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 Garage … 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. 🙂 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 Do not quote me on that.)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. 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. 😉

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. 😉


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


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. 🙂


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 Café, 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. 😉



Lodge Lake (snowy!)

We were stoked to try out Lodge Lake, and thought June would be a safe month to avoid mountain snow. Boy, were we wrong! (Newbs, LOL!)

There was so much snow in certain areas that it was hard to stay on the trail. (Luckily we use All Trails and GPS to track our steps and make sure we’re on the right track.) If you’re planning on visiting Lodge Lake early in the summer, be sure to read the most recent trail reviews to see what you’re in for. If we had been better prepared for the snow (with both clothing AND SHOES!), it would have been a much easier hike. We had fun, none-the-less. It was a little like ice skating for Olivia in her smooth sneakers. Whoops!

The early part of the hike takes you over Snoqualmie ski hills, and is just gorgeous. You start to hit snow around Beaver Lake, and since the trail is pretty shady, the snow sticks around for awhile!

Of course our intention was to make it to the lake, but we just weren’t sure how much farther it was, so we turned around midway. (Turns out we were really close, which we found out later. Doh!)

Overall, we love this hike. It’s shady for the hottest parts of the summer, and has beautiful mountain views in the beginning (and end, as it’s an out-and-back). And it’s pretty quiet, so you don’t have to worry about sharing the trail with a ton of people! Bonus!




Okay … lots of snow!!!


Where is the trail?!


Snack break!


Red lollipop lips


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. 🙂

Franklin Falls

After recently learning the the term “Nature Deficit Disorder,” and knowing on a totally common sense level that our family doesn’t get outside of the city enough, we decided to make a change and have enacted a new tradition:

Weekly Outdoor Adventures!

Inside a 4-hour radius of Seattle are some of the MOST GORGEOUS places I have ever seen in my life. How have we not taken advantage of this before?!?!

It’s fun to explore and “harness our fitness” as we like to say. And it’s fun to put Olivia’s grit to the test. She has been surprisingly un-whiny and totally on-board with these adventures so far!! Yay!! Though she really loves riding on our backs the most, I think. Can’t blame her, I suppose. 🙂

Our first adventure: Franklin Falls

This hike is pretty crowded on the weekends, but I was prepared for that and we tried hard not to let it get us down. Once we got to the waterfalls, you could totter over rocks to the base of the fall and it drowned out all other noise. Just sitting there in the roar for a few minutes was life-giving.

Also gotta love her “hiking dress.” 😉

First Hike! Snoqualmie Falls


Snoqualmie Falls is one of the shortest, easiest hikes near Seattle. Very little work for a beautiful photo opp. (Note we did not actually get a photo of the falls. Clearly we take it for granted that we live near something so majestic. Other folks do it more justice than we could anyways.)

This was a perfect first hike for our little lady, who obviously knows nothing about hiking and is much more fashionable than functional.

Man, I love her.

Side note — be ready for crowds. And it really is short, so plan to hang out for a bit on the main drag in Snoqualmie. Super cute area!