With Slaed away for the weekend, Bergen (2 years) and I were left to hold down the fort. I could have spent the time dutifully cleaning the house, writing-up extensive grocery shopping lists after meal planning for the week, and tackling the laundry, but where’s the fun in that?
Instead, I put together a little hiking adventure. I’d read about Anti-Aircraft peak in Bellevue in one of my trail running books, and realized it would be a great hike to tackle with Bergen. The hike is relatively flat with little elevation gain making it another great introductory hike for the little guy. I also knew that when he legs grew tired, it wouldn’t be a big deal for me to strap him on my back in the ergo and continue on.
Bergen is a great hiking companion, but unpredictable as his pace goes in fits and starts. At times he’s barreling down the trail full speed ahead.
Then the next thing you know, he slows to a crawl and is stopping for an in-depth investigation of a leaf, small critter or pine cone. He’s even been known to sit down on the job. This is tricky as a parent. I want him to learn and be curious about the world around him, but I also can’t help but be concerned about the time on the clock. He might sit down because he wants to get a closer look at a new treasure. At the same time though, he might also be wiped out!
Despite his lack of a more regular pace, he brings a sense of fun, adventure and wonder to the trail that you just can’t get when hiking alone or with an adult companion. This became incredibly apparent when we heard the sounds of “clippity-clop, clippity-clop” in the distance. I was honestly surprised by the noise, and a little startled. Most of the places we hike prohibit these creatures from sharing the trail, so a possible encounter is never on my mind. After a second or two, it finally registered that a horse (and it’s rider) was coming our way, and I got super excited for Bergen to get to experience this up close and personal.
As we moved to the side of the trail and the horse began to pass, Bergen was quite frightened: Understandably so! “Splash”, the name given to him because of the spot towards his rear that looks like a splash of water, is seriously one of the biggest horses I’ve ever seen, and his rider attested to this too. He was bred for jumping and other show sports, and was doing some rehabilitation via the trails to get back into shape.
In large part due to the rider’s sweet interaction with Bergen, he warmed up pretty quickly, and by the time she circled back and passed us again, he was making his usual horse-neighing sounds and giggling with delight. Although, he was NOT at all interested in giving him a pat when offered the chance; still uncertain about getting too close.
We had a few more animal encounters along the way like birds flittering by, plenty of slugs, and even a hurried frog hopping across our path. I was surprised once again when we made our way back to the trail head, and I saw a sign for the pergola and viewpoint.
In my research, I guess I didn’t pay attention to the fact that Anti-Aircraft Peak has one of the highest accessible points on Cougar Mountain (and as the name might imply large guns were placed here during World War II in order to shoot down invading airplanes). I’m used to having to work for my view, but here the lookout, dubbed the “Million Dollar View” is just a few steps from the parking area.
With all that overcast making it hard to see the land, it almost looked to me like a San Juan Island view, but pictured here is Lake Sammamish. On clear days, views of Mount Baker and even the downtown Seattle skyline are supposedly visible. We’ll have to return when the skies are more cooperative and see for ourselves!
Info to Know:
- More detailed hiking routes and directions to the trail head can be found on the Washington Trails Association website.
- Parking is free (no special passes necessary).
- No Strollers.
- With many different trails intersecting with various names, it’s best to bring a map (they are some at the trail head) otherwise, the routes can get quite confusing.
- Park has restrooms and picnic tables.
Have you ever hiked with horses? Tell us about your experience!
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