This was a hiking day, or at least attempt to hike day. The temperature cooperated while we were out and about, and we got back to the house and relaxed when it got hotter.
It didn't take us (or at least me) long to fall asleep, so we didn't sleep in too late. After grabbing some breakfast and gathering some food, we got in the car with Jean and headed west to find someplace to hike in the Douglas Wilderness Area just east of Mount Rainier National Park.
Our first attempt at a hike was to go to Union Creek Falls. There are a couple waterfalls on this hike, but there was a sign at the trailhead which said the bridge was closed. We decided to give it a try to see what we could see, so we started gathering our hiking gear.
While we were getting ready, a family pulled into the parking lot, parents and four kids pouring out of the truck cabin. They were headed towards the other trailhead Pleasant Valley, as we went toward Union Creek.
Ends up the closed bridge was before the first waterfalls. When I say bridge, what I mean is a log that goes across the river, but they hadn't flattened the top yet (nor put up some sort of handhold across; the river was fairly wide and deep).
On our way back, we ran across the other family trying that trail, so we mentioned that the bridge was closed. They decided to take a look anyway. After getting back to the trailhead, we debated whether to try that Pleasant Valley, but instead got into the car and went a few more miles west to the Mestatchee Creek Falls trail.
The trail description mentioned that there was one section where you ford a river, so we were thinking that at this time of year, it would probably be too deep, too wide, or too fast, or some combination. At least we would be able to see the river. We had gotten quite a ways when we ran into a couple going back out, and they said we were pretty close to the river. They didn't cross it, so it was good to know we probably wouldn't, either.
We did cross a swift creek on a bridge which was in great shape. Not far from that, we saw the river, and it was all three: deep, wide, and fast. We did see a section where a bunch of fallen trees made a lattice which adventurous people might try, but we turned around, eating our lunch in front of the creek we had previously crossed.
Back to the car, and back towards Union Creek to take a look at the Pleasant Valley Trail. The family we had seen before were finishing up a picnic. They said they had gone across the log bridge and saw the first Union Creek Falls. However, we went ahead with the Pleasant Valley Trail, which somewhat paralleled the road. We were wondering when we should turn around, when Melody noticed that the sole of one of her boots was starting to separate. We figured it would be good to turn around at that point, and were trying to work out a plan to get them repaired, or at least get some sort of glue for them. Just as the parking lot came into sight, the sole completely came off. As it ends up, the boot was pretty worn out underneath the sole, and the other boot's sole was starting to come off too. The repair plan was out, and the “purchase new boots in Boise” plan was in.
We got back into the car and went back to Jean and Ron's place. After cleaning up, we wandered around Ron's cactus garden and Jean's vegetable garden. We then had another good time chatting over dinner on the porch. Ron noticed a fire along one of the ridges, and as we were watching, the smoke turned dark.
A bit more piano, then quite a bit more sleep.