Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Wallace Falls Revisited

I don't like the idea of re-doing a hike. It's sort of like re-reading a book...why? There are too many different books to read--and likewise, too many new sights to see! But this last Friday I made an exception. It's been 10 years since I did Wallace Falls; so I knew I could count on my failing memory to make it a new experience. Plus, spring is the best time to witness the fall's real power. 

The first time we visited Wallace Falls, I was testing out the idea of car camping. As a family, we love camping...but NEVER on this side of the mountains. (that would be the wet, cold side) But it was a hot summer weekend, so I thought we should give it a shot; I mean, how bad could it be?

My memory may be fading...but I do remember ending up in the car sometime in the middle of the night because I was so flipping cold. Needless to say, we went back to our week long camping excursions in Eastern Washington.
Cute bridge! Hooray!

Even so, that one night camping trip still held some dear memories for me. Re-hiking it would hopefully bring them back--not just to me, but possibly my daughter as well, who decided to come with me.

When we arrived, I was excited to try to find our campsite to spark the ol' memories. Instead I found five cabins. There are still two regular campsites remaining, but I knew they weren't "our" campsite because they were pretty small. Ours was big enough to share with a cute couple, their little girl, and a puppy. Meeting them, and being able to offer our campsite so their plans weren't ruined was the best part of that night. (The campsites are first come first served, just like the campgrounds on Icicle Creek. That can be risky business, as I explained in my "Spontaneity is the Essence of Pleasure" post last July. But the new cabins can be reserved, making life a little less risky.)
Pictures from our first trip--hard to believe we ever lived without digital cameras!

Kramer caught a fish and Oscar caught a frog...good times!
I was a little bummed the big campsite was gone, but the cabins are super cute. If they had they been there 10 years ago, I'm sure my perspective of car camping would have been totally different. 
Amber's philosophical look...she should be on top model 
She gets her modeling skills from her mother

When it came time to start hiking, my memory didn't serve me well at all. I thought I knew what I was doing, so I really didn't bother looking at the map. When we got to the "Woody Trail" we passed it on by...we need to go up, not down after all! We were chatting away, so I didn't think much about the fact that this was the most boring trail I had ever been on. We passed an older couple on their way down and asked if they enjoyed the falls. Boy, did we get an earful! "We couldn't even find the falls! We couldn't even hear the river! Look at my shoes, can you believe he wouldn't even let me go back to the car to change them?! I'm going to write about this on my blog, you better believe that!"

So now we understood that: 1) Everyone on the planet has a blog, and 2) We went the wrong way.  Thankfully, we decided to go a little further and found a sign with a map which told us there was a connecting trail that would lead us down to the Woody Trail. 
The connecting trail, our saving grace
Once we were on the correct trail, I found it even more beautiful than I remembered. (we could have kept going and eventually made it to the falls, but that way really is yawnsville) I was so proud of Amber, who didn't seem to mind the uphill climb at all. She was even willing to go all the way to the very top...something none of the kids were willing to do the first time around. 

It took us 3 hours to get to the upper falls, and only one to get back to the parking lot. Obviously, the first trail we took is no short cut, that's for sure. And so I'll end with hiking lesson #30: don't rely on your memory (especially if your over 40), but take the time to actually look at the maps. That is, unless you want to write a blog about how miserable your hiking experience was (and I know you all have blogs!) in which case, be sure not to wear your hiking shoes as well.
Don't miss the "little falls"--just barely into the Woody trail
Don't miss the "butt tree" either!