All tagged hiking
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.
Last weekend, we headed to Leavenworth for some hiking, a little bit of relaxation, and a much needed change of scenery. Every once and awhile I crave a new landscape, so last weekend we packed up the car and headed east of the mountains. I am always amazed at how different the landscape is just a couple hundred miles away from our home. It reminds me there is so much still to explore in my own backyard.
Whenever we get a late start, lack the energy required for an eight mile hikes or are stumped as to where to go we end up at Snow Lake. Although it can be a busy and crowded trail, it is a beautiful hike. Also, the reward of ending up at an alpine lake is as big a reward as you'll ever have when you are day hiking in Washington. A couple weeks ago, when the forecast called for a ninety degree Saturday we knew we liked the idea of swimming in the cool waters of an alpine lake.
In the Summer, there is one Saturday I look forward to more than all the others- it is the day we go hiking around Mount Rainier. Typically, we visit Paradise in August when the wildflowers are in full force and our chance of having a clear day is at its greatest. So far this ultra scientific method for picking what day to visit has worked out. Over the past several years we have enjoyed a spectacular day on the mountain.
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.
A few weekends ago we decided to tackle Granite Mountain. Our schedule has been jam packed with travel these past few months, so we have not been able to get out hiking as often as we would've liked to. Hiking Granite Mountain is one of our favorite things to do in the Summer and early Fall. And it never feels like Summer until we have tackled a handful of our favorite hikes.
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!
People closest to me know my idea of relaxation is being active outdoors. Given the choice between doing anything else, I will always choose to be outside. It is not that I am a fitness fanatic rather I gain strength from fresh air and beautiful surroundings. I love a long walk with a friend, a solo run, camping, and kayaking. Once our son was born and my free time was heavily diminished I quickly realized whenever Jasper spent the night at my parent's I always preferred a restless night under the stars over a good night's rest in my own bed. Although intuitively this did not make much sense, the time spent together devoid of all other distractions strengthened my marriage and in turn my ability to be an even better mother. When you have something good in your life it is important to both nurture it and share it with others. My husband and my children are the greatest blessings in my life and both relationships need to be fostered and cared for.
With the transition of Winter into Spring my thoughts turn outdoors. If I had it my way I would be outside everyday from dawn until dusk. Unfortunately, many days between work commitments, taking care of a small child and the rigors of life in general my schedule does not permit such a luxury like this. On those days, where all I want to be is outside, but I am stuck inside I have the memories and the photos of wonderful days past spent amongst the dirt and the trees. Here are a few photos from one such lovely Fall hike to Cutthroat Lake.
I don't think it was a coincidence one of the best days of my life preceded one of the worst days of my life. It was not that we did anything lavish, but the weather was spectacular and we spent the day hiking to Cutthroat Pass via Cutthroat Lake (one of the prettiest trails I have ever been on). The sky was blue, the larch were golden and my happy little family was doing what we do best- enjoying nature and each other. I was confident after seeing the heartbeat of our child, that this tiny human growing inside of me was happy and healthy. We were eagerly anticipating breaking the news to friends and were feeling blessed beyond measure to be adding again to our family so soon.
While we were in Utah a few weeks ago we spent a gorgeous Fall afternoon hiking up and exploring the Timpanogos Caves. It had been almost fifteen years since our first visit together; shortly after we had just started dating. The hike is a short and paved, but steep. It is the kind of hike which makes you grateful for being shape. Although it was a warm day the cave hovers around forty five degrees year round. Although the tours were sold out for the day, we lucked out by taking our chances and hiking to the top. Upon reaching the entrance to the cave, we were able to join a group whose members did not all make it to the top. Even though our son is small and enjoyed a nap on the way down I am grateful for the opportunities we have as a family to make memories and be together.
One of our favorite parts of the North Cascades are the endless trails to explore. Two of our favorite hikes are Blue Lake and Cutthroat Lake. Not only are these trails beautiful and kid friendly, but short enough hikes we are able to do other activities during the day after our hikes.
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.
One of our favorite Summer traditions is camping on the Washington coast. We load up our backpacks with supplies, make certain to pick up a bear can, permit and tide chart and head to the beach with no particular plan in mind. We stop and camp wherever looks like the best spot that day and enjoy big decisions like whether to eat and then look at tide pools or look at tide pools and then eat. Spending time at the coast is always extremely relaxing, restorative and beautiful. One of our favorite spots on the coast is Rialto Beach. Although we typically camp on the weekends, as long as we go a bit passed Hole in the Wall we have no trouble finding a spot to ourselves. Just like hiking, the farther afield you go, the least likely you are to be surrounded by other people.
This Summer we have made a conscious effort to branch out and visit several new alpine lakes. Even when it comes to hiking it is easy to find your favorites and visit them again and again. Between the changes seasons and weather in general each visit is a new experience. A mere 40 minutes from Seattle is the I90 corridor where there are countless trails to tackle. Our goal, if we continue to enjoy hiking for many years to come is to eventually visit them all.
Recently, we had Jasper spend the night at my parent's house and enjoyed a beautiful hike to Melakwa Lake. Melakwa Lake is part of the Denny Creek trail. Denny Creek is a popular trail for families, but as you continue on the trail for a few additional miles you can find yourself at a beautiful, uncrowded alpine lake. There is no place that invigorates my mind and body more than being in the mountains. I feel my most content breathing the fresh air and being surrounded by trees. I am truly a Pacific Northwesterner at heart.
While we were in Glacier National Park we did a fantastic and easy hike called Avalanche Lake. The trail starts at the Trail of the Cedars and is located 6 miles east of the Lake McDonald Lodge. The trail is only 4.5 miles long with a mere 730 feet elevation gain. On the day of our hike the weather was a bit cool and the clouds were hung low. This moody weather not only made for beautiful photographs, but made us feel right at home.