Talus Loop Trail

Talus Loop Trail is connected to Mount Si. I love how many different experiences you can have on one mountain, and one so close to home! And we’ve previously hiked Little Si and Boulder Garden Loop, so this was a fun addition.

So this was my first exercise at all in 3 weeks due to a sciatic nerve flair-up. It’s 3.6 miles and rated “moderate” by All Trails. It may have been a bit steep for my first hiking attempt while still recovering, but OLIVIA did AWESOME. Again, a fairly steep and consistent climb up, and she mentioned feeling tired once or twice, but NEVER whined or complained!!! We were very, very proud parents!

The viewpoint is at what looks like an old rock slide. The path before and after this point was a little narrow with a steep drop off one side. We didn’t feel afraid, but walked much more cautiously. Younger kiddos should definitely be kept close!

Overall we loved this one!! Lots of small rivers along the way; really cool old growth forest; and a gorgeous view about halfway through. There will probably be tons of wildflowers soon, which we only got a glimpse of. But we got blessed with a gorgeous day!!!! Definitely recommended, especially for families and kids who have some previous hiking experience.

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™‚

 

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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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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 πŸ™‚

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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. 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!

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 CafΓ© 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. πŸ˜‰

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 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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Wallace Falls

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

Wallace FallsΒ 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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