered to assemble my gear so I could go straight from the bus I jumped at the chance. If I found it early I might even be able to explore up the trail a little more.
After a couple of days hiking with the kids it's always amazing to me how quickly I can move without companions. The "long" hike that got us to the waterfall took only about 15 minutes and that was probably slow since I was watching the ground carefully for Tokul's red collar. Red sounds like a good color and something that'd be easy to spot, but in Fall with colors as red as a collar it was hard to pick anything out.
Luckily, she managed to shake her ID in an open spot on the trail so there was no chance I'd miss it. With her collar in hand (and being shaken to act as a makeshift bell for bears, elk, cougars, hunters, monkeys, elephants, and anything else that might have been out there) I continued past where we had turned back on the weekend and found myself looking down on the North Fork.
It's a pretty river with big rocks and fast water. The way down was over alternately hard and soft sand, but all of it was steep. It seems little in the valley is well suited to kids.
I clambered around on the rocks for a while taking pictures (man, do I need a tripod!) and slipped into the water with one boot (yee ha for waterproof boots, too bad my boots only go up so high), but had a great time anyway.
Even with futzing in the river I got back to the car just after seven. I'd only been out about an hour and managed about two miles and 400 feet of gain.