This is one of those must do with kids hikes. At least that’s the word on the street. I’ve known about Pretzel Tree Trail since back when Blaise and Laine were toddlers, and I never took them. For one, it’s a short hike. And back in their toddler days, I was taking them on 3-4 mile hikes. And second, it’s a must do hike, which to me means it’s likely busy… I avoid crowds at all costs. I really dropped the ball with Saige and Baby, taking them hiking. Their toddler years are a bit of a blur, after having four kids in five years. I didn’t take them hiking as much as I did Blaise and Laine, and it’s quite obvious now. Anything more than a mile usually gets complaints. I still take them, usually with bribes to avoid hearing their complaints. They’re getting better, thankfully.
Blaise and Laine, toddler hikers! Circa August 2013. Laine had just turned two and Blaise was almost three. This was a 3.5 mile hike on Cougar Mountain.
Pretzel Tree Trail is 0.3 miles and has storyboards along the way. It was a perfect, short hike for Saige and Baby, and even Maive. I needed a quick outing because I was two loads behind on laundry, and had limited time to catch up before picking up Blaise and Laine from their Wilderness class. With a family of seven you do not want to get behind on laundry.
We made it to the trailhead on Squak Mountain about 10:15am. One of the girls’ little friends met us there. There was ample parking, weekday morning and all. We parked and prepared for the short hike. I opted for the stroller instead of the hiking backpack for Maive, hoping the trail was stroller-friendly (it is). I wanted to be able to get her in-and-out easily, knowing she’d want to walk a bit.
Baby was pouting and wanted nothing to do with the hike at first; she wasn’t even willing to stand for a picture in front of the sign at the start of the hike. She was mad that I didn’t let her have a song pick in the car ride over, and Saige got one. Not because I didn’t want Baby to pick. But because the song Saige picked was already on the album I was playing, and I could easily navigate to her song without having to use my phone while driving. A totally inappropriate song (and album). That I won’t be playing around the kiddos anymore. I buy songs with beats I like and then I learn the lyrics after listening a few times. I should know better by now. Sometimes Baby acts like the baby. I keep telling myself time will help… time will help, time will help.
From the parking lot, there is a short 0.1 mile stroll until the trailhead of the Pretzel Tree Trail. Saige of course found a tree trunk to pose on for a picture. She loves having her picture taken. And rightly so, she’s a cutie.
Not far from the start of the trail is the first storyboard. Saige started to read the sucker but she still needs to sound out words she isn’t familiar with. It was taking a bit long. She was cool with me finishing reading the board. We made it about five boards in before we got bored. I know, this is terrible… but man, the story was dragging on and with each board I swear they added more text, smaller even. I was over the story by the time we found the Pretzel Tree. Perhaps I’m a bad example for the kiddos but we skipped reading the rest of the boards. My kiddos were more excited to be out and about, climbing on the downed trees along the trail and checking out the surrounding area.
The trail was nice but felt old. Maybe that’s because that’s how I feel about all the trails on Squak Mountain?! I mean, it’s not any older than Cougar or Tiger but Squak feels less travelled. I’m probably totally wrong here, just a feeling. And by old, it looked overgrown and stuff was on the ground. Not well-kept. There was nothing that caught my attention other than the Pretzel Tree. I take that back—I liked the fallen split tree, just off the trail. Maive loved walking inside the split.
The Pretzel Tree.
Old feeling Squak Mountain. With stuff on the ground. Haha, I know there is stuff on the ground in forests. It felt like more than I’m used to. Like post-windstorm stuff on the ground. (There had been no windstorm.)
The downed split tree along the trail.
Speaking of Maive… this was her first official hike, as a hiker! She started in the stroller and I took her out about two-thirds of the way in. But then we circled the trail again, so she officially hiked Pretzel Tree Trail. She even navigated a large tree root over the trail. She has hiking figured out. At 16 months. Haha.
Navigating a tree root on the trail. Go, Maive!
Wrapping up the hike. And Baby stood by the trail sign as we left. I’ll take it!
Yeah, I realize this is a bit of a negative review. But it was a fun outing and I’d take them again, if they ask. I’m happy to have finally checked it off the list. The storyboards were cute, visually, and looking for the Pretzel Tree was fun. And bonus, we pretty much had the trail to ourselves. There was another mom and her two young boys but we managed to keep quite a distance between our groups. We enjoyed the trail about an hour—circling it twice—before leaving for home. I successfully caught up on laundry. Even though I put it off until after picking up Blaise and Laine from their Wilderness class. It was too nice of an afternoon to do laundry… I hit trail with Maive and Mel for a five-miler after we got home.
And I take back there was nothing interesting, these two pictures make me smile (in addition to all the kiddo pictures).
Until next time. Hopefully tomorrow. The plan is to hit a new trail with the kiddos, about two miles total.