Wanting to get 5+ miles in, and realizing I had not got Riley out for a hike in awhile, we grabbed our gear and some water and headed out to a section of the South Valley Trail we had yet to hike, between the waterfalls of the South Fork and the lake formed by the Civilian Conservation Corps dam.
What I really like about this trail is how it remains just a foot path, tucking into the forest, providing opportunities to take a break creekside, and the coolness of the shade as you work your way along.
Of course, Riley has a blast and takes off like a bandit first thing, expending 90% of her energy in the first quarter mile. She eventually settles in to a more constant pace, picking up scents of dear, chasing butterflies, birds and reflections on the water.
Alas, we make it to the dam and the lake beyond. We take a break on the rocks, listening to the waterfall, watching the shadows get longer in the late afternoon sun. Riley knows the way back from here, so as I get up to put my camelbak on, she is already on the move, plopping in the water to chase a waterbug, running over rocks to get back to the trail, chasing the scent of some animal of the forest; burning up 90% of her energy in the first quarter mile.
Hike on, friends!