Day four without Amy and the first one without school getting in the way. Wednesday and Friday, I only had time to run up Little Si while Henry was in school. Thursday, he and I had a little more time and explored the Pratt Connector, but still were required to be home in time for the naps or at least to meet the girls. Today was Saturday and it was OUR day to play.
Heck, we even had good weather. Yeah! In September on a Saturday! I know!
So out the Middle Fork road we drove again. Just like on Thursday, but a little farther this time. We turned to head up toward the Dingford trailhead and promptly drove right past the trail we were looking for. Hmm... GPS says we missed it. Turn around and look again. Is this seriously a trail? Could that be it?
Well, sure, why not? We've done other trips where we couldn't find the trail and had a good time in spite of it. Why would this be any different?
A quick bash through the brush and we could see something that could be taken for a trail, especially if you were in the last stages of hypothermia and sure the tent was just around the corner and you just needed to find the trail. Yeah, it was that good.
But something of a trail is better than nothing of a trail so we followed it as it climbed. Parts were well trodden with actual dirt underfoot. Others were missing entirely and we were walking on thick mats of moss. With the sun coming through the trees in spots it was very relaxing.
About half way up we found a ledge and could see a bit of a view. I trusted that I hadn't been led astray and this wasn't all there was. More of the "trail" headed up so Clara scouted ahead. Henry and Lilly were happy to wander with me looking at trees and mushrooms until Clara declared she'd found the way.
Soon the way became less and less mossy and more just dead forest. Like Mailbox. One of my favorite places. Blech.
But just like Mailbox, we popped out of the dead woods with killer views down the Middle Fork valley. I put a stick in the ground and declared that was as far as anyone could go. Beyond that, certain death. (Ok, not "certain" death, but probably "certain" evacuation by extremely expensive helicopter.)
So instead of tempting fate, we had Cheetos. Yes, I realize eating Cheetos probably is tempting fate, but man they taste great. How could anything that glows like Cheetos not taste great? I know what you're thinking. My GOD! The orange stains!
a) We're in hiking clothes so stains just add character.
b) We have a dog and dogs also love Cheetos. Orange fingers were no longer a problem. However, the Humane Society might come after us for feeding Cheeto dust to Treen.
We hung for a while before turning for home. We'd seen nobody on our trail (though we could see someone beside a bright orange tent on a gravel bar in the river) and we wouldn't see anyone until we got back to the car.
It wasn't far (less than a mile round trip), but was pretty steep (704 feet of gain). It felt really isolated and adventuresome, especially for little legs that are probably getting bored hanging out close to home. (And by little legs I really mean my legs.)
Only three more days until Amy's home. I wonder what we'll do tomorrow...