Naches Peak Loop, Part Dos

THIS IS MY FAVORITE TRAIL EVER! Seriously. Darrick is still debating whether it’s this or Snow Lake, but for me it’s this one, hands down. The reason is because at every point on the trail, you have an incredible, breathtaking view. Darrick likes some forest cover, but I’m all about staring into the expansiveness that is our incredible earth!

So anyways, we did this one last summer, too, and Olivia walked about a third of it. Throughout the year we always referenced this trail as the “one she was training for!” Just felt fun to have a goal. 😉 Of course she was perfectly fine — it’s 3.2 miles and nothing about it is very challenging. Awesome for the kiddos! (The hardest part is probably the 2 hour drive, especially since we don’t let her use technology because we’re the best parents in the world …. JUST kidding LOL. It was iPad games on the way in and out-like-a-light on the way out.)

The Naches Peak Loop Trail begins at Tipsoo Lake, which is beautiful. (I think many folks come just to walk around the lake and picnic!) Both times we’ve hiked the loop clockwise so we can stare at Mt. Rainier for as long as possible. At the beginning, you cross over a road, which confused us the first time for some reason. Then there’s another beautiful lake/pond about a third of the way in. A fun spot to play and snack if you’re with little ones! At the halfway point (ish), you’ll get an incredible view of Dewey Lake. (It’s on our list to spend the night by the lake next year when the backpacking season begins!)

And for the FIRST TIME EVER, we saw a bear! I was definitely a little scared … but it was really, really cool, too. He clearly wanted nothing to do with us. 🙂

Oh, and next time instead of picnicking, I think we’ll plan on hitting up the Naches Tavern on the way home. It looks adorbs!

In summary, I (obviously) recommend this trail!!




Papa and Grandma Jane flew in yesterday from Chicago, so today we took them to the Washington Park Arboretum.

We went from the Visitor’s Center, past Duck Bay, through Foster Island, and onto Marsh Island (where we’d actually never been before!). It was a beautiful day, and fun to watch the boats on the water.

(I’m itching to go back this fall to explore the REST of the arboretum and to see the leaves changing.)


We followed up our walk with lunch at University Village, our favorite mall.

Olivia the photographer!


Lime Bike! These things are everywhere in Seattle right now!!!


Love this little one so much.

Cougar Mountain – De Leo Wall Trail

Super busy day/week, but we had to get out!!! Found a close, short-ish trail. Olivia was tired … still recovering from 2 late nights of firework watching … so there was some carrying involved.

Cougar Mountain has 35 miles (!) of trails, so there is much exploring that can be done here!

We hiked the De Leo Wall Trail, which is rated “moderate.” The only semi-challenging part was getting out to the viewpoint, and the rest was easy (the kind of trails that are better for running than hiking). We also found that Olivia whines more on easier trails. I think it’s out of boredom. So while we recommend this trail if you need something flat, quick, and close; it’s not one of our favs. (Maybe the other trails are more exciting!)

Side note, when we ventured off to find the viewpoint, it felt a little like we were lost. We weren’t, but beware it might feel a little weird. We had access to a map on our phone, but here’s another map for reference. We saw at least one person come out in the wrong place, so it’s easy to get turned around!


Northwest Trek

We have been itching to go to this place, and Family Wednesday seemed the perfect opportunity!

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is 723 acres total. It has a zoo-like area with bears and felines, an EPIC park, and some other cool stuff, but its primary feature is a tram tour which takes you through a 435-acre free-range area. As you drove along, you searched the area for animals — such anticipation! I’m always worried we’ll be the one ride where you see nothing, but man, we saw a TON of wildlife.

Super super cool experience!!


Twin Falls

How fun that momma’s birthday landed on a Family Day! We went out for breakfast and then headed to Twin Falls in North Bend. There’s nothing like hiking on a weekday — barely anyone on the trails! My little crazies took a dip in the river at the end. It was so cold I’m surprised we didn’t see any chunks of ice float by. Glad Olivia has her daddy to take on chilly adventures. 🙂

New Tradition: Family Day!

Since mom and dad have to work on Saturdays, we made it a family goal to take Wednesdays off with Olivia once she started preschool. This is our very first family day!

We started at the mall, because we needed to get Olivia’s “inside” shoes for school, and we waited too long even for Amazon Prime. We found a fancy bathroom with a seating area and a HUGE mirror, so Olivia put on a few song and dance shows for momma. (And yes, she made momma take a turn, too. I performed a riveting version of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”)



After that we trekked around inside the Arboretum, which is just on the cusp of fall, and so very beautiful. We also visited Duck Bay at the perfect time and were greeted by dozens of very friendly ducks. A few tried to follow us, but didn’t make it past the bridge.

And then Olivia’s Prince Charming ended our day by catching her a very magical-looking lilypad. Thanks, Daddy!!


Langley and Ebey’s Landing

What a FUN way to spend a chilly, drizzly day in August! We lived out our previous plan to visit Langley and hike Ebey’s Landing.

Along with Papa and Grandma Jane, we hopped (well, drove) onto the ferry to Whidbey Island.

Our first stop after landing was Langley. Langley is a super cute waterfront town. You can dilly dally your way through 1st and 2nd St, meandering in and out of shops and galleries.

After exploring for awhile, we visited the Star Store Market to stock up on picnic goodies — meats, cheeses, crackers, olives, and drinks. Then we headed down to the waterfront for a picnic. I had hoped to play on an actual beach, but the water was so high that our only option was grass and a picnic table. No matter! Still a beautiful place to have lunch!

After lunch, we drove north toward Coupeville to hike Ebey’s Landing. We parked at the seaside parking lot at the end of Ebey’s Landing Road to do the short version of the hike. This is beautiful and mostly flat, perfect for little ones and beginners! And the view at the top of the bluff is just incredible.

After our hike, we were quite wet and craving hot chocolate. (Thank goodness I had packed extra clothes for Olivia!) We drove back down to Langley to be closer to the ferry, and by the time we got there, decided we were in the mood for ice cream instead of hot chocolate. 🙂

The one thing we forgot to bring was a stuffy for a car nap on the way home. Luckily we had a roll of paper towels and a marker, and “Towely” was born. #momoftheyear