Way back in the day I wandered up Stegosaurus Butte with Tokul. It was... there.
But now, with kids that need to run in the woods it seemed like the perfect time to return. Somehow I conned Eric and Paula into coming with us so we had a full truck.
As an extra bonus, the hill was within cell range and that was important since I was on call. I found a great app for my phone that would sound an alarm when I went out of coverage and again when I went back into coverage. Since I needed to be able to return a page within 20 minutes I figured if I went out of coverage I'd need to find a signal within 10 minutes or turn back.
Great idea, huh?
In the parking lot: Whoop whoop whoop! (Out of coverage.)
Crossing the bridge: Whoop whoop whoop! (Back in coverage.)
Along the (still unfinished) Pratt Connector trail: Whoop whoop whoop! (Out of coverage.)
Looking for the scratch of a trail: Whoop whoop whoop! (Back in coverage.)
You get the idea. And it wasn't a great one. Every few minutes the alarm would go off. Wilderness experience? Sure. As long as you think of the city as the wilderness.
Still, it was the woods. Splendid woods. Not dead like Mailbox or full of brush like most of the west side. It was open and somewhat spooky. Perfect.
The kids were climbing well. The girls would take off ahead. Eric would keep up with them while I helped Henry through some of the harder sections. Even with a heavy pack (carrying the food) and tiny legs he did remarkably well.
The easy grade in the woods turned into a steep scramble that resulted in "You said no more daddy-trails!" and "Are we there yet?"
A) It wasn't a daddy-trail. There was clearly a boot path. At least five people had been that way before.
B) Yes. We're here.
And then, shortly, we were there. The steeps gave way to meadows of sallal and then some pretty good views. We took pictures, ate lunch, listened as my phone played hide and seek with the cellular network, and then started heading down.
The girls headed down fast with Eric and Treen in hot pursuit. (Treen and I have hiked enough with Eric that she's perfectly happy going along with him. Often forgetting I'm even there.) Henry and I were a little slower, but the girls were nice enough to wait for us occasionally. (They wouldn't share their stumps, but they did wait.)
Hurt feelings aside, we were back at the car with never more than 10 minutes out of coverage. Oh, and we had fun. And got some exercise.
And speaking of fun, we had a blast with the potholes the Middle Fork Road is famous for.