Cameron wanted to go back to the Tripyramids this summer and hike both slides this time. Last year, we didn’t hike the south slide because he didn’t like the loose rock and gravel and opted to hike down the Scaur Ridge Trail instead. This year, he decided to do the entire Mt. Tripyramid Trail loop. Since he now has more experience, he was confident the south slide would not be a problem. I had never hiked the south slide either, so I was happy to go along for the experience.
We got a very early start because we knew that there was a chance of afternoon thunderstorms in addition to the fact that it was going to be hot and humid. We wanted to be off the slides and into the woods if and when the weather changed. Since it was midweek, parking at the large Livermore parking area was hardly challenging, so up the Livermore Trail we went. Our pace was quick, as it seemed like we were the only mammals some of the flying, biting insects had ever encountered. It was encouraging to know that while the walk to the Mt. Tripyramid trail was a bit long, it was easy and once on the north slide itself, we’d probably be free of the bugs. We passed all the landmarks that we remembered from last year’s trip and soon enough we had a nice break at the northern Mt. Tripyramid junction. After that, we crossed the stream and were on our way to the slide. We found the base of the slide and started working our way upward. The first section was easy and we found quite a few yellow blazes. After a while, the slide opened up and we saw a few cairns here and there. At this point, it actually doesn’t matter as long as you continue upward; higher up the slide, where the slide splits, the right hand track is where there are some large cairns and where the trail reenters the woods. Further up the slide, we encountered the same loose rocks as last year. Cameron was confident this time and soon we could see the first of the large cairns. We continued upward, parallel to each other so that we wouldn’t kick loose stones on to each other. We made it to the top and saw our exit into the woods on the left. Before we left, we took a few photos and enjoyed the scenery.
Once in the woods, we talked about the slide. Cameron really liked the slide and the loose rock didn’t bother him this year at all (last year he was so happy to get into the woods he hugged a tree!). We arrived at the North peak, and while checking out the views, saw our first hiker of the day. We moved along toward Middle Tri and after a short break there, continued on to South Tri. Neither of us had ever been to South Tri, so this was new for us. It wasn’t really all that long and we made the last climb to the top. Once past the top, we found a campsite where Ethan stayed last summer, and then headed downward. Soon enough, we came to an open area with loose rock, the top of the south slide.
We picked our way down the slide parallel to each other, making sure not to shower rocks on the other. We passed the junction with the Kate Sleeper Trail and kept heading downward. We passed through a forested section and thought we might be done with the slide, but then it opened up again, with more loose, gravelly footing. We took our time through here and at one point, Cameron even did a little butt-sliding down. We met another hiker here, who commented something to the effect that the butt-sliding was more fun in the winter! The slide started to get narrower and less than 10 minutes, we were back on a dirt trail in the woods, which was so very different from the slide. At that point, you wouldn’t even know there was a slide around there anywhere, as it looked so much like any other trail. We knew the worst was over and it would be a very easy, albeit, long four mile or so walk back to the car. One nice thing was that there was a brook crossing at the junction with the Livermore Trail good for cooling off our feet and skipping stones. Back on the Livermore Trail, it was truly easy hiking right back to the car.
This was an interesting hike for many reasons. The most obvious was that we finally got to hike both slides and some new trail. Beyond that it was interesting for me to compare my son’s hiking from last year to this year. Physically, he’s grown in size over the last year, which makes the hiking a bit easier. He also has more endurance than year so an 11 mile hike was not as difficult for him as last year’s. Now that he has more experience, he has quite a bit of confidence over varied terrain. It is a blessing to watch his growth and development not only as a hiker and but also as a young person.