Thursday, October 11, 2012
Day came a bit later than usual. I knew I was only doing a couple of short dayhikes with my family, so I slept in as much as I could manage. With my daughter for an alarm clock, this meant about 8:15. Then she was up, bundled and ready for a day of adventure.
Between watching the wee one and packing up, we were pretty slow. But with both mom and dad working together, we were able to bring every thing out in one trip, arriving back at the vehicles around 10 am. The sun was out, the morning warm, and we decided to change our daughter from her parka to a light liner jacket. But once she was free from her carrier and heavy clothing, the Magpie made her break for freedom.
Some minutes later, we finally got her dressed again and into the car. Then we headed up to the northwest side of the Natural Area. This meant a trip to Greeter Falls Day Use trailhead.
My wife used the half-hour to feed breakfast to Emily while Dewey and I made the 1-mile round trip to Greeter Falls. I could have made a 3-mile round trip from Alum Gap on Tuesday, but I honestly just didn’t feel like it. With the easy access here this morning, I felt good about that decision.
The trail moved steadily to the spiral staircase above the falls.
This strange contraption is actually a very efficient way to handle the need for a rapid drop down a sheer face. From there, wooden stairs lead down to the plunge pool and the falls.
In warm weather, this area is a favorite local swimming hole. But this morning, Dewey and I had it all to ourselves.
A quick walk back and another 10-minute drive brought the family to Stone Door Ranger Station, the final trailhead with access to the Gulf area. There was still enough chill in the air that we kept Emily in her liner, mittens and warm hat. Once strapped into her carrier, she was ready to hike.
The trail from Stone Door Ranger Station to the Stone Door is probably the easiest mile in the entire Natural Area.
The first .3 miles is actually paved, all the way to Laurel Gulf Overlook’s observation deck.
The remaining trail is fairly mild, ending at the breath-taking overlook, complete with soaring hawks on this morning.
We all enjoyed the view and the peace. After a few minutes, we snapped a family photo.
Then we headed back. On the way back to my truck and home, the little Magpie decided she’d had enough adventure for one day.
Once back to my truck, I switched vehicles and we all headed home.