Saturday, April 21, 2012

Two Barks Mean Faster

Otter Falls & Lipsy Lake
Today's hike was a relatively easy jaunt along the Taylor River Road and up to Otter Falls and Lipsy Lake. The mileage was 8.5 with only 650' of gain. The real test of the day was driving to the trailhead up the dreaded Middle Fork Road. While setting up carpools, I quizzed would-be drivers to make sure their vehicles were able to handle the punishment of non-stop potholes, some deep, but all relentless for the 12-mile drive on the unpaved section of road. We narrowed it down to two cars and I chose to ride in Nicole's Toyota 4Runner, a wise choice.

On the way in, Nicole was testing the waters and not just in a figurative sense, as some of the potholes were full of rainwater and it would splash! on the windshield. One particularly bad non-stop action section had us rocking and rolling into fits of laughter, as our bodies were reduced to rag dolls and we were thrown about in our seats.

After a restroom stop, brought on by all the jostling, we arrived at the trailhead and hiked up the road-trail, sometimes in snow, sometimes not, to a lovely waterfall with water cascading down a slide. We each imagined ourselves careening down that slide on a hot summer day, splashing into the pool below. I said imagined. It was too steep to climb up there and the water was too darn cold to swim in (yes, even for me).

a pair of shorts and sign mark the way trail
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On the drive out, I related a story from a book I had recently read called The Art of Racing in the Rain where the main character, a race-car driver, takes his dog in his car on the track for some laps. Told from the dog's point of view, when the driver said to the dog, "one bark means 'slower', two barks means 'faster'", the dog barked twice repeatedly and the driver got up to racing speed. I looked at Nicole and said, "Woof! Woof!" and she tried going a little faster so we could float over the potholes instead of sink into them as our wise-man passenger Bob had suggested.

And float we did! We floated past the cars ahead of us who employed the weave-and-bob method of pothole avoidance, "Woof! Woof!" and all those many bumps on the way in were slight disturbances in our forward momentum. "Woof! Woof!" as we passed people looking over a bridge as they signaled to us to slow down. They should have said, "Woof!"

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