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Twin Falls State Park Hike – North Bend, WA

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Twin Falls in North Bend….no one fell in so the hike was a success in my book!

The semester ended for our kids this past Monday so the whole school district has to let the kids off for the day. I’m not sure if my kids really go to school for a full five days in a row. What, with all the holidays, late start days, etc. my kids never seem to go to school for a full week.

Wait children….

However, we aren’t here to complain about the state of our education system. Instead we are here to chat about another great little hike here in the Seattle area. It is the Twin Falls Hike off of I-90 in the North Bend area. This is a short hike coming in at only two miles round trip.

Of all the years I have live here, I have never done this hike. With all of this great winter weather we have been having lately, I thought we should take advantage of going on an easy hike during the “off season” of hiking. (Die hard hikers would say there is never an “off season”). From what I have read about this hike, it is a fairly popular hike especially during the summer. Consider it is January and we usually have a bunch of rain, I figured this is as a good time as any to do this hike.

Luckily, I checked the trail report at wta.org and learned that there was a washout on the trail to the Twin Falls. This would stop is if we left from the traditional trailhead off of Exit 34. Good thing I check it out before we started our hike. The Wta.org website is an excellent resource for all hikes in Washington State and I highly recommend checking it out before any hike.

We modified our starting point to the Ollalie State Park parking lot off of Exit 38. You start your hike on the Iron Horse Trail for about half a mile until you come to the spur/trail to the Twin Falls trail. The Iron Horse Trail is an old Burlington Northern railroad bed (now a service road) so the downhill grade is mild for about half a mile. The trail to Twin Falls is clearly marked (from the Iron Horse Trail) and you won’t miss it (unless your face is buried in your phone texting a friend).

After you leave the Iron Horse Trail and use the Twin Falls Trail, you will be going downhill for about 3/4 of a mile. Just remember, you will be going down and that means the way back is uphill.

Easy trail down for my hiking partners and myself. In our hiking band, we had my wife, my daughter, and another Girl Scout (and friend) with us. No one complained about the hike so that means it is a fairly easy one for 12 year old girls and 40 year old parents.

For all you math geeks, the different route brings this hike in at 2.5 miles.

Awesome detailed map of where you will be lost. The best part? You won’t have a clue of where you are at!

Overall, this hike is a good family hike and easy to do. We left the Covington area around 2 pm and we’re back to Covington by 5 pm. That included a stop at McDonalds for hot fudge sundaes (for the girls). Hey, I’m working out so I can win the Fat Ass Dads Weight Loss Challenge so I’m skipping that stuff. Well, until I get home…then I pig out and cry into my bowl of chocolate peanut ice cream….

At least Cyndi (my imaginary stalker) cares….

See those two dots? Those would be the kids I’m suppose to be in charge of.

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Boy Scout Camp: Camp Meriwether – The Camp of Broken Dreams, Tears, and Crybaby Hill

Boy Scout Camp: Camp Meriwether

  In June, I took over as Scoutmaster for my son’s Boy Scout troop.  This was my first Boy Scout camp where I was in charge as the head Scoutmaster.  In year’s past, I have always been the Assistant Scoutmaster; not the guy in charge.  I’m happy to report that this year things went smoothly at summer camp.  No major issues to report.  The new First Year Scouts (that have recently joined our troop) weren’t too homesick and our older scouts weren’t too much of trouble makers this year.  No fires to report; no hazing; only one scout who wandered off in the middle of the night; and only one disrespectful scout (who won’t be coming back) because as I told him “There is a new sheriff in town.”

  We had 19 scouts and 6 adults attend Camp Meriwether (located on the Oregon Coast near Tillamook) this summer.  It was nice to go back to the same Boy Scout summer camp again this summer.  Again, we were luckily enough to have a great campsite with a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean.  It is quite a bonus to wake up and see the surf crashing on the beautiful sand beach each morning.

  Boy Scout summer camp is in no way a picnic.  It is fun but it isn’t a vacation.  A vacation would entail me actually relaxing, sleeping in a comfortable bed, drinking a nice bottle of beer (or scotch) and having some really good food.  In reality, Boy Scout camp is me having to walk at least five minutes to a flush toilet, ten minutes to a hot shower, and waking up every morning at 6 am.  Not exactly my ideal vacation.  I also have to supervise 19 Boy Scouts who are mostly teenagers or pre-teens.  Imagine herding cats and you now know what Boy Scout camp is like.

  Some of the Boy Scouts are good; some are misdirected.  They are typical teenagers.  They want to sleep in (but they can’t).  They stay up too late.  Their nerves on at their last shreds of working and they begin to annoy each other.  They don’t take enough showers.  Some scouts like to take two showers a day while others don’t shower for the whole week.  Throw four boys into a cabin and it looks like the room was tossed by some overzealous vice cops on a drug bust; the cabin is just plain awful.  God knows if they actually brush their teeth or not.  Wash their hands?  One can only hope.

  On the plus side, we had great weather with mostly sunshine and no rain.  The food isn’t bad but I wouldn’t eat it long term.  To be fair, Camp Meriwether has the best food I have experienced at a Boy Scout camp.  Overall, the Scouts (and the adults) had a positive experience. 

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