Gold Creek Pond – Snowshoeing

Darrick was SO EXCITED about a snowshoe adventure. I’m not gonna lie, I was only a little excited. I have this major aversion to being cold, and I get cold really easily. Sooooo … I half-wondered if I would be miserable.

However, I LOVE LOVE LOVE family adventure day, and I wasn’t going to ruin our chance at making a new memory. So we headed to REI (our second home these days, it seems), and grabbed snow shoes for Olivia (that light up, none the less!), a coat for Darrick (we had been on the HUNT and he finally found the perfect one on super-sale for something ridiculous like $50), and pants for me (also on sale for $23!!!! from the REI Garageย … which is a little different in-store than online). I was super skeptical about these pants, but they got great reviews, specifically on snowshoeing, so I figured it was a sign. And they. Were. AWESOME. I wore a pair of Athleta leggings underneath and was toasty warm from ankle to waist. ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, Darrick and I were able to borrow snowshoes, because we have the coolest friends in the world.

My toes still froze (I wore wool socks, but I need actual winter boots, not my usual hiking shoes), and my fingers also became tiny popsicles (little pocket heat-thingies helped!). But Darrick and — more importantly — Olivia were both totally fine, and a happy kid is a happy family, amiright?! (She wore snow pants with a bib, her H&M winter coat, and hand-me-down Uggs, which I kid you not, have been a lifesaver. I feel like I will *maybe* even get her another pair when she grows out of these. Do not quote me on that.)

We headed off to Gold Creek Pond Trail off the Snoqualmie Pass.ย I love the drive out to our adventures. Heading away from the city and into THIS amazing-ness, you start to breathe more deeply and feel more and more at peace. It’s like an adventure appetizer!

 

We got a little confused as we got closer. A couple different directions had us turning left on NF-144. We drove about a half-mile on a snowy road before we realized the mistake. The trail is *actually* off of NF-142. And if you’re worried about your car in the snow, you can park before turning onto the Forest Road, and walk the short distance in. Also note the bathrooms are closed in the winter, so you’ll get to experience a snow-pee, which is kinda fun, not gonna lie. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anywho, onto the adventure! Gold Creek Pond Trail is a mile long, so we figured it would be the perfect test-run. I don’t know what I was worried about though, because our little one freaking LOVES the snow!!! She climbed in it and rolled in it and would have stayed out there hours longer if we’d let her. She also did really well on snowshoes! (As did Darrick and I, in case you were wondering). You can also totally do this trail in decent hiking boots. But the snowshoes made a few areas a little easier, plus we veered off-trail a few times just to get more use out of them.

Now I’ll zip it and let the photos do the rest of the talking. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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tantrum
Real life, people. We get crabby and have tantrums EVEN when we’re in the PNWonderland.
All better
And then we get over it ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Snowman
We didn’t build it, just gave it some love.

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We brought the sled in case O got tired. We didn’t need it, but I gave her a ride at the end for funsies.

Afterwards we drank hot cocoa and coffee in the car while we un-froze ourselves. That is a definite MUST.

… And please comment if you have any questions! Would love to help you and yours get outside this winter and always. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Arboretum

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.)

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

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Olivia the photographer!

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

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Love this little one so much.

Snow Lake

Best. Hike. EVER. Words cannot express how GRATEFUL I am to live so close to such incredible beauty, and how PROUD I am of my bugaboo who today hiked SIX miles (or 7.2 according to the WTA) with a total of 3,000 ft elevation gain on a trail far more complex than we anticipated. She greeted every person and petted every puppy, complimented girls’ outfits, and thanked each and every person that stopped to let us pass. Such a lover, this one. And each person who passed gave her great encouragement … “wow, I am impressed!” … “you’re the youngest person out here!” … “what a strong hiker” … “you should be proud of yourself!”

And we learn so many lessons on the trail. Today we talked about girls being STRONG, POWERFUL, and BRAVE (among other important life lessons like how not to fall off a mountain). Baby girl swelled with pride at the end. I will hold this day close forever.

 

… and then after the hike, we had a hilarious time taking our FILTHY butts to the Riverbend Cafรฉ, which was super cute (though the fish and chips were pretty awful). Olivia also started saying “hashtag born wild” in her delicate little toddler voice — bwahahahahah! Cutest!

And Snow Lake will definitely be on our list of backpacking spots … there’s a string of lakes you can visit, which could be really fun over a weekend! We’ll have to do some more research. I promise you’ll hear about it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

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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!!

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Naches Peak Loop

Naches Peak Loop begins at Mt. Rainier National Park, which is nearly 2 hours from Seattle. We don’t mind a little driving and this drive was really beautiful.

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It’s also a crowded spot on the weekends, but the trail is long enough that you’re in solitude most of the time.

One shocking fun fact: This was Darrick’s FIRST TIME EVER to Mt. Rainier!! Don’t tell him I told you. ๐Ÿ˜‰

This was only my second time after living here for a decade, so I’m not much better. I had previously climbed up to Camp Muirย with a friend, which was a pretty snowy hike, so I was hoping for wildflowers on this visit. We didn’t get the big explosion of flowers, but the views were so breathtaking I barely noticed. At one point, I turned the corner and just started crying it was so beautiful. It’s fun to talk to Olivia about how God made all these beautiful things, and she kept saying from my back, “Look at the views, mom!

She also walked about a mile and a half on this one… oh, and she pooped for the first time in the woods! So, dress or no dress, we have an adventurer. ๐Ÿ™‚

First of all, the night before, Olivia had an impromptu sleepover with our besties, so we all had a Paleo waffle FEAST for breakfast on Sunday morning. We are so SO thankful for these beautiful friends of ours.

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At the trailhead, before you even begin hiking, is Lake Tipsoo, which is gorgeous and fun, and a destination in and of itself! Olivia spent 15 minutes chasing a butterfly before we moved on.

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Right as we started our hike, we touched freezing cold mountain water and played in snow!

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The rest of the hike was just stunning, every view better than the last. We ended with a picnic back at the lake/parking lot before heading home. The weather couldn’t have been better and we had the most perfect day.

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