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Westberg Trail
posted by John : June 20, 2009


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Traffic jam on the Westberg Bridge


Last weekend we tried for our traditional Father's Day family hike. The original plan was to go east to the "desert" for a hike, but the weather promised thunderstorms and other nasties so we did Little Si instead. (Well, Clara, Lilly, Tokul, and I did.)

The reason we had fake Father's Day was that Amy was going to be gone for real Father's Day. An equally important tradition states that when Amy's gone we go hiking. Sorry. I don't care if you want to or not. Tradition cannot be denied.

So we went to the desert.

Or at least Thorp.

You know. Thorp! The exit before Ellensburg. (Don't tell me you don't know where Ellensburg is.)

We arrived at about 10:30 after about an hour and a half on the road. Pretty good time without breaking too many laws. The girls were sporting new hiking pants (with zip-off legs) so they were excited just to get out. I was excited by the blue sky, but still mild temperatures. As we started it was in the low 70s.

The trail has many branches, but we took the most direct route even though the "Boy Scout" turnoff promised more shade. Who needs shade! We have sunscreen, after all. Henry was in the pack so we made pretty good time up the trail in spite of potty breaks, sandwich breaks, and random hey-look-that-grasshopper-is-riding-that-other-grasshopper-piggyback breaks. (I kid you not.)

We were passed by many, but none so strange as the JV football camp. It was amazing how the boys could be so encouraging to the girls and so mean to their fellow players. As with any group, there were faster climbers and slower climbers. The slower climbers bore the brunt of many a called name, but the name callers were always just out of reach.

About a third of a mile from the top (the climb was about 2.2 miles one way) Henry declared he'd had enough of the pack and wanted out. Yeah, sure ok. I was sure he'd want right back in, but he and the girls set a good pace up the last 300 feet of vertical to the summit.

Where there were trucks. And fancy dresses. And a wedding about to start.

No, no. Don't mind us. We're just the smelly dirty folk who walked to the top. Oh well.

The girls signed their first summit register while Henry wandered around with his water bottle. We were about to head down when word rippled through the crowd that the bride was arriving... on horseback. (It was Thorp, after all.)

So we waited and then tried to slip out unnoticed. Unfortunately, the girls really wanted to meet the horse so we intruded just a touch and they got to pet its nose.

Henry was back in the pack with a cork for the ride down. We made great time and only stopped to look at more stages in the grasshopper circle of life. This time it was a sleeping grasshopper being helped by a bunch of ants.

Henry woke up just before we were back at the car. When we arrived the girls climbed into the back and nearly fell asleep. Tokul hid from the sun under the truck. Henry was all energized and ready to hike again. Me? I was just burned. Too bad I'd concentrated so much on the little ones and forgot to apply and goo to myself.

We stopped for ice cream on the way back and all was right in the world.

Total distance for this semi-non-traditional Father's Day hike was 4.4 miles with 1,670 feet of gain.

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