Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Hiking, Hiking with baby, Top Trips

Nora the Explorer

Our year of introducing Nora to our favorite trails and places continues! When it comes to Melakwa, it’s definitely more of a favorite place than a favorite trail. I usually visit these lakes when I do the Tuscohatchie loop, so I can’t even remember the last time I hiked the trail back down. It’s pretty rocky and kind of sucks, especially when you’ve become used to the soft, rolling, luxurious trails of the Issaquah Alps. But the destination more than makes up for it – upper Melakwa Lake is one of my Official Happy Places.

Melakwa Lake

The last time I was here, it was just me and Wellie running the Tuscohatchie Loop. I was doing a lot of soul searching, trying to come to terms with the possibility that I might not ever become pregnant. The mountains, the lakes, the sun, the tiger lilies, and one loud marmot were my therapists that day (and on so many others). By the end of my run, I was so high on endorphins that I knew I would be able to handle whatever the universe sent my way.

Melakwa Lake

Thankfully, the mountain gods chose to send us this wonderful little creature. I can’t quite describe the feelings I experience when I return to a place like this with Nora in tow. “All the feels” will have to suffice.

Melakwa Lake

Normally I wouldn’t even be able to get to Melakwa in May (without an ice axe and a sizable pair of ‘nads), but thanks to the low snow this year, it looks like mid-July up there. The parking lot was overflowing by the time we reached the trailhead at 9, but the trail is long enough that it didn’t feel crowded, especially once were past the Slippery Slab which is the destination for most of the families with older kids. That’ll be us in a couple of years, but for now we’re enjoying being able to do regular hikes with a non-ambulatory baby on our backs.

Melakwa Lake

Once we popped out of the woods, we just got roasted in the sun. We worried that Nora would be too hot, but the thin wool layer she was wearing seemed to keep her pretty comfortable. I’m definitely on the lookout for a thin, breezy set of hiking clothes for her for the summer though, something that will protect her from the sun and bugs but still keep her coolish on sweltering days.

Melakwa Lake

She woke up a little while before we got to the lake, and was very…vocal about not wanting to be in her carrier anymore. Luckily she cheered up once we got to the lake, and after eating lunch and getting a fresh diaper, she turned into the happiest baby ever.

Melakwa Lake

Nora <3 Wellie

Melakwa Lake

Whenever we hike with Nora, I go into it with low expectations of how much time we’ll actually get to spend at our destination, but she was happy as a clam hanging out by the lake. I think she likes watching the water. This bodes well for the summer ahead.

Melakwa Lake

Most people seemed to stop at the first lake, so my favorite best-seat-in-the-house rock was available for lunch and playtime. I even got some relaxing done, once I was able to stop manically taking photos of Nora whenever she did something adorable.

Melakwa Lake Melakwa Lake

Once Nora started showing some sleep cues (she always begins by subtly grabbing her ear, which quickly escalates to rubbing her eyes and yawning), we packed up and headed back down so she could nap in the carrier. We put in headphones so we could listen to music while she slept, then hiked back to the trailhead, all smiles (except for intermittent grumbles from me whenever I would trip over a rock and curse the fact that I hadn’t brought hiking poles).

Best baby hike yet, rocks and all.

Melakwa Lake

– Melakwa Lake | 9 miles | 2500 feet elevation gain –

Melakwa Lake

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  • Reply naturalred June 12, 2015 at 3:40 am

    Awesome! Gorgeous! And what an experience for your little girl. Simply beautiful!

    • Reply Ingunn Markiewicz June 15, 2015 at 7:20 am

      Thank you! I know she won’t remember any of this, but it’s still so cool to watch her take everything in. And *we’ll* always remember it. <3

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  • Reply Bobby Marko June 12, 2015 at 4:05 am

    You’re a lot braver than we are! I think our longest hike with Jack has been 7 miles. Glad to hear she’s so content in the carrier. Where did you find he wool clothes for her?

  • Reply Lisa June 12, 2015 at 9:17 am

    I love this post! What a sweet story.

  • Reply NW Healthy Mama June 14, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    Loving your pictures! What a gorgeous day you had!

    • Reply Ingunn Markiewicz June 15, 2015 at 7:19 am

      Thank you! The weather we’ve had this year is ridiculous, and you can never go wrong in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. ;)

  • Reply Samantha Welch June 22, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    I love seeing posts like this! I’m so happy you’re out and about and enjoying the great outdoors and your little girl :) Can’t wait to see what other adventures the summer brings for you all!

  • Reply Michelle July 19, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Your daughter is beautiful! And your pictures are gorgeous – its enough to make me actually want to go hiking haha! Great blog :)

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