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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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??
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.
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.
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.
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.