This past weekend the boys and I decided to go out on a hike, and I was craving green and trees, so it meant we needed to drive somewhere. Jason was out of town, so it was just the boys, the dog, me, and our handy dandy guide to hikes in our part of the world. The boys and I agreed that it always feels like we’re brave adventurers when we go on a hike without Jason along. I think this is because Jason is the big planner and organizer in our family. I start to get irritated with all the details and want to just go. You will never find Jason stranded in the middle of nowhere with nothing but a candy bar in his pocket. You may find me in the middle of nowhere, but I will have nothing but a candy bar wrapper in my pocket. So, having thought through that, the boys and I decided we weren’t really sure if we were being adventurous or just stupid. Either way, we were going.
Now, since I’m supposed to be the responsible party when leading an expedition without my detail guy, I tried to be sure and think of all the stuff he would be sure to include. I quickly decided that we would be fine with our guide book, water, leash for the dog, and extra jackets and hats. We left the details of where we were going (we didn’t know) with my mom… in case my super planning hadn’t covered everything and we needed rescuing. I told her the direction we were headed and that we’d text her which mile marker we were parking by when we got there.
It was a beautiful day.
We’ve had a really mild winter, so there’s no real snow around here and I didn’t really think about the fact that there may be more in the mountains where we were headed. Well. There was. We drove about 40 minutes out of town toward a few possible hiking trails I had in mind. Ha! There was no way we could go there; I could barely pull off the road all the way because of the snow.
So, we continued on until we reached lower elevations again and I told the boys to find something in the hiking guide that we could get to in less than an hour. They found lots of hikes that were over an hour away. Not okay; we’d already driven for an hour. They kept looking.
Table Rock. Perfect. The guidebook told us that no dogs were allowed, but this was the middle of winter and we knew there would be hardly anyone around. And, that rule was for people who didn’t carry along plastic bags to collect any messes their dogs left behind. They weren’t talking to responsible dog owners like us. It was more of a guideline. So, we texted my mom to let her know that we’d given up on the mountain and were back in civilization, so would not be likely to need search and rescue services after all.
We headed toward Table Rock (less than directly due to some weird vortex in the area that makes it so that my otherwise awesome sense of direction, is completely worthless). When we finally got there, we were amazed to find a completely full parking lot. Really? In February? There had to be twenty vehicles parked there. And… MULTIPLE. HUGE. NO DOGS signs. There were signs with pictures of dogs crossed out. Signs with the words NO DOGS. TWO big signs at the entrance to the trail (one on the left and one on the right). Great.
We had no plan B. There was no way we were going to drive again, though. And, there was no way the dog was having anymore of it either. He had cried for the majority of the 90 minutes in the car and was d o n e.
We weren’t quitters, though. We had come out for a hike and we were getting a hike, so we left our car parked in the Table Rock parking lot and headed across the road with no plan other than “we’re going.”
It wasn’t the hike we had envisioned, but as you can tell from the picture below, we were laughing at our bungled up hike and enjoying ourselves anyway.
The thing is, even though our hike hadn’t turned out as “planned” (can you call it planned when really all we did was take a guidebook and head out?), we were still accomplishing what we wanted. We were out in the fresh air enjoying time as a family (minus one) and getting the dog some much needed exercise on a pretty day. And it was green! Even so, as we walked back toward the Table Rock parking lot, we continued to debate whether the NO DOGS postings were really directed at us. I mean, look at them… responsible dog owners.
As we got back to the car and were trying to decide what to do, we saw someone WITH A DOG coming down the trail from Table Rock. We are way more responsible dog owners than they are and our dog is much smaller, so… decision made. We were going in. At this point, we had already walked 7.9 miles (ya, right!)… I was using RunKeeper and hadn’t let it find me first, so it spotted us an extra 7 miles or so when we crossed the road. We felt very fit.
As we headed up the trail, we felt better and better about our rule-breaking with each person we passed who said, “ohhhh, what a cute puppyyy.” He’s two, but he’s a pug, so I guess will always have a puppy look to him.
The trail was way more interesting than our little fence road hike. The trees (madrone, I believe) were REALLY cool.
Every now and then, we’d get glimpses of the valley and the views.
The change out of the trees at the very end was so fast it was almost surprising.
The trees and the trail just ended…
and opened out into this.
It was a good day.