Cabin in Ashford

Darrick and I have been daydreaming about owning a cabin someday, and thanks to AirBNB, we can test out the experience. We spent the weekend in Ashford, WA, in a cabin right on the Banks of Copper Creek and The Nisqually River.

It was pretty stormy all weekend, but we were able to take a walk along the river on Saturday, and our friends’ oldest kiddo got to cross the river (or maybe the creek?) on fallen trees with her dad — what an adventurer! She was very proud of herself … and the other kids were a mix of jealous and afraid. 🙂

We were deliciously lazy the rest of the time, watching movies, sitting in the hot tub, playing games. The kids stayed up late and got hot chocolate for breakfast. The parents also stayed up late and got wine and scotch (not for breakfast).

It was incredibly restorative. We also found a nice plot of land that looked like it could use it’s own little cabin …

Someday. 🙂

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You know it’s gonna be good when even the drive out is breathtaking!

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Audrey’s amazing adventure!

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Of course we got some workouts in ….
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Log tosses over the shoulder
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Overhead squats …
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And single-arm overhead squats 🙂

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Trying out the weakest airsoft gun ever made

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Never-ending entertainment with these crazies!
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Where will be your favorite memory???

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!!

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Bear!

Mount Walker

Mount Walker is out on the Olympic Peninsula, near Quilcene. We took the ferry to Bainbridge and drove from there. The Edmonds/Kingston ferry is an option as well.

We were trying to get some relief from the wildfire smoke and ash. It was nice to be in the woods, but you could barely see a thing from the top. We’ll definitely have to go back, because the view looks absolutely amazing.

A couple reports had said that although the hike was short (2 miles each way), the incline was grueling. We poo-pooed the reports, thinking we were fit enough to handle it. And we were, except they were also right. I mean, there was literally no part of the trail that wasn’t a climb! Olivia handled it surprisingly well. She complained a bit about her legs behind tired … but really I wanted to complain, too.

We stopped at the mile marker like we always do. And then we found ways to take our minds off the grind. On the way up, we decided that if you stepped on rocks or roots, it gave you power. So we’d try to step on all of them and make a funny noise. On the way down (which was also super challenging because your feet could barely gain traction), Darrick kicked a large rock down the path. As soon as the rock went off the side of the trail, it was done and him and Olivia found a new one. They must have gone through 15 rocks, at least. Eventually he and O found a rock that lasted and lasted and lasted. So they decided it should be a pet. They picked it up, named it Frank, and talked to it the rest of the way down, LOL. Frank is now in our kitchen, lovingly painted in pink, blue, and gold glitter.

After the hike, we stopped by at the 101 Brewery and Café for beers, a snack, and ice cream. (Very sadly, they were out of their honey brown ale. I had the wheat beer instead and it was quite delicious. With no IPA, Darrick got the pale ale and enjoyed it as well. The food was meh. Gear Head Deli was recommended to us but they close at 5 p.m. We’ll plan for it next time!) We also got to see our friend’s home away from home in Quilcene, which was rad! It made us start cabin-daydreaming again.

And then we *luckily* made the ferry home!! They are an hour apart at that point, and we were cutting it close. On the way to the ferry, Olivia said she had to pee. Doh! We told her to hold it, taking our chances on a worse-case scenario that you can probably imagine. As soon as we got to the ferry dock, I grabbed her and sprinted out to find a bathroom. We made it back to the car with minutes to spare before the incoming ferry started unloading (blocking our path back). Ah, the adventures of parenting. 😉

All in all, this is a long trip for a short hike. The joy is in the journey! Even though we had no view at the top of the mountain, we still had a lovely day.

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. 😉

 

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Wallace Falls

4.2 miles and 1200 ft elevation gain ALL ON HER OWN TWO FEET!!! With only minimal complaining. 😉

Wallace Falls includes Lower, Middle, and Upper falls. The lower falls has a picnic area where we stopped for lunch. Lots of people stop here, so don’t expect peace and quiet! We then hiked up to Middle Falls, which is an impressive 260-foot plunge, with smaller cascades below. (We skipped the upper falls, because O was getting tired. That’s the steepest part of the trail, and hopefully something we can come back for next year!)

The falls were beautiful, but with a 4-year-old, the most fun part is usually playing in the water by a stream, or climbing over rocks near the river. (All while keeping a healthy respect for the power of nature, which is essential!)

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Little Si

Little Si was Olivia’s first mountain summit! Girlfriend hiked the entire way up all by herself (with only a little help from Dad on the really rocky parts). We were so proud, but more importantly, SHE was so proud. Go get ’em, baby girl.

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Often the drive to a hike is stunning. It’s our first breath of fresh air as we head out of the city.

O started off a little crabby today, but once she started climbing over rocks, her attitude was much improved. She may not realize it, but she loves a challenge.

 

The summit!

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And the hike down … with a little rest. 🙂

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