We ended up hiking this trail because I’d read there were waterfalls but we had no expectations of actually making it there or anywhere too far due to Abby’s snail pace, exacerbated by recent high temperatures. We were thus surprised that when we lifted her down from the truck that she immediately began trotting – actually trotting – down the trail. Tom and I followed, momentarily confused until I heard what Abby already knew: there were marmots. We both smiled, watching her patrolling back and forth along the path while chirps and whistles came from under the fallen logs, commenting that she had instantly become 12 again and wondering how many minutes she had left of keeping up the 3 mile an hour pace.
The further we went the more we were serenaded however, driving Abbs into tracking overtime, seeing her scurry off, and even jumping over logs to go investigate. She just couldn’t not do it. As she was clearly eager to continue the hike we followed her down the trail for about a mile and a half until we heard the characteristic sounds of falling water and took a side path towards section of river that dropped precipitously through a tight turn and into a small gorge. After a long break there we decided we would turn back from here despite Abby’s enthusiasm, though I went a quarter mile further down the trail before doubling back in order to better see the grandeur of the glacial valley ahead.
The return trip was not much slower that our trek out even as Abby passed the 3 mile mark – 3 times her average distance over the past few months. Utterly focused on the marmots, it seemed she had not only forgotten many of her limitations but she had regained a sense of purpose and joy that we hadn’t witnessed in quite some time. And so as lovely as the falls and the valley were to look at, we ended the hike happy just to see her truly enjoying life again for a brief moment.