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 Do not quote me on that.)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.
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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™‚

 

Christmas Tree Cutting in the National Forest

We decided to go for it this year! Cutting down a Christmas tree from the National Forest.

This actually wasn’t our first time. Darrick and I did this years ago when we had a dog baby instead of a human baby. We ended up on a steep and snowy forest road, which I was fairly certain we were going to slide right off of to our untimely deaths. And then it was freezing outside and very difficult to to find a tree, so we ended up with the Charlie-browniest tree ever. Which we actually quite loved in the end. πŸ™‚

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This year we decided to try again, for a couple reasons.

One: We’ve had quite a bit more experience in the woods over the last couple years.

Two: Our Thanksgiving weekend is packed, and we didn’t want to wait another whole week to get a tree. That meant our day to go was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving — Family Day! There is only one U-Cut farm open before Thanksgiving and it’s all Noble Firs … and we just weren’t stoked about the thought of paying $100 for a tree this year.

So the morning of, eggnog lattes and hot chocolate in hand, we headed to the ranger station at REI to get our $10 tree-cutting permit. We decided that if they said the weather was bad or the roads were dangerous, we’d bail and head to a tree farm sometime that following week, but all sounded clear and we were given a map with some ideas on where to head. (For some reason, we didn’t talk to anyone the previous time we did this. No idea why.)

Also, we just love REI. πŸ™‚

And then we were off! We headed out to Highway 2 since it’s an area we’re relatively familiar with. It was a gorgeous drive, as usual.

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Funny thing was, my phone lost service the further out we got. Not sure why that didn’t occur to me before we left. Clearly I have more important things to think about. πŸ˜‰ Between GPS and the super simple map from the Ranger, we figured out how to find the Forest Road exit we were looking for. We were originally aiming for Money Creek (NF – 6422), but I’m pretty sure we ended up on Miller River Rd (NF – 6410), just before Skykomish. (Map here!)

The road was clear and flat, and we just drove for awhile until we found some patches of trees that looked promising.

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Finally we found a spot (mostly one that didn’t look marshy!), so we packed up our tools and headed out into the wilderness!

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And then we saw her (Clark Griswold moment! … “Thith thtree is a thymbol of the thpirit of the Grithwold family Chrithmath.”)

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Olivia and I played around for a bit while Dad sawed!

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We were SO EXCITED to get such a beautiful tree!!!

By the way, this area was just amazing. Quiet and peaceful, lots to explore. I wish we had left earlier so we had more time to play!

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By the time we got home, it was dark. We hosed the tree down since it was caked with mud and moss, and left it outside in a bucket of water till morning. When we brought it inside, we realized how big it actually was. LOL! Funny how small it can feel in the forest. (SMH)

It really is beautiful, though! We couldn’t be happier. πŸ™‚

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Leave a comment if you have questions! I totally recommend doing this. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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Gymnastics & Seward Park

It can be hard to get out of the house on rainy days, I KNOW IT.

Today we knew we needed to (can you say grumpy?! … and I’m talking about me, not the kiddo!), so we decided to go to the indoor playground at the Seattle Gymnastics Academy, one of Olivia’s favorite play spots, and a go-to throughout the winter.

Afterwards, still wanting to go on a hike, we went to explore the trails at Seward Park, which I somehow always forget about, or at least “poo poo” it since it’s so close to home and generally crowded.

I am so glad we went because it was beautiful in the fog and the drizzle, we moved our bodies (even if it was partially thanks to PokΓ©mon Go, LOL), and we played and giggled.

Even if it doesn’t fix everything, getting outside is therapeutic. DO IT, even when you don’t feel like it. ❀

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Her constant splash of pink gives me joy. πŸ™‚

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Much-needed giggles.

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Breathe deep.

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This stage is perfect for our little performer!