This story took place last summer in Montana, where we’re currently at. I was reminded of our trip to Morrell Falls in Lolo National Forest as we drove past the sign for the trail on our way to paddle Lake Alva last weekend.
I was super excited when I learned about Morrell Falls trail. It’s a short, 2.7 mile one way hike with access to a lake on the way to the waterfall. Tybee loves the water and I thought this could be a great trip for her. Since Tybee can’t hike that far anymore, I thought we could easily bike in with her using her Croozer dog trailer.
I called the Seeley Lake ranger station to ask what the trail was like, double checking by asking, “Would I be able to push a baby stroller on the trail to the waterfall?” I figured saying baby stroller was easier to comprehend than a dog trailer and it would put my question into perspective. The woman I spoke to said yes, there are some sections with roots, but a baby stroller can make it. I hung up the phone, proud of myself for coming up with this great idea.
Except my brilliant plan ended up biting me and Tybee in the ass.
The initial section of trail was pretty smooth, which made me optimistic about the rest. I was really excited to get Tybee on an outing that was longer than the usual ~1 mile hike. She’d enjoy a nice bike ride, conserve energy so she could play in the lake, and we would get to ride our bikes. Like I said, I’m brilliant!
Then roots started to appear. And then rocks. They were small and spread apart enough that I could carefully pick my way around them while towing her. After awhile the trail turned upwards, steep, and chunky. Being stubborn, I left her in the trailer while trying to pull my bike and her up the hills. I didn’t want her to hike and get too tired to play. But pulling 80 lbs. of weight up a hill with her trailer slamming to a dead stop against rocks sucked. Eventually I had enough and took Tybee out of the trailer. Jerud would help me out by lifting the trailer over the rocks from behind, while I pushed forward. But he also had to keep an eye on her to make sure she didn’t trip on anything.
So we played this game for a while: putting her in the trailer and riding; then taking her out and pushing. The trail just kept getting more and more fit for mountain biking. It couldn’t have been comfortable for her, with all the bouncing and tossing around. Her trailer doesn’t have shocks on it.
There were a few fun downhill sections that were fast and bumpy - something that would have been more fun and safe if she wasn’t attached to my bike.
And then it happened, on a mild section of trail too. One of the trailer wheels got caught on the high side of a root causing the entire trailer to tip over – with her in it. Being the sweet and calm dog she is, she just laid in there on her side, waiting for us to help her out. Unfazed and unperturbed.
It wasn’t turning out to be the easy stroll as I had imagined. Tybee had walked more than I wanted her to and we still had to get back out. But she didn’t care at all. She was just happy to be with us and hanging outside.
We eventually got to the waterfall without any more incidents. She played in the water and Tyki chased things.
Luckily the trip back to the trailhead was a bit smoother, except when I tipped the trailer over again with her inside it. This time she was slightly annoyed with me. I imagined her giving me the finger from the trailer. Except I knew better, she was just rolling her eyes at me.
Let’s just say this time in Montana we didn’t make a day trip out of Morrell Falls again.