All tagged Snoqualmie Pass
After a tough day of snowshoeing with Jasper a couple weeks ago we both felt like throwing in the towel on future trips this Winter. However, later that week we were able to take him and have such a fun time. At the spot where we took our break Jasper insisted on me lifting him high in the sky over and over again. All while telling Cameron "one more cheese" meaning take another photo please. There are so many highs and lows when it comes to parenting, a happy day on the trail is such a high for me! One of my New Year's Resolutions is to get out from behind the camera more often and these photos of Jasper and I are such treasures to me.
The one question I get asked the most often is "how do you keep a toddler happy while you are hiking/snowshoeing?" Aside from my amazing husband who willingly carries our little heavy weight around the answer is pretty simple, sometimes we do and other times we don't. Early on we decided we did not want to stop doing the things we love because we had children. That being said we have had to curtail the length and frequency of our hikes in addition to having our moments where we question why we brought him along in the first place.
Today, we are slowly getting back into the swing of things after a nice, long sunny holiday in San Francisco. We lucked out with a streak of warm weather and sunshine while we were there which resulted in entire days spent outside, zipping around the city by foot, bus, street car or trolley. Eating almost every meal outside and basking in every possible ray of sunlight. It was so nice to get a break from the cold and the rain. When we arrived home to a dusting of snow and then spent the following day in the mountains I was reminded real life isn't so bad either.
Before we had children my husband and I would joke everything we did was a "date". Since having children the word "date" evokes a whole bunch of excitement and anticipation. Since most of our interests revolve around outdoor activities or food, our favorite activities to do when we are childless usually involve going on a hike or going to check out a new restaurant. Jasper has reached the age where he is no longer equally enchanting with long hikes or leisurely meals so we happily plan to do these things without him when we get the chance. Last weekend, we went on our inaugural snowshoeing trip and it was a good reminder to me just how important it is to nurture your relationship with your spouse in all seasons of life.
It was a snowy day at Snoqualmie Pass so we enjoyed a beautiful hike up to Snow Lake. There is something so peaceful about feeling like you walking around in a snow globe. One day, I dream of owning a little cabin up in the mountains. But until then, our Saturdays hikes will have to hold me over.
Snow Lake is one of our favorite hikes to do year round. The drive to the trailhead isn't too far, the distance on the trail isn't too great and we always know it is going to be beautiful once we reach the top. In early Summer, there are streams which zig zag the trail and waterfalls in the distance. In late Summer, there are wildflowers dotting the trail and in early Fall the colors of the foliage are spectacular.
Saturdays could easily turn into just another day in the week. We could spend our time cleaning, doing projects around the house and running errands, but instead Saturdays have become our day to invest in our most important priority-our family. On a typical Saturday, we try to leave the house early and head for the mountains. Depending on a variety of factors; the weather, our energy levels etc. we set out on a hike for the day. On this particular day, we hiked a total of nine miles. We hiked to a beautiful alpine lake called Melakwa. On our way up, while Jasper took a nap, I took time to document just a few of the wildflowers we saw. Once he was awake, amidst cascading waterfalls and scenic vistas we practiced his animal sounds.
Hiking can be tricky with a toddler. On most hikes it is a delicate balance between keeping them entertained, doing a hike that isn't overcrowded with other people and pushing them too far. The hiking back packs they make for children these days make for one comfy ride for them, but if your toddler is anything like ours he likes to get down and explore on his own two legs. We have taken Jasper on several dozen hikes and each time we learn a little something more to be better prepared next time. And if I had a dollar for every time someone said they wanted to be carried up the mountain in a back pack like we have for Jasper, I would be filthy rich!
I don't talk about it much, but I am a big fan of the idea of dating your spouse. Although we have been married for over ten and a half years I still get excited at the prospect of getting dressed up, making reservations, buying tickets and have a concrete plan for an evening. However, lately I have equally enjoyed the "day date" which consists of anything we do minus our son. A couple weeks ago, we extended our staycation by heading directly to the mountains after checking out of our hotel. As much as I love bringing our son along for our adventures there was something very nostalgic and romantic about it just being the two of us together in the outdoors. While we were snowshoeing it brought back a flood of memories of our past adventures and made me happy how much we took advantage of our time together before children.
Some days the weather is crazy here. One minute it is pouring rain, the next sunshine and then wait another minute and a strong gust of wind will hit you in the face. Sporadic pretty much summed up the weather this past weekend which repeatedly shut down Snoqualmie Pass and halted our plans for a Saturday of snowshoeing. As a last minute change of plans we decided to spend an afternoon exploring closer to home by hiking down to Snoqualmie Falls followed by brunch at the Salish Lodge. The trail down to the falls is only one mile round trip so it is an easy hike even for little ones.
During the Winter I am constantly checking the weather report up in the mountains. If we receive substantial snowfall during the week then we make it a point to head up to the mountains on Saturday. Saturdays have traditionally been our day set aside for being together as a family and having fun. I am not a fan of chores, errands or work on Saturdays and I avoid it at all costs. I once read an article which stated from the time your child is born until the time they turn eighteen you have 940 Saturdays. Particularly now that we have Jasper I want to make the most of these days and give him memories of hikes, camping trips, catching snowflakes on our tongues and enjoying picnics by the water. During the week in between work, laundry, and to do lists I try my best to squeeze in the chores and errands.
A big storm rolled into the mountains this weekend which meant lots and lots of new fluffy white snow. We decide to head up Saturday afternoon to check it out and get our first real taste of snow for the season. We were also interested to see how Jasper was going to react to it all. It was cold, blowing at times and the snow was coming down pretty hard, but as always Jasper was a trooper. We kept him bundled up pretty well, and overall he was delightful, but it came as no surprise he was not a fan of snow blowing directly into his face. Like each new experience we have with him, it is a learning process. We are constantly figuring out ways to adapt, be better prepared and make certain it is a fun experience for us all.
We have now reached the point in the year where there is not enough snow to snow shoe, but most of the hiking trails are covered in either snow, ice or both. It can be a bit treacherous making your way up and down safely, but it is a beautiful time of year especially when the sun decides to shine. On Thanksgiving we wanted to get outside for a bit before going over to my parent's house for dinner. We decided on Snow Lake because it is a moderate hike and we knew we could do it in the time that we had. Once on the trail it was a tad colder than I had anticipated, so next time I will need to be better prepared for wintry conditions.
This Summer, we have tried our best to take advantage of what has seemed like endless glorious weather. A couple weekends back we spent the entire day hiking the 11.5 miles to Pratt Lake. Aside from the air being hazy from all the fires in the North Cascades, it was a wonderful day spent together as a family up in the mountains. I have to give my husband major kudos because he not only hiked, but carried Jasper on his back almost the entire way. Since Pratt Lake is such a long hike it deters a lot of people. As a result, we found ourselves alone most of the time on the trail. It was a scenic hike where we passed through several different types of landscapes and encountered endless types of terrain. It was a beautiful hike, albeit long and one I am eager to do again as an overnight adventure.
We have been experiencing a scorcher of a Summer this year in Seattle. Most Saturdays, we escape to the mountains for a drop in temperature and to take in the gorgeous views of all the many alpine lakes in the area. A week ago we made the hike up to Rachel Lake. We had not been here in a long time and the last we came here there the trail was pretty snow covered, we lost our way a couple times and I am not even certain we made it to the lake. Since it was such a warm day, we appreciated how most of the trail was in the shade. Once at the lake there was ample shoreline for everyone and I even took a dip in the icy alpine lake. Such a wonderful way to spend a Saturday!
As much as I crave sleep, I love adventure more. The handful of times my parents have watched Jasper for the night I dream about getting massive amounts of sleep, but the reality is I would rather get a restless night under the stars and wake up to a beautiful lake. A couple weeks ago Cameron and I hiked up to Snow Lake and spent a peaceful evening lakeside. Despite the gorgeous weather, we were surprised and delighted to only see a few other tents dot the shoreline.
In my opinion, these photos don't even do it justice, the beauty of the evening and morning light at Snow Lake is unparalleled and one of the main reasons I love backpacking in. During the day, the light is bright and the landscape is flat, but throughout the evening the lake becomes more and more stunning.
For you long time readers, you know we like to hike...A LOT! So when Jasper came along, it was pretty much a given we would invest in a hiking pack once he was big enough. We were ecstatic when upon placing him in the carrier for the first time he literally laughed and squealed with delight. Hiking must be in his blood! Riding in the carrier allows him to be up high and see everything from a different vantage point than his everyday life. I can tell Jasper feels like a big deal in his carrier and he really seems to enjoy the view.
This pregnancy has been very similar to my last one, but as I have gotten farther along I have tried my best to take it easy and be kind to myself. The decision to stop running sooner during this pregnancy was a big one for me, but my joints and bladder have thanked me for it. Running has always been such an integral part of my workout and something I look forward to each morning. Running also allows me the ability to cover more territory in a less amount of time, so walking just takes longer. On particularly warm days when I think about going on my daily walk, in the back of my mind a nap sounds just about right too. This time around I have allowed myself the freedom and flexibility to do both. Some days I am better at pushing myself than others. Even though the thought of hiking is sometimes an exhausting one when all is said and done I have never regretted a day spent in the fresh air.
One of the biggest perks of becoming a parent is the opportunity to see the world through new eyes. Life is just more fun with everything is approached with an enthusiastic smile or wide eyes. For those of us who are not currently housing an adorable baby or toddler what other ways can this child like wonder and curiosity be infused in our own lives?
Invite someone along to do something you frequently do.