A recent Seattle transplant to Mazama expressed an observation about the hot spots where a local takes a visitor to share a flavor of the area. In Seattle, it was the obvious: Space Needle, Pike Place Market, Ballard Locks, and a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island. In Mazama, the list also begins with the obvious: the Mazama Store — a must to experience local culture. Then, there’s a Methow Community Trail bicycle ride to at least the Tawlks-Foster Suspension Bridge, pizza at Jack’s Hut or Woodstone Pizzeria, a splash in the river at the Mazama swim hole (or anywhere else along the cooling river), and a hike to Cedar Creek Falls.
The hike on USFS #476 Cedar Creek Trail is 1.7 miles to the falls with an elevation gain of 500 feet — doable for most able-bodied, but inexperienced, hikers. The reward of viewing the falls that drops a total of 95 feet in two successive tiers is worth the 60 minutes and 5,000 uphill steps it takes to get there. Even a miniature Dachshund can do it. Huh?
If the Mazama Store family had a mascot, it would be Ralph, owner Missy LeDuc’s miniature Dachshund. As adorable dogs are wont to do, Ralph elicits smiles and good cheer just by his presence.
On one of the recent super hot days, Missy’s son and daughter, Marc and Marielle, along with companions Natalie and Elyse, made the trek to Cedar Creek Falls with little Ralph at their side. Upon arrival, that cool creek water must have looked extremely inviting to Ralph. He trotted in.
What happened next was shocking to the hiking troop. The current caught Ralph and he floated too far out to rescue. Within seconds, he had disappeared over the precipice to the shock of the onlookers. “Oh, no! Mom will be devastated,” must have been Marc and Marielle’s immediate collective thought.
Horrified, the group ran down the trail to the bottom of the 50-foot drop completely expecting to find a limp pup’s body to sadly take home. But, Ralph had a different plan. Miraculously surviving the fall, he luckily found himself in a safe eddy aside the swiftly moving creek. Overjoyed, the hikers scooped up Ralph and headed home, relieved, with a story to tell.
I was reminded of the Maclean brothers and their reckless rowboat ride over a falls in “A River Runs Through It.” Friends watching were sure that was the end of Norman and Paul; but it was not. They, too, survived.
A couple of other special dogs and their co-workers visited the Mazama Store this past weekend. Washington State Patrol K-9 troopers stopped for a bite to eat after a day of work with their drug-sniffing dogs. Aaron and his springer spaniel and Charles and his black Labrador have spent hours in training with their dogs to finesse their invaluable skills. Trooper Aaron stated that many of the K-9 squad dogs come from rescue facilities because they are too hyper to make good pets. They are working dogs. “Give me a job!” is their mantra. The troopers are very thankful to have these canines as co-workers.
Remember to buy your Kiwanis Duck Race “three buck duck”!
Milestone: This is my 50th column.