Thursday, September 3, 2009

Slash hiking

Due to sickness, our trip to Mt. St. Helens was cancelled at the very last minute.

Disappointed? Yes.

Discouraged? No!

We made the most of the packed packs and purchased food by having a patrol camp at property in the county (home of 3 Scouts in the patrol). Thanks to their neighbors' generosity, we were also given permission to take a hike on a mountain in their rural neighborhood.

Turns out it's an active logging operation, which made the hike more interesting, more challenging, and much dirtier.

We started on gentle grades and rolling trails, crossing a stream on stepping stones. We climbed on until we found ourselves at the base of an area of clear-cut "slash."

Would that deter our eager climbers?

Heavens no!

Up they went, picking their way along churned up dirt and sticks, following the tracks left behind by some giant piece of machinery.

I was left behind a bit in the difficulty of finding each step carefully, by boys charging through the slash with abandon. When we arrived at the "top" where the logging trucks were being loaded, I asked about any injuries.

Seems like every one of them had some battle wound, from a turned ankle to scratched up shins. But their desire was to continue exploring in the debris. However, my desire was to stick to the beaten path, and from there on out we stayed on trails and the logging road (left silent after about 2:30 PM, but a raging dust river prior).

The loggers we met were friendly and enjoyed seeing the boys on the mountain. They were impressed with the ease of their slash hiking.

Our prize at the top of the trail was a great picking area with both native and invasive blackberries.

Oh, and a rat.

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