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“the worst hike EVER”
May 8, 2007
Over the weekend I'd hope to take the boys on a hike along the Crack-in-the-Rock trail. There was a good chance the two waterfalls there would be running. Saturday afternoon we were all packed and ready to go, but the boys started arguing so I just told them to forget it. Grant was pretty disappointed, and I told him that just the two of us would go hiking someday soon.
We got an inch-and-a-half of rain here Monday, and when another rain system moved in Tuesday morning I made arrangements to leave work early. I called Stacey at her school and we decided I would pick Grant up there, which just happened to be on the way to the trailhead at Lee Creek Reservoir.
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The rain had just ended a couple of hours earlier, and the trail was a temporary stream in most places. At first Grant wanted to take the lead, but then he realized I did a better job of picking the best path around the pools and he wound up following.
It was warm and muggy and the sun was burning through the hazy clouds. Ten minutes into the hike we stopped where the trail passes along the edge of an old field. There were hundreds of little Western Daisies in bloom, and I told Grant it was time to take some pictures. He was fine with the idea until he realized I wanted to take pictures of flowers, not him. So there I was trying to concentrate on the camera viewfinder, irritated at  the sweat dripping off my face and fogging up my glasses, and my 7-year-old asking “Dad, can we go now?”.
“So much for flower pictures today” I said to myself.
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Everything was o.k. once we continued hiking. The trail split into two beside a small cemetery. Grant thought it would make a good picture if he sat down and leaned back against a small headstone; I explained to him that it was not good manners to do so.
About 45 minutes into the hike, Grant announced he was ready to stop for dinner. We were at one of my favorite areas of the trail, where the ground was covered with mosses and lichens and most of the trees were cedars. There were a good number of Western Daisies swaying in the breeze, and I figured I could make another attempt at photography while Grant ate his Lunchables. He ate fairly quickly then spent some time climbing an old cedar with bare lower limbs, giving me just enough time to set up a few shots.
It only took us a few minutes of hiking to reach the small stream above the big waterfall. The stream stair-stepped down a narrow, rocky channel, and I spotted numerous scenes I wanted to photograph. But the sun was beaming brightly overhead ruining the picture conditions. I told myself that maybe we would come back on the return hike and I could take some pictures, fidgety kid or not!
As we were crossing the stream, Grant suddenly let out an exclamation and asked me how long it would be before we were going back to the truck. He explained that it was “Heritage Night” at school and he wanted to go. I said “too bad”, that we would probably be on the trail until around dark. As things started sinking in to him he got upset and started crying. I figured it would run its course so we continued along the trail.
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We passed the “crack-in-the-rock”, and I was surprised that Grant was still crying.  Usually if he continues, it's a fake cry he does trying to get his way. I don't know why, because it never works!. But this was a real cry. The trail made its big swing to the right to avoid the hollow with the second waterfall. We left the trail and worked our way down a short but steep break in the otherwise vertical side of the hollow. Grant sat at the edge of the stream, while I boulder-hopped across to the other side to take the last picture of the day. The little hollow was deep enough to be in the shade, while the overhead trees were brightly lit with direct sunlight. There was a gnarly dead cedar tree hanging out over the ledge on the left side, so I ducked underneath the ledge to find an angle that would crop out the tree. It took me a good 15 minutes to get some shots I was satisfied with, the whole  time Grant was just sitting over there crying. I was dumfounded - he’s never done that.
As I packed the camera away I decided I was Done. Back across the stream I angrily told Grant this was “the worst hike EVER” and we were going back to the truck, and of course he stopped crying. At some point during the hike back I had calmed down enough to try to reasonably explain to him that to be outdoors hiking was something to be cherished, and that we shouldn’t let other things interrupt or shorten a hike. I don’t know whether he got it or not. But a couple of days later I was amused to overhear him telling Cliff that our trip had been “the worst hike EVER”!
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