Riverside State Park
Little Spokane Natural Area
3 hours, 7 miles, 1,127’ elevation gain
It has been H-O-T in eastern WA this last week, requiring earlier hikes in an attempt to beat the heat. My latest brilliant idea was to wake up before dawn to catch a sunrise on the trail.
Unfortunately, the sun rises really early and the 45 minute drive to the trailhead did not help with making this goal. We still caught lots of early morning sun, active birds and chipmunks, and saw several rafters of wild turkey (yes, rafter is the official name of a group of turkey, at least according to Google). We climbed slowly for the first mile and a half, and much more steeply after that. I seem to always pick the steeper start to my hikes, even when I’m not trying.
The trail was really quiet at 6 am, aside from wildlife. We only saw a single trail runner in the first two hours of our hike. We reached the summit, called Knothead, with a few breaks on the way to allow my heart rate to slow down again. There, we were treated to views of the Spokane River and surrounding area. Being August, there is haze from several fires noticeable at the summit, but the air quality remains officially in the “good” category.
No hike can be perfect, though, and in my early morning, not fully awake stupor, I failed to take notice of the many signs stating no dogs, until we were already several miles in. I had hoped that we could just finish the trail quickly and be on our way, lesson learned, no harm done, and never to return with my dog. This was not our luck, however, as a flip-phone-carrying self-appointed trail guardian approached us on our way down from the summit, snapping a photo of the wonder mutt and myself violating trail rules, and letting me know I could face $100 fine if caught. (What is the male equivalent of a Karen? Is it a Kevin, a Ken? Either way, he was one!) I thanked him for his concern and kept walking.
Despite breaking the rules, it was still a beautiful and challenging hike. One of these days, I will catch my sunrise, likely during our upcoming backpacking trip. In the meantime, I will make sure to pay a little more attention to the trail rules.
Hope you all are having great outdoor adventures!
Wendy and Rebel the Wonder Mutt