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Along The Carbon River – Spring Hiking

Do you have a hike that says “Spring” to you? In the past couple years it has become the Carbon River on the far side of Mount Rainier National Park. Or should I say now that past 5 years? It has been that long I realized today as we were hiking, since the destruction from the late fall 2006 floods were cleaned up just enough you could get through. And 5 years later the process of road to trail is still changing. They have moved even more “trail” farther inland since just late last summer and we passed two earth movers left for the weekend along the way. Since the park announced earlier this year that it would remain a trail and the road wouldn’t be rebuilt they seem to be getting busy on that promise. Although….Mother Nature always has her way on the Carbon – there was one section today where I could hear water and I was thinking  what creek was on the left side and it occurred to me that wasn’t a creek, but a fork of the river, cutting in close to the old roadbed and soon enough we saw it was.

Kirk and I took Ford and Walker out for a nice hike – especially since we can take Walker in his jogger stroller. Of course, once we have him and our gear loaded on that stroller is somewhere in the 60-70 lb range to push. Still better than wearing that! Walker isn’t a small boy so I take it as a treat to push him – and he loves it. I’d be comfy too being pushed in a plush chariot 😛

“Mmmmmm! Cookies!”

Anyhow, we got to the Carbon early – like before 9 am. How that happened I have no idea. I have gotten bad in the past year or so of getting up early but today was gorgeous. It was sunny and blue skies. With really bad storms predicted for the late afternoon. No way was I missing out on hiking on what has been very rare sunny weekend days! Usually the Carbon is also over run by 10 am – due to little parking. But oddly enough it was actually very sparse with other hikers/bikers – at least past the 1 mile mark.

The Skunk Cabbage was in “bloom” everywhere there was standing water. Gorgeous (although stinky). I also hundreds of Trilliums that had just opened. The little signs that say maybe, just maybe we will get Spring eventually here in the PNW….

Just the typical Carbon walk – road walk, trail walk, road walk, etc through those big trees that make you want to sit down and take a nap. Pull up some moss and snooze.

We came to the trailhead for Ranger Falls/Green Lake and kept going, thinking of stopping at Chenuis Falls for our break/turn around but the always pretty forest/shade at the TH called to me and we turned back. We took our break above the creek. Walker got out and ran around, happy to be free for awhile.

It was the better choice I realized, as the lovely Chenuis Falls break area is in the open sun (although it has picnic tables from back when it was a parking area/picnic wayside/view over the river).

Daddy and Walker heading up the “real” trail – OK, he didn’t get far but next year he will 🙂 This was Walker’s second trip out on the Carbon. Last year we took him for his 1 month celebration and only went a mile or so each way. This year we took him for a lot more of it – which in certain sections while the “trail” is quite walkable taking a jogger stroller is a workout for the pusher – it is huge river rocks to clear. Walker was loving it, snort! Bouncy, bouncy!

We packed up Walker, he settled into his chariot and his little eyes closed and he happily snoozed most of the way back. Ford took off and trail ran to the van where he apparently ate his stock of energy bars while waiting for us. His ipod kept him alive, while blasting the greatest hits of heavy metal. Kind of funny/sad when you realize your oldest is well, old enough to go do that. No toddling with me – he can take care of himself just fine.

I on the other hand enjoyed the walk back smelling the freshly sawed cedar, the warm wind and even the little green native slugs that were out.

And now? It is dumping rain like crazy. Glad I went! It was a nice 6+ miler with the family 🙂


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