20328253985_7512d8cc73_k
Hike-a-thon, Hiking, Hiking with baby, Mount Rainier, Top Trips

Tolmie Peak Lookout

Can all hikes be like this one?

Tolmie Peak Lookout

Nora has suddenly started sleeping in in the mornings, which is glorious and luxurious and amazing, so we’ve been getting a late start on our hikes. I would rather get that extra snoozage in the morning and deal with starting our hikes at noon, so it’s all good, but it does mean we have to stick to shorter trails in order to enjoy ourselves and still have time to get back home in time for bed. I don’t mind that either – there are lots of gorgeous short trails in this state.

One of those is Tolmie Peak Lookout, which somehow we had never hiked before.

Tolmie Peak Lookout 036

The drive was just long enough for Nora to take a nap in the car (only 20 minutes, but it’s better than nothing), so when we pulled up to Mowich Lake, the whole family was in an excellent mood. On clear days, you can see the top of Mount Rainier peeking out above the hillside, but today she was shy, hiding behind a fig leaf of clouds. No worries – our eyes were busy scanning the bushes for huckleberries anyway.

Tolmie Peak Lookout

After hiking up and down and up again and feasting on an especially tasty patch of hucks along Eunice Lake, we reached the lookout.

Tolmie Peak Lookout

I instantly fell in love with these little mountain goat cutouts. Adorbs!

Tolmie Peak Lookout 088

We sat down to eat our lunch, resigned to the idea of a volcanoless view, when lo and behold, Mount Rainier decided to reveal herself after all! Nora was very excited.

Tolmie Peak Lookout 069 Tolmie Peak Lookout 152

Much photography ensued before we decided it was time to put away the camera (for the most part) and just sit down and enjoy it all – the view, the sun, the togetherness. And the huckleberries.

Tolmie Peak Lookout 124

Nora is one lucky girl to have this as her playground!

Tolmie Peak Lookout 139

This hike is going on the repeak list for sure.

Tolmie Peak Lookout 182

After a while, JK couldn’t resist the alluring waters of Eunice Lake anymore, so we packed up and headed down the trail so he could swim.

Tolmie Peak Lookout

I wish I could have joined him, but I had forgotten my spare set of skivvies and there were too many people around to swim in the buff.

Tolmie Peak Lookout

Next time, next time.

Tolmie Peak Lookout

Nora fell asleep a couple of minutes after we started hiking again, and snoozed all the way back to Mowich Lake. JK and I put in headphones and cruised along the trail, getting lost in the flow and the tunes. So good.

Tolmie Peak Lookout 256

This time I joined in on the fun and went swimming myself – going commando for the drive home was a small price to pay for the pleasure of a mountain dip.

Nora was obviously the one who should have gone swimming after she discovered the joys of digging in the wet dirt by the lake. Happily, a warm bath was but a car ride (a scream-free, joyful car ride!) away.

Lakes, berries, a lookout, a big, majestic, amazing volcano, huckleberries, naps, a very happy baby. Everything worked out so perfectly! Seriously, can all hikes be like this?

Tolmie Peak Lookout | 7.5 miles | 1100 feet elevation gain –

Tolmie Peak Lookout

Click click click to support me in Washington Trails Association’s Hike-a-Thon!

Baby

A year ago today

I truly can’t wrap my head around the fact that Nora turns one next week. This morning, Facebook notified me that on this day last year, JK posted this adorable (if I do say so myself) photo of us on the Powerline Trail, out on a post-dinner glucose-regulating walk. We were so excited about what was to come, but not yet aware of just how amazing it would be (or how soon it would happen).

We decided to recreate it, rather hurriedly, before JK went to work today.

August 25, 2014 | August 25, 2015

I’d say it’s way more adorable this year.

19500918523_0aa4c7bef2_k
Hike-a-thon, Hiking, Hiking with baby

Hike-a-Thon 2015

This is my fifth year participating in Washington Trails Association’s Hike-a-Thon! Every August, hikers from all across Washington sign up to grind out the miles and raise money for WTA to protect and maintain our beloved trails and wild areas.

Lake Valhalla

I usually set a goal for myself, like hiking 100 miles, but 2014 and 2015 have been a little different. Last year, I waddled around as best I could, hitting the trails right up until I went into labor on the very last day of Hike-a-Thon – I had to keep bracing myself against trees along the trail, wondering why my Braxton-Hicks were suddenly so painful that I couldn’t walk through them. Heh.

Lake Valhalla Lake Valhalla

This year, the resulting 11-month old is along for the ride. I’m not setting any goals, except to get out there and introduce Nora to some of our favorite places. Babies love the outdoors, and I want her to keep that feeling with her as she grows up, gaining the kind of confidence you get when being out in nature is, well, second nature.

Lake Valhalla

So this year is not about pushing myself physically or hiking just to hike, it’s simply about being out there, smiling, laughing, singing (endless renditions of Dyrene i Afrika, a Norwegian classic), eating huckleberries, and swimming in mountain lakes, all while helping support my favorite organization in hopes that these places will still be accessible when my baby is all grown up. (Sniff sniff.)

If you want to help support me and Washington Trails Association, click here! And if you would rather donate your time and muscles instead of moneys, you can volunteer on a trail crew – it’s nature’s Crossfit!

Lake Valhalla 058

Our first “real” (non-Watershed, non-Tiger) hike after our vacation took us to Lake Valhalla. It’s been so warm here that a trip to our favorite swimming lake was in order…and yeah, the water in this alpine lake was actually noticeably warmer than where we swam by my parents’ summer house in Norway. That probably says more about the summer in Norway than it does about the summer here, but still. Bananas.

Lake Valhalla | 7 miles | 1500 feet elevation gain –

Lake Valhalla

20449493446_06fea61daa_k
Baby

#paternityleaveadventures

JK had his first day back at work today after eight glorious weeks of paternity leave. The house feels sort of empty and weird without him now, but Nora and I fell right back into our old groove and had a really sweet day together.

Paternity Leave

It’s much worse for JK, who has to go out and actually be productive and bring home the facon instead of hanging out with his best girl all day (then again his first day back included a party and an exclusive Macklemore concert, so I don’t feel that bad for him).

Paternity Leave

If Nora wasn’t a daddy’s girl before, she definitely is now. She got to go on all sorts of adventures to shop for manly things. Power tools! Booze!

Paternity Leave Paternity Leave

But we spent most of these eight weeks as a family, from Norway to Italy and back to Seattle again, from mountains to the ocean to the local playground.

Paternity Leave

Paternity Leave

This photo is from the trail in the Dolomites where Nora said “pappa” for the very first time.

Paternity Leave

She has since switched to calling us both “mamma”. All adults, actually. And some animals. When we saw a rabbit on the trail today, she pointed to it and said “Woof! Mamma!”, so yeah, no.

Paternity Leave Paternity Leave
Paternity Leave Paternity Leave

I’m so glad JK and Nora got to spend this time together. Maternity leave is hard enough to come by here in the U.S. – paternity leave is almost unheard of. We lucked out, big time.

Paternity Leave

19497173223_166922dc2e_k
Hiking, Hiking with baby, Mount Rainier

Fremont Lookout

Back in June, before our trip to Europe, we decided that we needed a really good mountain hike to see us off. Mount Rainier never disappoints, and the trails around Sunrise had melted out early this year, so off to Fremont Lookout we went.

Mama n' Norbert

A miracle occurred on the way to the mountain – Nora slept! In the car!(!!) For over an hour! This was an excellent start to our day since it meant that she was awake and in a fantastic mood for the entire hike – and, importantly, awake for her first marmot sighting!

We had no close encounters of the furry kind this time, but two sentinel whistlepigs, perched high upon their rocks like corpulent gargoyles, watched over us as we made our way toward Frozen Lake.

Fremont Lookout 256

Last time I hiked this trail was almost exactly a month before Nora was born:

34 weeks down, sixish to go!

As much as I loved being pregnant, I must say I prefer carrying her on the outside. Same spot, now with a nine-month old on my back:

Fremont Lookout 026

It was a warm day, but since we were above 7000 feet, there was a definite chill whenever a gust of wind came our way. Along the Lord-of-the-Ringsian traverse to the lookout, we were pummeled by a particularly biting wind. Sometimes I feel like we’re overdressing Nora for hikes, but this time we definitely made the right choice by having her in her elf suit and a fleece hat.

Fremont Lookout

At last we made it across the traverse to Mordor I mean Fremont!

Fremont Lookout 172

Another hike, another gorgeous nursing view. I really should compile a photo book. Udderly Beautiful Lactation Locations? Hmm, I’ll work on the name.

Fremont Lookout 117

We all enjoyed avocado sandwiches while watching tiny little human ants climbing up the Inter Glacier on their way to summit Mount Rainier.

Fremont Lookout 136

Nora discovered ground squirrels and was mesmerized.

Fremont Lookout 074

Before we turned around and hiked back to Sunrise, she even got to try her hand as a fire lookout.

Fremont Lookout 180

One thing I’ll always remember about this trip is that Nora cut her 8th tooth while we were on trail. I knew her left central incisor was about to come through, so I checked to see if it was there before we left the car, but nope, nothing. However, when we were back in the car post-hike, there it was! So cute, even though it meant the end of her adorable wonkytoothed phase. These days she’s looking all grown up with her big, toothy grin. Sniff sniff. She’ll be off to college before I know it.

Fremont Lookout 153 Fremont Lookout 154

– Fremont Lookout | 6 miles | 800 feet elevation gain –

Fremont Lookout 234