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Raging River Natural Area
posted by John : May 19, 2007

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In my mind garage sales are a way for people to trade junk. One of the biggest around here is on Snoqualmie Ridge. Friday, Amy was a buyer and, admittedly, got some good deals. Saturday it was or turn to get rid of some of our junk.

Since Amy was going to be busy and the kids would distract both the sellers hawking their wares and the buyers being wooed I graciously offered to take one for the team and entertain the kids. They demanded we go hiking so I made the noble sacrifice and found a spot nearby. (Dan and Bella also escaped the chaos and chose to spend the morning with us.)

No surprise, we were a little early to the trailhead. When I say "trailhead" I really mean "slightly wider part of the road right next to the No Trespassing sign." Dan was a few minutes late. Put the two together along with a threatening sky and the girls were forced to bounce up and down in their seats and practice their obstacle course skills by flipping into the back. Poor Tokul allowed their incursions into her space without doing much more than flinching when a boot came right at her face.

When we did get on the trail I was a little unsure of what we were in for. Raging River Natural Area is another of the King County parks that are mostly undeveloped. This one has a trail, but it's not really well maintained and was overgrown. The plants were hanging low over the trail were heavy with water and as we walked past they relieved themselves on us.

The trail climbed a little hill before dropping back down toward the river. Although it never got down to the water the ground was soft and off the trail it looked pretty swampy. As we started climbing another modest hill a stream joined us on the trail and what was just a bit damp became downright soaking.

At the top of the hill we paused for snack and took a look down the hill to the river. It seemed so near, but with the little ones it was really unlikely wed be able to get down there and even less likely we'd be able to get back up. I looked further along the trail, but it didn't seem to be going anywhere in particular. On the map provided by the county it showed the trail ending at the boundary of the park. There's a street near the top so I assume it connects there.

Befoer we headed up the trail I had seen another trail that looked to follow the river more closely. I suggested to the crew that we return the way we came and if they were interested we could check out the other trail and maybe, if they were good, throw some rocks in the river. (Manipulating kids is so easy.)

As we neared the cars the girls starting hooting like crazy birds or perhaps a dysfunctional train. At the cars I expected them to declare the hiking was done and we'd head home, but no. They wanted to keep going so we stepped a few feet to the right of the signed trail and reentered the woods.

This trail was much drier and easier to follow... for a while. Pretty quickly it became overgrown as well, so we returned to an easy spot to climb down the bank to the river. The girls threw rocks (and so did Dan). Poor Tokul who had been so patient with the slower pace of the girls got to take a few steps in the river, but then got tied to a root sticking out of the bank.

We spent about 20 minutes on the river before heading home. The girls got stripped to their bare necessities and covered with blankets for the ride home. Tokul curled up in the back and dreamed of a real hike. Soon... soon.

Total distance was about 1.5 miles with about a hundred feet of gain.

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