adam, grandma and i walk the Old Robe Trail into Robe Canyon where we’re turned back from the first troll-filled tunnel by teetering, fractured boulders

Going back to last Saturday, I’ve been plagued by insomnia. Unfortunately it’s the kind of insomnia where you wake up innocently enough in the middle of the night to go pee or get a glass of water and by the time you lay back down it’s already a classic case of spiraling rapidly from grogginess to an alert wrestling match with all your life problems or the recent things you’ve been remembering to write down so you don’t forget. And with so much on my mind last night (or this morning at 2:30 AM I should say) I lay awake and it occurred to me taking Mom and Adam on a pleasant woods hike the next morning would be nice. After a late breakfast we bid adieu to Diana and headed out of the city northeast into the Cascade foothills for a short hike into rugged Robe Canyon via the Old Robe Trail.

It’s hard to believe a railroad was shoehorned into this rocky gorge for transporting minerals out of the Monte Cristo area of the Cascades. The evidence is in abundance in the form of railroad ties, twisted steel and bent spikes. Adam enjoyed this hike, I knew he would. He loves trains! Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to even the first tunnel because the last few years have been rough on this trail and there is a nasty rock slide that makes things interesting. I scouted ahead to make a determination of whether we should continue and was sufficiently spooked by the teetering fractured rock sitting every which way. No wonder it was such trials and tribulations repairing the constant damage to the railway through here.  Although I could have made it easily enough, there was no way on earth I was taking Adam and Mom any further. I’ve been through the first tunnel, but that was a long time ago. Adam was probably somewhat relieved we couldn’t reach the tunnel because all the way from home I kept kidding about how a troll lived in there who might try to eat us. He was quite amused by my story and assured Grandma they were only for pretend but nevertheless he was happy to have the trekking pole so he could poke the troll’s eye out, just in case trolls turned out to be real. Because trolls really are very nasty, especially the kind that live above Granite Falls.

In all, we walked a little over three miles. At the beginning of the hike, you switchback very steeply 200-300 feet down to the river bottom. After that, it’s nice and flat. Adam walked all the way down on his own. Where the trail enters the rugged canyon, my Mom and I took turns holding his hand. On the way back when the footing got better, I carried him to the trail-head on my shoulders both because he was tired and I felt like getting some exercise.

We stopped for milkshakes, coffee and ice cream cones on the way home.

My Mom wore a fuzzy pink hat.

You can see the first tunnel in the distance, it looks like a shadowy hole in the trees from here. I wish I would have taken a picture of the rock slide to share.

Here are a couple pictures of Adam and Mom standing where the Old Robe Trail starts to get really interesting, entering the rocky gorge.

3 thoughts on “adam, grandma and i walk the Old Robe Trail into Robe Canyon where we’re turned back from the first troll-filled tunnel by teetering, fractured boulders

  1. Hi Bruce, it’s nice to hear from you. Happy holidays to your family. Regarding the upside down warning, very rugged rocky walls loom over the path in Robe Canyon and various slide activity has made a mess of things over the years. This sign was a casualty of a rock-slide, it got twisted around when some boulders came crashing down!

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