To describe it charitably would be to say, "It sucketh." Why'd we go? Because it was close (ish) to home, is on the list of King County high points with at least 400 feet of prominence, and with a departure time of 11am I could probably get the kids back in time for rest.
An hour drive from home to a spur road attempting a return to forest courtesy of spindly little alders the kids could mostly duck under, but that I had to bash through. Clara learned the meaning of the term, "branchslap," and proceeded to use it repeatedly. She had many opportunities.
The alder-road ended at a logging landing covered in six inch diameter, barkless, mossy logs. It was wet (though not raining, thank goodness for small blessings), and we slowly made our way across the logs (and sometimes punching through) to semi-solid ground beyond. No trail, so the girls and Tokul took turns pushing through the dead lower mini-branches of fledgling hemlocks with a general direction from Mr. GPS and from me. ("Go up.")
I feared the "summit" would be nothing but more of the same, but I was pleasantly surprised that it opened up enough that we could see the sky (it was REALLY dark in the worst of the hemlock forest) and there was a mossy/rocky area to sit. There's a decent sized stump (four feet in diameter) that was the technical high point so I hoisted the kids up for a picture. There was even a partial view to the south. Henry wanted to see Rainier ("Ain-R"), but we settled for Fuller Mountain and the Moon Wall of Mt. Si.
Although I had broken as many of the dead branches as I could on the way up, the girls led us down a different way so now there are two broken-branched routes on the "mountain." We popped out on the alder road before the landing and had an easier time of the logs. Henry took his only really major dive of the day right at the car, but treats solved that problem.
I got everyone in the car and went to turn the key... but it wouldn't turn. The one thing that really keeps me from truly exploring the "wilds" of Hancock is the fear that I'd be stuck MILES from home/cell coverage (Mr. iPhone said full bars with 3G, but no data or voice connectivity because AT&T lies) with the kids and a dead car. Fighting back the urge to just wrench on the key I tried everything from unlocking the doors to locking the doors to pushing the panic button on the key fob to checking all the doors to make sure they were locked to... Finally it just clicked and turned. No idea what that was about.
But the drama doesn't end there! I figured I'd be a gentleman and return the car sparkly clean even though it was starting to rain. We detoured through Snoqualmie and popped Mr. Debit Card (there were a lot of misters on this trip) into the car wash machine only be to told it wouldn't authorize. Had I been Miltoned? Did they fire me, stop paying me, but forget to tell me? No. My magnetic butt has apparently killed another card or at least damaged it enough so the reader wouldn't work. I was able to buy tokens around the corner and get the car washed after all.
Total distance: 0.33 miles and 150 feet of gain.
Clara: Daddy! You branchslapped me, AGAIN!
Lilly: I liked it a lot except the logs and the no trail and the stickers and the icky stuff in my hair. Can we do it again? (Lilly also gets bonus credit because she will now answer, "Why did we climb ____ mountain?" "Because it was there!")
Henry: Do it myself! Daddy, help!