Saturday, August 17, 2013

Siouxon Creek Attempt #2

Once again I had an interesting bike ride on Siouxon Creek, this time with emily and Leo.  Once again we didn't quite make it to the end and instead of a broken bike we ended up with a broken dog.  Read on...

After blowing a tube 2 miles into the trail a couple months ago I was back with Emily and Leo to try to finally reach the end.  Unfortunately, it was not to be.  We did get to see a whole bunch of great camping spots, swimming holes and waterfalls on the way in that would be great to stay at overnight.  The trail was technically easy and a lot of fun as there wasn’t much elevation gain except for a few steep hills that weren’t that big.  

Leo was having a great time running along right behind me with his tongue hanging out of his mouth and there was plenty of water spots for him to stop and drink at.  He and I were out ahead of Emily but we waited every half mile or so to make sure we saw her coming along.  At about 5 miles in we came to an intersection with trail 130B which was a spur trail to Horseshoe Creek Falls.  We decided to go check it out and were glad we did.  We crossed a small bridge above a short slot canyon in the creek that was definitely deep enough to jump into and just a short ways down the trail we came to the beautiful waterfall with a pool below it that looked very inviting for swimming.  Most people had set up camp very close to the parking lot but this area looked perfect to hike into if we could convince some Portland friends to get away with us for a weekend.  

At the waterfall I told Emily “two more miles” and she nodded.  Unfortunately, she didn’t understand and when I turned onto the trail again to head towards the turnaround point deeper in the woods she didn’t see me and headed back down the trail, not understanding that the word “more” meant “further” and not “back the way we came”.  I ended up biking about a quarter mile up a very steep hill and at the top stopped to wait for Emily with Leo who I assumed was walking up the hill.  After more time had passed then needed I knew something was up and headed back down the trail to the waterfall instersection.... no Emily.   Just a guy who said he had passed a girl in a blue shirt on a bike headed back towards the trailhead... which was 5 miles back.

That’s when I noticed that leo hadn’t run down the hill, but had walked... I knew what was up and looked at his front paws to discover that he indeed had split his pads in half.  Not good... I figured Emily would probably just wait for us a little ways down the trail but I was wrong.  I ended up walking my bike encouraging Leo to follow, getting more angry after each mile we didn’t see her waiting for us.  Two things pissed me off. 1.  I ALWAYS wait every half mile to mile (max) for her to catch up, and I definitely wait while with Leo because he is also worried about her.  I did this the whole way in... why wouldn’t I do it on the way out, especially when I had mentioned wanting to swim with him on the way out.  2.  She broke the cardinal rule of being lost, or losing someone in the woods and that is to simply stay put at the last point you saw the person or knew where you were.  Just STAY PUT.  If she had waited for me at the intersection I would have found her in 15 minutes rather than the hour and 4 miles that it took to finally catch up with her.  And those 4 miles ended up tearing up Leo’s paws really good.  If she had been with us she could have walked the bikes while I carried poor Leo.

Leo was a trooper and toughed it out but I did end up carrying him for a mile or so over some rough rocks until we got to smooth soil for him to tread on.  I was pissed, but more disappointed and worried that in that situation she didn’t stop to think it out clearly and after 5 years of traveling in the outdoors she forgot the basic rule of just staying put.  I felt bad being so angry because I didn’t have to be but for our safety in the future I wanted it to really stick in her never to do it again.  Because next time it could be me with a serious injury depending on her clear thinking.  Maybe next time I’ll actually reach the big waterfall at the end of the trail.

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