I’ve been trying to post these logs the day of our hike but this week has been rough so far. T got sick, like really gross sick, for the first time ever. Juggling puky toddler with baby wore me out, so by the time I had a moment to post, I just wanted to sit and not think. We did this hike a couple of days ago, on Sunday. I read that the park can be crowded during the summer and I understand why. Its not very far from the highway, and there is an abundance of river access points. But on this mild April morning, it was pretty quiet. Our goal was to get in 4 miles, and we had another little kid and his dad along. Fortunately the trails are set up in a way that brought us back to the parking lot a couple of times because we ended up cutting it short by about 1.25 miles. The kids were at the point where they had fun but were at the end of their reserves for good behavior, so we decided to end on a high note.
We arrived a little later than planned, even though we left on time. Doing anything with one kid is complicated enough, and we are still getting a routine down for two. Once we finally got going, we let T and the other boy go to the river to throw rocks, which they probably would have done the whole time if we let them.
The interpretive trail headed towards the edge of the park, where there was a bridge and signs indicating where the “geysers” were. We headed up to the Bubbling Geyser first, a trail with a bit of climb and some stairs towards the end. The geyser isn’t very dramatic, but there is a gray coating on everything from the chemical reactions happening there. T wouldn’t let me help him on the stairs (“Tr do!!!”) and handled them very well himself, thank you very much. We hit up the park’s namesake next.
I’m sure the name “Flaming Geyser” sounds exciting and dramatic, but the reality is far from it. Fortunately, I had read enough ahead of time that my expectations were low. The history and logistics of early 20th century drilling are interesting, but the little hole in the ground is no longer aflame.
Our next path (River Trail) led us along the river, away from the parking area. There are two trails after the bridge: one that goes straight down to the river and one that is longer and leads up a hill. It would eventually also meet with the river. We made our way at kid-speed up the hill, stopping along the way to observe “poodle trees” (moss covered branches) or to ride on downed trees. After descending down to the river level, we came to a “tree fort” that the boys LOVED. Its comprised of a large tree growing out of the stump of an even bigger tree. The roots spilled down around the old stump, and it was raised high enough that you could duck under the branches and be under an evergreen canopy. After assuring T that we could see it again on our way back, we continued. At this point, Justin was having to carry him a bit, I think he was getting tired after our stair climb. It ended up working out great because the rest of the way to the river was mucky and wet.
The river area is sandy and we had it to ourselves. After a quick snack, we decided to head back as our two were getting restless. Si decided he was over the whole thing though, and no amount of pacing and bouncing would settle him. Justin thought he was too warm on him so I carried him the rest of the way, sans carrier. Any time I turned him to face me, he fussed. He wanted to see the world! Once we got back to the parking area, we decided it was time for lunch and we’d call it a day.
There is a model plane flying area that I would like to see if we make it down again; I think T would really enjoy it. The trail is pretty kid-safe and wide, although very wet right now. A few small trees were down across the trail, but nothing that would be too hard for most people. There wasn’t much in the way of trash or debris but that could be due to low traffic in the spring. Oh, and there is a playground, but the ground is totally submerged in water due to spring runoff and a very wet couple of weeks.
WTA guide: Flaming Geyser State Park
State Park page: Flaming Geyser State Park