Today, Dad, Kimi, Mongo, and SPORK all headed up to the mountains for a hike. Kimi was carefully corralling water and cliff bars for the hike to Snoquera Falls. Dad was marshalling dog supplies. They busied themselves for the trip as Mongo and SPORK milled about in the back of the truck.
It was Kimi’s and SPORK’s first trip to Snoquera Falls. Everyone had been busy in the morning. Some members of the team had been making piles in the backyard. Other members were scooping up piles in the backyard. When all the morning chores had been done, it was time to go on the hike. Unfortunately, it was a little late in the day.
The crew didn’t leave until after 2 o’clock, but it was sunny as they drove through Enumclaw. It looked like a perfect day for a hike.
Normally, it only takes about 45 minutes to reach the trailhead, but Dad insisted on stopping at The Pie Goddess in Enumclaw. How could he pass up a shop whose motto is “Pie makes everything better”? Kimi noted that even Agent K has been recorded as saying,
That stop took about fifteen minutes. By the time they left Enumclaw, the sky had turned to a steely grey. The weather can change incredibly fast in the mountains. Kimi pointed to the tops of the mountains, and exclaimed, “Look it’s snowing in the mountains.” All of the mountains had a frosting of snow on their tops.
It was 3 o’clock when they arrived at the trailhead. Mongo was thrilled to be back in the woods and went gamboling down the path. SPORK immediately went looking for small animals to kill.
Dad shepherded everyone toward the trail-head and set the pace on the path. There was only an hour and a half of sunlight left, and neither Dad nor Kimi brought headlamps. However, they both did have cellphone lights.
Dad was moving quickly up the steep slope at the base of the trail. Kimi looked at Dad and said, “Is it all like this?”
“No, not at all”, replied Dad. “It’s all uphill to the falls, but this is the steepest part.”
“Oh good”, said Kimi looking rather relieved.
The group moved quickly up the base trail to the first switch back.
“I call this part, The First Switchback” Dad informed Kimi.
“That’s a very appropriate name” Kimi replied approvingly.
The team kept moving. As they went higher, the group moved above the snow line, and into the clouds. It was becoming more difficult to gage the amount of light left in the day. But by the time shown on Dad’s watch, they were still set to return to the truck at exactly sundown.
After a few more minutes, the group moved into another switchback.
“What do you think I call this switchback?”, Dad asked Kimi.
“The Second Switchback?”
“Oh! That’s a good one. Much better than mine. We’ll go with yours.” Dad acknowledged.
“Really? What was your name for it?”
“Another Danged Switchback, but that name is easily confused with the name of the next one, known as Just Another Danged Switchback. So I vote we go with yours. In fact you should probably work on a name for the next one. You’re very talented at this sort of thing.”
Kimi rolled her eyes, at her dad’s frivolity.
As they finished the climb on the third switchback, Mongo saw the stream crossing the path and bolted for the water. SPORK was busy checking all the trailside rocks for varmints to kill.
“It’s a pretty view, don’t you think”, Dad asked.
“Very pretty”, Kimi answered as she looked up at the falls.
“Someday, I’m going to hike around to the top and look at the view from there, but to date, I never get here early enough”, Dad told her. The sun was dropping behind the mountains on the other side of the valley. “But clearly, I won’t go up there today either. Probably best if we head down now. I don’t want to get caught out on the trail in the dark.” They turned and headed back down the trail.
On the turn out of the second switchback, Mongo decided to stop and do a little sniffing. The rest of the crew continued on. Mongo was still running free, and Dad still had SPORK’s leash. Dad didn’t think it was sporting to turn SPORK loose on the local wildlife.
Mongo suddenly noticed that the rest of the crew had moved on. He spun and bolted down the path. As he passed Dad, he lost his footing on the edge of the trail and went tumbling by Dad.
“Buddy! You need to be more careful. You could hurt yourself”, Dad cautioned him.
Mongo gathered himself up and continued on down the trail. The team rounded the last turn and onto the base trail. It was getting a little wet on the trail. SPORK was pulling Dad along the trail. As Dad looked to see where Mongo had gotten off to, his foot slipped on a wet root. Immediately, Dad could hear the Fred Flintstone bongo theme playing in the background as he tried to gain his balance. But with each step, his foot slipped on another root. And all the while SPORK was pulling on the leash. The wet footing and the pull of the SPORK served to keep Dad unbalanced until he finally hit the ground. He thudded to the ground like a bag of cement.
“Dad! Are you alright?”
“Fine. Fine.” He answered as he took a mental inventory of the damage. Nothing seemed to be broken, or even really bruised. Mongo came over to help by giving Dad a big kiss on the nose. “Thanks Buddy, but that’s really not helping. Kimi, can you call him over to you?”
Dad righted himself, and they were soon on their way. After a quick-time walk along the creek, they emerged at the clearing where they had left the car. It was precisely 4 o’clock, and the sun finally set. It was a grand end to another fun day in the mountains.
April 5, 2014
Mongo and Dad went on a training
hike on Saturday. Dad is training
for a weeklong backpacking
expedition and needed to make sure that he
can still lug several dozen pounds of gear on
his poor old tired back.
It was a bit rainy, so Dad took his Gore-Tex
raingear along. Dad also brought Pippin’s
old pack along for Mongo. Mongo hates
that backpack. Even if it did once belong to
the world’s most vicious golden retriever and
huntress of squirrels, it still has flowers on it,
so it is not macho enough for him.
Dad loaded his own pack with 30 lbs. of
dead weight, and some water. Mongo went
with just the pack. .
It was not the most scenic day to hike the
Snoquarie Loop. It was cloudy on the
mountain, and a little rainy. At this time of
year, the trail is not much of a loop either.
Still, no matter the weather, the falls
themselves are always spectacular.
And the trail provides a good vertical
excursion to practice hiking uphill and
downhill, and good aerobic exercise as well.