Monday, January 16, 2012

Hiking Little Si

Frost walks with funny hands because his gloves are too tight.
On Friday I took the boys to hike the Little Si Trail near North Bend.   Mt Si is an eye-catching peak as you approach the final climb to Snoqualmie Pass.  It looms over the valley at North Bend as a wall of green in early winter or a wall of snow hung pines later in the year.  Snow was forecast for the next day but trail reports suggested it was still clear.    The hike is about 2.3 miles and 1500 feet climb to the summit and it wasn't something to attempt with the kids in snow.

At the start of the trail we checked the information board.  As is usual in this part of North America, there were warnings about bears and avalanche as well as a concern about trees falling on you.  Wren was particularly taken with the prohibition on collecting wood.  He read this as "You are not allowed to pick up sticks".

The trail begins with a steady climb over a scree-covered path which leads up through the trees beside huge boulders.   After a few minutes I let Beezle off his leash and he ran to catch up with Frost who was running ahead.

Wren said he was tired and asked how far it was.  I told him we had gone about .3 of a mile so we had a bit more to go.

After half a mile the Little Si Trail meets with a 1.5 mile loop through the Valley of boulders.  Wren wanted to detour through the boulders while Frost wanted to head straight for the summit.   I told Wren that we didn't have time to do both and he said he would avoid the boulders because:

"Boulders are scary, they are God Eggs waiting to hatch!"

By half a mile we had found our rhythm with Frost doing trailside parkour and Wren running to keep up and complaining when Frost got out of range.  Whenever a hiker passed us by Wren called out "Do you know its illegal to pick up sticks?"   This didn't bother anyone, even the woman who had sticks she was using as walking poles.

One guy turned around and told Wren "These poles are actually not sticks, I bought them in a store."

Wren said "I know," and conversation then stalled.

I was impressed by how much energy both boys had, even when the trail gained elevation fairly rapidly.  

Frost's parkour move on the path.

After an hour and a bit of walking Frost showed the first signs of doubt and wondered when we should turn back.  I said we should try to continue for another 45 minutes or until we reached the top.  Wren was not sure he could make it, but was so absorbed by catching up to Frost who was driven to the summit by an optimistic hiker who, half an hour from the summit, told us "Its only 10 minutes more... you're almost there!"

Bless him!  We would never have made it if he told us the truth.

The boys and Beezle at the summit

Wren up top!

Looking over the edge

Frost creeps up to the edge.  Incredible views!

Beezle at the summit

Beezle was a very good hiking dog.  He was very quick and bold in climbing rocks.  He stayed well to heel except when rushing to catch up to Frost and was polite meeting other dogs on the trail (on and off leash).  His only wickedness was barking at a hiker when he came around a bend unexpectedly while we were stopped for a snack.  While the hiker was still in earshot and I was scolding Beezle, Wren said loudly:

"Beezle, don't bark at people especially OLD MENS"

The guy was about 50.

On the walk down Frost said "On this one Spongebob episode they learn finger exercises where you move your fingers to exercise them and I am so tired I can't even do the finger exercises.  My fingers don't work."

"I think your hands are half frozen" I said, "you can't move them because they are too cold."

"Oh yeah!" said Frost.  "They are all red, I think I have half hypothermia."

He didn't but it was cold as the sun lowered at 3pm.   We stopped for chocolate and coffee later and I bought Frost and entire toffee apple because I was so happy and, as he said, "We needed to replace those calories."

Frost and Wren looking for their lost calories on Mt Little Si

No comments: