Echo Falls, NV

One of the best feelings in the world is discovering something amazing entirely without the intention of doing so.

This past weekend we embarked on a hike up at Mount Charleston. Looking for new locations, we ventured off in a direction we'd never journeyed before. Our curiosity was rewarded when we stumbled across gorgeous cascades of tumbling water.

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The trek towards this spot begins at the Echo Falls trail head. It's only a mile's hike to this location, but the journey is entirely uphill and can be taxing depending on the ability of the hiker.

The temperature on this day was 35 degrees and the sky was coated in clouds for most of the hike, until they finally broke as we neared our destination.

For whatever reason, the dogs were especially full of energy on this hike. Usually when we begin a hike, we allow the dogs to sniff around and check things out at their leisure, after which they fall into a relaxed and comfortable pace. This day was different - It was almost as if Grayson had his senses fixed on this place all along. He seemed in a constant rush to press forward, which is so unlike his usual demeanor.

Of course, we paused in several spots along the way up, much to Grayson's dismay, for photos.

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By the time we were getting close to the water, Grayson's tail was really moving, tongue lolling and eyes focused. Weston didn't seem quite so intrigued, but was happy to follow big brother's lead and press onward as well. Not even the deer off to our right could break their focus.

Soon, their paws hit the water, which was lined on both sides with icy snow. The boys both drank heavily, splashed around a bit, and Grayson taught Weston how to perform the perfect snow roll.

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Happy and surprised as we were to see water, for a while we didn't consider what could be beyond this flowing stream. We were so excited to have found a patch of snow and a hidden oasis, but the pups had other plans and wanted to explore further. We carefully waded through the stream and over the hardened snow. At one point, James' boot did collapse the snow and his foot fell straight through into icy water that was surging below. We proceeded with caution.

We could hear the roaring water and as we rounded the canyon corner we saw the tumbling water.

Grayson was eager to climb up and investigate. Having never been in quick moving water, Weston was more hesitant and tested each step carefully. He shied away as he drew nearer to one of the larger falls, but Grayson's eagerness willed him forward and he handled the entire situation with ease.

After playing in the water for a bit, Weston became much more comfortable and bold, venturing out to the edges and pouncing on the moving water.

It turned out to be one of my favorite hikes. Finding snow this late in the year is a rare treasure and coupling it with water makes it that much better. Both of the boys were so lively and alert; It was such a fun day for the two of them.

It just goes to show - Those who take paths less traveled are often rewarded.

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