Saturday, September 03, 2005

Heart Attack Falls

The walk to the Dark Hollow Falls trail had to be the most difficult thing this morning. Olivia protested the whole way. She would walk then fall to the ground and have a minor tantrum. Which we are finding irritating since this child hardly had the terrible twos. She’s 3 and is now acting like an irrational two-year-old. The half hour it took us to walk to the visitor’s center drove Daddy nuts. Finally we stopped in and stamped our National Parks Passport book. We took the quick walk to the trailhead and began our hike. Of course Olivia insisted that we carry her a dozen times. This child has an aversion to walking. Quite unusual.

This trail is a fun one. It goes down about a mile winding through the forest following the creek (that turns into the Rose River) down to the falls. It is always interesting to see the people making their way back up. You see them, struggle and pant and trudge on. Most people take this trail because it’s the shortest trail to a decent waterfall. However it is not easy. True it is a short trail to a water fall but it is a steep hike. This is the trail where you will encounter at least one person that looks like they will have a heart attack. Pretty frightening.

Our heart attack candidate was waiting near the falls. As we made the last turn to reach the first falls a very large (read: obese) woman was struggling to make it up this first hill. She was red from heat, sweating heavily and guzzling water. Her husband had about 10 bottles strapped to his body. He was (trying desperately) encouraging her to continue. Her breathing was labored and she indicated that she was uncertain if she could make the trip back. I suppose that in her mind she would not make it to the top. I know she was going to have a very difficult time making it up that trail. I suspect it took them about an hour to walk it back to their car. And by the way her husband was standing that was going to be a very long hour for him.

I remember years ago when Olivia was an infant and Leah was a toddler that we took this trail for the first time. We were prepared. Leah was a good hiker, she has always been so. She would never need to be carried so that was easy but Olivia still being small need to be carried. We just put her in the backpack carrier and away we went. As we made our way down and back we found it to be a tad rough in spots. We had to stop and break a moment or two. But what we saw coming down was enough to blow our minds. A large family was making their way down the last leg of the trail. The mom was wearing dress shoes and a skirt, her daughters wore flip-flops and Dad was carrying the baby, in its car seat.

‘Holy crap!’ I thought. These people were already showing signs of a struggle and they were going down! Up will not be pleasant. I felt bad for the Dad. Those car seat things are heavy and wow the way up is going to be torture for him.

Maybe those hiking guides should re-list this hike as difficult. Currently in most books it is considered a moderate hike. Yeah tell that to the people struggling up the trail.

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