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 GarageΒ … 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. πŸ™‚ 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 Do not quote me on that.)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.Β 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. πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ˜‰

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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 πŸ˜‰

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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. πŸ™‚

 

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. πŸ˜‰ 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. πŸ™‚

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!!

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Bear!

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 CafΓ©, 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. πŸ˜‰

 

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Lake Sammamish

A few months ago, we began personal training the sweetest couple (parents of another long-time member), who quickly became two of our favorite people ever. One weekend, they invited us over to spend the afternoon on their private beach.

Twist my arm… πŸ˜‰

They own paddle boards, so we took those for a spin. And then we just relaxed and built sand castles and let them feed us pizza and watermelon.

It was lovely.

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First Camping Trip

Lake Easton State Park

This is exactly the type of camping I used to do with my family as a kid, and I LOVED it! Crowded campground, not too far from home in case of an emergency (i.e., emotional breakdown), and a healthy focus on hot dogs, s’mores, and other epicurean delights.

I mistakingly packed Olivia shorts and t-shirts (you know, CAMPING clothes), which she refused to wear. Her dress was a significantly darker shade by the end of the weekend.

We got to play in the woods and the river, and on our way out, went to the lake to kayak, play in the sand, and have one final picnic in the sun.

SO thankful for these silly, wonderful friends and our mini adventures!