Of all the Trail Sisters adventures you will read about, this one is probably the least adventurous. We aren’t ultra running or going to an exotic place, not attempting daring feats or fastest known times. What we are doing is making memories on the trails and showing that the trails are for everyone.
On July 27, 2018 I packed up my adventure SUV “Big Viv” (I name all my vehicles) and headed down south to pick up my Mom. Packed were poles, running shoes, hats, sunscreen, snacks, hydration packs and all things trail running for our adventure at Mount St. Helens in WA state. You see my Mom was a single mother raising two girls at a time when she should have been out adventuring. As an adult, I vowed to give my Mom the type of adventures she missed out on while raising my sister and I. As Mount St. Helens is one of my favorite places, I wanted to share that with her. Both she and I have always loved the outdoors and running so I figured it would be a perfect way to bond and make memories.
Our first stop was Johnson’s Ridge Observatory which provides visitors with information about the volcano, its eruption and how the area has changed. In addition to the information, it provides a stunning view of the volcano herself. We wandered around, snapped photos, and took a short walk reading information posted about the area, the wildlife and the volcano. As we finished up on our walk and educational discoveries, we decided to trail run the next day after a good night’s sleep.
We stayed at the Lone Fir Resort which I have used before when visiting. Rustic, yet clean and comfortable. As a bonus, they have a small restaurant that serves surprisingly good, hearty fair (mushroom pizza with truffle oil and arugula) and WA state craft beer on draft (carbs and beer?! win win). We ate pizza, laughed a lot (to the point I think they might have wondered about our sanity or sobriety. I discovered that my mother also needs to get out more into society. Since we both ordered personal pizzas, the waitress brought over the little stands that hold the pizza pans above the table allowing for more room. When the waitress set the stands down, I looked at my Mother, she had a puzzled look on her face. I asked her what she was confused about and she asked what the stands were used for. I told her for holding the pizza. For some reason my Mom had never seen one and was trying to figure out how the slice of pizza was going to stay on the stand and why would we do that anyway. I started to laugh until tears came out of my eyes and explained the stand was for the whole pizza pan to rest on. My Mom laughed so hard I was wondering if she was still able to breathe. I told her I would have to kidnap her for more adventures so she could learn about all the modern amenities like pizza stands.
The next day my Mom and I ended up choosing Cold Water Lake Trail as our route of choice. It is a nice distance with not too much elevation gain. My Mom is in good shape but is almost 73 years old, so I have to give her a bit of a break, and want her to enjoy it…not dread it.
Saturday morning we woke up and headed out to the trail. We got there and the parking lot at the trailhead was not too full which was nice. Got our supplies ready and headed out. The weather was absolutely beautiful, if not a bit warm (in the mid 80s which for us Washingtonians is downright balmy!). The trail was fairly runable with very little elevation gain and not too many people to avoid. Several spots of shade helped break up the monotony of the heat, and the breeze off the lake was heavenly when it decided to grace us with her presence. About half way on our run we climbed down to to a quiet spot near some water to enjoy a drink and a snack before climbing back up and continuing on the route. The trail was perfect for a day of running, hiking and finding a beautiful spot in the shade. In the distance you could see parts of Mount St. Helens and tons of wildflowers. The area was just gorgeous.
At one point during the run, my Mom stopped to sip some water. I turned around and looked at her noticing that she was struggling with the bite valve on her hydration pack. I asked her what happened and she said she couldn’t get it back on. I asked her how it came off and she told me she pulled it off so she could drink. I probably smirked at her (to which she gave me the Mom sideways hairy eyeball already figuring out I had something to say) and told her that it doesn’t have to come off. After she fixed it, I showed her how to turn the little lever which allows water to flow without taking it off. Again, laughter ensued. I am pretty sure she is thrilled she doesn’t have to fight the bite valve on to the tube again. At this point, I am sure she is waiting to have the opportunity to make fun of me. After about 2 hrs, my Mom had enough of the heat and we headed back to the vehicle.
For those that haven’t been to the Mount St. Helens area, it’s a mecca of trails and a very large area. We spent a lot of time driving to and from the hotel, trails and other points of interest. The time in the car, although not trail running allowed us to laugh, share stories and have a wonderful time. For those that worry about me making fun of my Mom, she is the person I got my sense of humor from so turnabout is fair play. While driving I reminded her of the time when my sister and I were little and we were in the grocery store. We must have been driving her crazy which triggered a little Mom revenge. She leaned over the shopping cart, started dragging one foot, made moaning noises and started yelling our names..strangely. My sister and I ran to the next aisle. I believe my Mother got a whole 10 minutes of peaceful shopping after that! Taking time to remember great times growing up, both in the car and on the trail, was a great way to thank my Mom for all that she did for us.
We headed back home the next morning after an amazing two days. We took pictures, talked, laughed, learned, ate and had such a wonderful time making really wonderful memories.
The thing about being outdoors and on the trails, they are for everyone. Old, young, slow, fast, short, tall, male and female, able and even in a wheelchair. So many places to go, so many things to see, so many adventures to have; and there is a trail that will suit every adventure and adventurer. Get out there, spend time on the trails making memories!
Thank you to Trail Sisters, CamelBak and Under Armour for the chance to make more memories with my Mom and to give her the adventures she didn’t get to have earlier in life.