April 12, 2015

Pratts Falls

Frankie and I have been doing a lot of urban adventuring in the last few weeks, ranging beyond the rectangular grids of our immediate neighborhood into the surrounding environs.  Just in the last week, we’ve taken walks of 1.5, 2.7, and 3.1 miles here in the city, exploring South Campus, the water towers, two long sets of “secret” stairs, and various woodlots that were never developed due to steep terrain.  And of course the playgrounds, of great importance to a 4-year old, albeit somewhat less exciting for me.  Although we’ve been out in all sorts of weather conditions, the weekend forecast looked especially promising.  I decided we’d go to the woods for a real hike on the best day.  And what a day it was!  I truly love spring. 



We went to Pratts Falls.  The snow has finally melted, and it melted fast, so I knew the water levels would be high.  I thought it would be a good time to impress the boy.  Of course, he's seen waterfalls before, and had been to Pratts a few years ago, but still... it was clear he wasn't entirely sure what to expect.  It was so much fun to watch his reaction to the sound of the crashing water as we got closer, and then see his little face when we rounded the last bend.  He had a snack at the observation area at the base of the falls, and was ready to move on again in short order.  We took the rest of the Falls Trail, a short loop through a beautiful forest that pops back out on the far side of the parking lot.  When the lot was back in sight, we stopped to chat with some friends who happened to be hiking the same trail in the opposite direction.  It had been too long, so it was a real treat to bump into them even briefly (we all had to move on when their 8-month old got restless in his carrier).      

Imagine my joy when Frankie announced he wanted to hike another trail!  We detoured around a little pond to cross a tiny covered bridge, then checked out the view from the top of the falls.  We eventually made it over to the other trailhead and decided on the North Rim Crossover Trail.  We passed numerous small cascades along the way, many in places that are dry in the summer time.  Frankie brought along a toy figurine of Huckle Cat, a favorite character from Richard Scary's Busytown.  He had fun talking to Huckle, showing him things, and finding good spots for me to take his picture.  We took several breaks, for Frankie to rest and hydrate and snack and play.  He also did a lot of running ahead, especially going down hills on straight sections of trails.  Throwing snowballs into a stream from a bridge was endlessly entertaining.

When we got back to the parking area, we discovered Erwin was there, so Frankie got to tell him all about our hike, and show him the view from the overlook at the top of the falls.  Then we stopped for milkshakes again on the way home.  It was a really fantastic day.  


Playing on the benches. 





Blue trail markers on the Falls Trail. 









The North Rim and Crossover Trails are marked with yellow.










He does not like wearing sunglasses. We tried two different pairs today, but they never last long.



Huckle found some moss.



Crossing a stream.


Throwing snowballs off the bridge.

Making footprints.

We hiked the Falls Trail clockwise, then the North Rim Crossover Trail counterclockwise.  Route highlighted in green. 


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