Monday, November 16, 2009

Elachee Nature Center

Saturday I rode. Sunday Kathryn wanted to do some stuff, so I hung out with the kids all day; early church, lunch at Fosters again, and more exploring at Elachee.

This time we parked at the West Lake Trail trailhead and took that trail toward the lake.

It was actually a lot warmer than we expected. We'd been getting high 50's for a while, but today it was 74 when we left the truck. Not hot per se, but it didn't feel all that cool either.

We stopped for a while at the little dam to skip rocks.

 Skipping Rocks

Neither of the girls quite got the hang of it, but now and then they'd make one skip.

Further down the trail, we found a hollow log.

 Hollow Log

The descent off of the ridge toward the lake was gnarly and braided.

 West Lake Trail 2

We passed a bunch of folks coming the other way. There was one family where the mom and dad were older, but clearly very active and had dragged their not-so-active teenage son along. He had that 5-hours-into-a-6-hour-race grimace going. They'd been hiking for a couple of hours, but hadn't brought any water along. I offered them some of mine, but they declined. During this exchange, the son's face went from grimace, to elation, to absolute devastation. Poor guy.

At the north end of the lake, we stopped at some benches for a break and some Clif Blocks.

 The Gerch

 The Iz

The section of trail from there down to the parking lot is the Rod Smith Bird Trail. There was a kiosk there with a dedication:

 Rod Smith

Man, check out that pose. Rod Smith yo!

Along the trail were several plaques showing different birds you might see. Iz, re. a photo of a wood duck: "His beady eye is creeping me out."

The lake was quiet.

 Walnut Creek Lake

We did see some wood ducks, though they were too far away for their beady eyes to creep Isabel out.

 The Girls Near The Lake

Iz had been navigating so far. At the lake, she turned it over to Sophie. They're both pretty good at following maps now. They might be ready for topo. We'll see next time.

Calvary Church Creek:

 Calvary Church Creek

The Gerch, gerching.

 Sophie Playing

We took a break at boulder creek and talked about pebbles vs. boulders vs. babyheads. Iz thought calling rocks babyheads was hilarious.

 Sophie Navigating

Having already seen the rest of the East Lake Trail last week, we took the Walnut Creek trail back this time.

 Walnut Creek

On the last little climb out I noticed this water bar suffering from cling. Unmaintained water bars get back-filled, water runs over, clings and erodes underneath. Eventually a hole forms and water runs right under the bar, taking soil with it until the bar is left suspended across the trail.

 Water Bar Fail

Not ideal, but not the end of the world.

It was the end of our hike though.

Since we were in the neighborhood, we went back to the same parking lot as last week so the girls could ride their bikes. Iz learned how to drop off a curb. Sophie figured out steering and how to get started. They followed each other around for an hour or so. Five or six police cars showed up while we were out there and parked in a little side lot. At first I thought maybe they were going to tell us to leave, but no, they were there for something else. We never figured out what though.

To finish the evening off, my folks came over and watched the kids while me and Kathryn went to see Paranormal Activity. It was scary. Bravo.

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