Monday, March 15, 2010

Tumwater Pipeline Trail

Sunday - March 14, 2010

I was going to take the boys hiking.  My husband was off  boondoggling again; on a motorized snow machine and I did not think that the boys (or I) would survive if we remained at the home front for the day.  I had one boy who was roaring to go, one that doesn't have a voice (yet) and one NOT going at all.  Apparently, the last family hike (Mt. Walker) did Sam in - for good, so he said.  WHOA!

Damage control.  I needed to take Sam somewhere that he would enjoy.  I knew of just the right place.  But, how do I get him out of the house?  The challenge was further complicated with one more thing.  For those that know Sam, he is a fashionisto. He is very particular in his selection of attire.  As we have hundreds of jackets and coats all size ranges - he is only interested in a very, very select few - and they were both in the wash.  Not just laying in mt. laundry with the possibility of salvage - but completely submerged in the soapy suds cycle.  I was not waiting two hours to leave.  I'll just drum up one of Max's old hoadies from the closet, stuff them in the bag and when Sam is cold enough, he'll wear it.

I get Max & Eli loaded in the car and head back in where Sam is still playing legos and hasn't even budged, nevermind that I'd been telling him for the past 20-minutes that we were leaving.  He was not going.  Thankfully my four year old is a whoping 36 pounds (fully clothed & soaking wet) I picked him up, grabbed his shoes and tossed him in his seat.   Hooray!  A hoodie (that he'll wear) right next to his seat.  Thank goodness, because his stubborness always overplays my plan.  Now he'll get out of the car!

The Tumwater Pipeline trail is located along Hwy 2, between milepost 97 & 98.  If you are heading east and you hit the town of Leavenworth, you've gone too far.   Look for a steel bridge structure on the south side of the road, past 'The Alps' candy store a couple of miles - the driveway is just past the bridge on the right hand side.  From Leavenworth, head out of town and look to for the steel bridge on the left hand side of the road.  The driveway to the parking area is off to the left, before the bridge.  There are multiple trailheads and turnouts on the right hand side of the road, in the event you make it to the candy store without making the left-hand turn.

As I suspected, Sam took off with a shot upon putting the vehicle in park.

The trail is 3 miles round trip and maintains elevation 1,400 feet.  From the parking lot, you first cross the Wenatchee River via the old pipeline bridge.  The pipeline is actually cut in half and the walkway is the bottom half of the abandoned pipe.  It is currently filled with snowmelt and some kind souls have strategically placed rocks along the side to assist in a dry crossing.  Don't slip!  A huge thanks to whomever took the time to put the rocks in place.

The trail is an easy level hike with a couple of creek crossings thrown in.  There are rocks and downed trees to assist in the navagation across.  In many places there are makeshift trails down to the river.  In the summer, there are many locations available to spend multiple hours basking in the sun and throwing rocks into the river.  The latter is a favorite of the boys. 

It is very important to note, if wading/swimming in the river, please use EXTREME caution.  The current of the Wenatchee River is unpredictable and strong.  A reminder of this is located about a quarter of the way down the hike.  A memorial is in place for two girls that were swimming in the river and were swept downstream by the current.  It made for an important discussion on our hike.  The boys were both touched by the crosses that are placed in the girls memory.  They were very curious about how it happened and how their families must have felt.  It was a pretty touching experience.

They were equally intriqued to accidentally come upon a geo-cache.  They have expressed great interest in finding more.  Check out the geocache website for more information.

Views of Castle Rock, a rock climbers domain, from the Tumwater Pipeline Trail are visible about half-way down the down and back trail.  This is the first time we've hiked this trail and not witnessed anyone tied to the rock and manuevering their way up.  I must admit, it's pretty cool to watch these folks hanging by their fingertips and working their way up the cracks. 
"Look Mom!  A sling-shot!"  Yes, that piece of nature has made it's way back to Max's wall of wood.  He seems to collect interesting wood pieces on our hikes.  I am probably a very bad mother by allowing my son to take bits of the environment for his own imaginative function.  I call it future firewood preservation. 
Eli making the most out of his confined space.  Boredom sets in and the hair pulling begins.  Turkey.

Remnants of the old pipeline are evident through out the walk as shown by the embedded bolts in the dirt.  The boys enjoy climbing and exploring off trail as well.  Sam enjoyed the last bits of snow he encountered.  It is extremely comforting to know that the boys can go off and explore, touch, feel, smell and talk (yell) with little or no fear that they will harm or offend something or someone.  There is a respect that they put forth while exploring that seems to come naturally.   

A little lunch on a rock near (or in) the river brought an end to our excursion.  This hike is one we visit throughout the year and have yet to tire from the enjoyment the river brings.

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