Mandatory history links here, here and here. See? It is the fourth annual New Year's Day hike. I don't make this stuff up. (Well, not all of it.)
This year's plan was to tackle Holder Knob on Taylor Mountain. It's close by, promised killer views of Rainier, and a well maintained trail system. What could possibly go wrong? (Aside from the fact that we were going for Holder Knob and the trip report is titled Holder Ridge. Hmm...)
The big attraction at the trailhead should have been the horses. In reality, it was the ice. A big, frozen, skating rink of a puddle. With poles in hand the kids tried to access the void below, but to no avail. It was locked up tight.
On the trail we crawled up the first slope. Then we crawled up the second slope. Henry, usually the laggard, was making good time. He was clearly trying to show off for little Ava who was new to this tradition. She seemed to like it, though she couldn't decide if she wanted to hold Daryl's hand or mine. Coming around the corner we found a perfect little bench and viewpoint. Definitely time for some snack. After all, we'd hiked a full half mile.
Above the viewpoint the trail looped around a little high point that we should have declared was Holder Knob and retreated. Never one to fudge (too much of) the truth, we pushed on toward the real Holder Knob. Unfortunately, this meant we had to descend quite a way to cross a creek. With a long uphill traverse (long being relative to the average leg length of the party) we opted to chill out with hot cocoa and treats. The kids took turns opening their mouths while I threw things at them. It was kind of like throwing at the dunk tank, but with more delicious results.
Sated, we saddled up and climbed to the intersection with the Holder Knob spur trail. By this time it was clear we ought to bypass the summit and head for home via the road walk part of the loop. An ignoble end to and otherwise noble trip. We completed the loop with only a few extra potty breaks, one wipeout, and a few mutterances (yes, I made that word up) questioning why we were actually hiking in the first place.
Tradition. That's why. New Year's Day is like Father's Day and Thursdays. You hike, dang it. You just hike.
Totals: Three miles and 600 feet of gain.