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Franklin Falls with Grandpa Jack
posted by John : January 21, 2007

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South Fork on ice

Two weeks ago I took a bunch of the neighbors to Franklin Falls for a nightshoe. It was magnificent. Too bad it was so dark. Of course, there's this supposed thing called the sun that lights up the days so if you time it just right you can see things without headlamps. Novel, huh?

Last year I took Grandpa Jack on his first snowshoe with questionable results. He didn't really care for it and I figured I had turned him off the sport in much the same way I doomed him to a life without computers after beating him down in Atari football. (What could I do? I was good.)

So when Grandpa Jack relented and said he'd go out again I figured it had to be a fairly straightforward trip, not too long, and have a great payoff. If we went to Franklin Falls (in the daytime) I'd get to see it and he'd get to see it and everybody wins!

He got to the house a little before 9am and got to play with the girls for a few minutes. Clara and Lilly were happy to show Grandpa some of their new skills while I packed up my gear. (The girls somehow slept until 8am so I was running a tad bit behind. I'm sure it had nothing to do with wine club the night before. Nope.)

The drive to the trailhead was short and quick. There were a TON of cars, which surprised me, but I figured some might have gone up toward Melakwa Lake since it's essentially the same trailhead. We got started and found the snow much better than the last time I was there. About four inches of corny powder was on top of the hard crust making it a little more fun than walking on ice.

Right after the bridge over the South Fork we found an igloo that looked like the work of someone with an igloo kit. (Yes, it's really something you can buy. Pretty cool, too. A box on a tether that you rotate around making blocks in place.) We each peeked in and found it quite roomy. Supposedly they do quite well keeping you warm (uh... as warm as you can be in a box made of snow), but with the warm front moving in behind us we weren't in need of shelter so we pushed on.

We jumped on the trail at the summer trailhead and made quick time along the river. At night I missed the beauty of the river and the huge trees along the way. (I also missed all the cabins, but you take the good with the bad, right?)

We saw no one until we were within a quarter mile of the Falls. Suddenly a steady stream of kids and dads rushed toward us. 22 scouts and their fathers. Wow. No wonder the trench was so well cut into the snow.

At the Falls Grandpa was blown away by the snow and ice... and the freeway overhead. (Really, it's not that noticeable.) I had checked the avalanche danger early in the day so even though the falls are at the base of a nasty chute I climbed down and got a closer look at the ice and snow all around the river. (Of course, I didn't go right up to the base of the falls where you'd be deader than dead if a slide did rumble down. I'm not that stupid.)

Grandpa Jack and I had lunch with Tokul sneaking bites here and there before heading back. Aside from the scouts we'd seen nobody on the way in. We saw about the same number of people (44?) on the way out, but in twos and threes rather than a long train.

On the way home we had to push a passenger car back onto the road after they got stuck in the deep snow and slush. It sounds like we're just good guys, but really they had pulled over to let us go past. I suppose maybe we were nice since we could have just sped off, but that's not us.

On the way home we stopped at Weeks Falls since he hadn't seen it before and you can drive right to it.

Two waterfalls in one day. Not too shabby. 3.5 miles, about 500 feet of gain.

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