We’re sitting here in the biggest snow event Seattle has seen in a long time, and while the kids chill with some Bubble Guppies in between romps outside, I figure it’s a good time to resurrect my blog. Starting with – since it’s already February, yikes! – my favorite hikes of 2018!
This was our first time on this brand new trail, and it became an instant family favorite. Short, pretty, snow-free even in January, and a shortish drive from home? So good.
Orcas Island 25K
Oh Orcas Island 25K. You are always freezing cold and steep and horrid, but I love you so. (Side note: I sold my entry this year since depression + illness = not being able to cover 16 miles, and of course this year the weather was gorgeous and the photos looked heavenly.)
We’ve snowshoed on Mount Rainier at least once every winter/spring since 2008, and ever since we had kids, these outings have felt epic. This year was no exception, and the addition of a sled made it even cooler. Nora even snowshoed up the first hill all by herself!
Heybrook Ridge again
We had to go back to Heybrook Ridge again in April, and I can tell that it’s going to be our default family hike. This was the week after Lily started walking! What an excellent place to practice that new skill.
Every year, a bunch of runners run up and down the Chirico trail to Poo Poo Point over and over again, mostly as a social event but also to try to earn the coveted tiger hat bestowed on the first person to reach ten. I did three, which isn’t too shabby – that’s still 12 miles and 5000 feet of gain. (Also, whoaaa, I’m kind of thrown by how fit I look in this photo, because…well, let’s just say that’s not how I look now. Heh.)
The recipe for a great day with kids? A ferry ride + beach. Aka Ebey’s Landing on Whidbey Island. At this point we’re just hiking the same trails every year and I don’t mind that even a little bit, because they are gorgeous and I love them.
Sun Mountain 50K
My first ultramarathon! This was such a cool experience, and I was (am!) so proud of myself. And I totally want to run more of these, and longer distances, once the kids are a little older so training will be less stressful. We took a long weekend at Sun Mountain and it was so good, just a delicious blur of running and wildflowers and sunshine and paddleboarding and happy little kids.
This hike was so cool. Seeing Nora climb up that steep, rocky trail like a little mountain goat more than made up for the fact that Rainier stayed mostly hidden in the clouds.
On the 4th of July, we headed to Mirror Lake, which has been a favorite of ours since I first hiked it when pregnant with Nora. Love all the short, beautiful trails we’ve discovered since then. The water was colder than Lily and Nora expected, but that didn’t stop them from going in!
Speaking of alone time, in July I also spent my first night away from the girls! Eeep! I joined the Alpine Trails Book Club for their camping weekend in Mount Rainier National Park. We hiked to Van Trump Park, saw the sunset from Pinnacle Saddle, and were in marmot heaven on the Skyline Trail. So good, so good.
We went on a long (5 week!) vacation to Norway in August, and JK and I snuck away for two nights alone in a teeny tiny little cabin in Jotunheimen. We went for a run up Bitihorn, which (a) was jaw-droppingly gorgeous in every direction and (b) gained extra bonus points when we happened to run into Jens Stoltenberg, ex-Prime Minister of Norway and current Secretary General of Nato. (I’d like to see Trump try to hike up that thing!)
We also hiked Besseggen, which we had also done in 2008, back when I was really scared of heights. Okay, so I am still scared of heights, BUT it is so gorgeous that I would gladly hike it over and over and over.
Back in Washington, the depression that had started to sneak in in June came into full force, but some really good family hikes kept me afloat. I need these ups to get through the downs. We went to Beaver Lake (which is south on the PCT from Snoqualmie Pass, basically just going up the ski hill) to look for fall colors, and with the swirling mist and fog, it was just perfect. And Nora found her first King Bolete!
Snow and Bench Lake
A couple days later, JK took a day off work so that we could inject me with a good hiking antidepressant before his work trip to Japan. We drove down to Mount Rainier to hike the Bench and Snow Lakes trail, which was definitely my favorite hike of the year. Warm sun, beautiful fall colors, deliriously happy kids, a swimming snake, my favorite volcano…I couldn’t ask for more.
Of course we went back to Rainier again when JK came back from Japan, too. By this time it was October, and all but two little marmots named Nora and Lily had gone into hibernation.
Mushrooming with Lily
October is prime chanterelle season up here in these parts, so I introduced Lily to the fine art of the gold hunt on Tiger Mountain (I won’t get more specific than that because these are MY mushroom patches).
More Tiger Mountain, more family foraging. A good reminder that the best hikes don’t have to involve long drives or big mountains or good weather, as long as you’re with the right people.
One of those right people, Lily, turned two in November! Somehow her late November birthday coincided with not just a Saturday but also beautiful sunshine! We went to Gold Creek Pond and had all the cake and lots of sledding. It was perfect.
Deception Pass 25K
In December, I had my first DNF (Did Not Finish) in a race. I had a horrid sinus infection and my face just hurt too much to run much, so I dropped at the aid station. But! I got to cover six miles of date time with JK while my parents, who were visiting from Norway for Christmas, watched the girls, AND quitting early meant I was first in line for pizza at the finish line.