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Hikes of the Year, Hiking

Favorite Hikes | 2015

Eeek, January is almost over! Not only does this mean that Orcas Island 25k, for which I am hopelessly undertrained, is coming up veryveryvery soon, but it means I need to write my annual favorite hikes of the year post.

She officially loves Poo Poo! So this is...January??

2015 started out fabulously, with a certain someone coming out of her fussy newborn months. That meant we felt brave enough to tackle more “real” hikes, starting with good old Poo Poo Point. It felt like a return to the world for me – the newborn period is intense, a rollercoaster of unbelievable highs and overwhelming lows, but now things were settling down, and we started going on our normal family outings – hikes! Veggie Grill! – but with a happy little lass in tow.

2015 was also a bizarre year for snow. Well, lack of snow. One really shouldn’t be able to hike to Mason Lake on a dry trail in January, but that’s what we did. A little taste of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in the middle of winter.

Nora don't care 'bout no crowds Nora & mamma

In February, the weather was freakishly warm and we went to Rattlesnake Ledge to soak up some sun. We were not alone. This was a common theme for most of our hikes in 2015 – hiking really seems to have exploded over the last couple of years – but it’s hard to complain about the fact that tons of people are out exercising in nature and spending time with friends and family. I want more people to realize what an amazing hobby/pastime/lifestyle/therapy/workout this is, so I can’t be annoyed when people come out and do just that. (And anyway, Rattlesnake on a sunny Saturday? We were asking for it.)

On another warm day, we drove down (well, up I guess?) to Mount Rainier for our annual Paradise snowshoe. It was amaaaazing. Perfect conditions. No jackets required. Sun sun sun. Cutest snow baby ever. She even wore sunglasses!

Nora approves Cougar Mountain loop

We went for several hikes on Cougar Mountain in the spring. It’s such a great place to go for mellow hikes in the winter, but even better in the spring when everything turns chartreuse and full of life.

Happy hiker Melakwa Lake

Due to the aforementioned lack of snow, we were able to go on our annual Teanaway camping trip in May instead of June. So I spent Mother’s Day on Iron Peak, which was all sorts of perfect.

We also went on an early season hike of Melakwa Lake, which started summer for us. At this point, Nora was able to stay awake for longer on our hikes, so we could hang out at the lake and actually relax.

Mama n' Norbert Holy crap we'll be back

In June, we visited Fremont Lookout so Nora could see her first marmots. Another early season wonder.

We also traveled all the way to Norway and Italy, where we finally had a chance to visit the Dolomites and go on a little hike. I just realized I never blogged about that hike, but just trust me, it was fantastic. Even the drive was full of jaw-dropping views.

Lake Valhalla Tolmie Peak Lookout

We returned to Washington in time for Hike-a-Thon, and celebrated by swimming in Lake Valhalla. Then we went on what was my number one favorite hike of the year, Tolmie Peak. Everything worked out perfectly that day, and I have nothing but good memories. Swimming? Huckleberries? Happy baby? Napping baby? What’s not to love??

Noble Knob Snow Lake

I debated whether or not I should include Noble Knob on this list. At the time, there were a lot of frustrations and annoyances, but my highly revisionist memory tends to focus on the positives…so now I’m looking back at it fondly, thinking of the juice huckleberries we picked and ate on the way home, how much fun Nora had playing with the rocks on the summit, nursing while sitting in my happy place, staring at Mount Rainier. Aaw.

Our hike to Snow Lake let Nora further explore her love of rocks and sand and generally getting good and dirty.

Birthday hike Lake Margaret

In September, our little lady turned one! We celebrated on trail, of course, eating cake on Tiger Mountain.

We also started mushroom hunting again, including this failed hunt turned excellent hike to Margaret Lake. It was one of those miserable, soggy, grey days that just made the fall colors pop like crazy.

Shroooom! Christmas card pic

Most of our autumn trail time was spent looking for mushrooms on Tiger Mountain, either with Nora or on our own while the grandparents were visiting and could babysit. Hiking without Nora felt all sorts of weird and wrong at first, but it was admittedly really nice and freeing to be able to run again – even with a bag full of chanterelles weighing me down.

Lodge Lake Gold Creek Pond

Luckily we’re getting more snow this season than last year’s, so to get in the Christmas spirit, we visited Lodge Lake at the end of November. It was Nora’s first time actually interacting with snow, and she loved it! She really is Norwegian!

The grandparents visited again in December, and this time they joined us on trail for their very first snowshoe outing. We visited Gold Creek Pond which was an absolute winter wonderland…and Nora still adores the snow.

2015 went by so fast. Nora went from sleeping through most of our hikes to hardly ever falling asleep in the pack anymore (c’mon mamma, there’s snow and moss and chipmunks to look at! I can’t sleep through that!). We’re excited to see what 2016 will bring – I suspect we’ll be doing a lot of short hikes on Tiger and Cougar, inspecting pinecones and jumping in puddles…and probably having to bribe Nora to keep moving.

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7 Comments

  • Reply Lisa January 20, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    That first photo is great! I don’t think I’ve seen that one before. So cute. :)
    I love your hiking posts. They are so inspiring and I REALLY miss hiking…..soon I hope!

    • Reply Ingunn Markiewicz January 21, 2016 at 11:52 am

      Aaaw soon enough you’ll be out there with a little snuggle buddy on your chest. <3

  • Reply Ravyn January 20, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    GO YOU!!! I love how much you hike. We just booked our pet sitter (our dogs will not hike – sadly) for sooo many weekends this year, because we’re SO ready to get back outside! :)

    • Reply Ingunn Markiewicz January 21, 2016 at 11:52 am

      Whooo yaaay for getting out! It’s raining so hard outside now that I’m spending Nora’s nap looking through old photos from summer hikes…

  • Reply Ashley January 21, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    So lovely! Happy New Year!

  • Reply Marsha January 23, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    Great roundup! I hiked Tolmie Peak in August 2014 and it was amazing! Welp, everything except for the mosquitoes.

  • Reply jill i January 23, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    Fun to catch up on your hiking year, etc. Your little one is adorable! And yes, have noticed an explosion on the trails as well the last few years and made the same comment – well, at least people are in nature and maybe it will propel some into becoming conservationists. I must say, though, I do miss the days of my youth and young adulthood when you could pretty much always park close to trailheads, often see hardly anyone else on the trail – trails like the High Divide in the Olympics, Snow Lake, Tolmie Peak, Spray Park. I remember backpacking for three days up near Spider Meadows and not seeing anyone over the Fourth of July weekend; same for backpacking on the PCT! We’d be out for a week and not see anyone. But I digress. Hope 2016 is a happy year for you and your family!

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