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Cabin Trip

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Cabin Trip, Nutritarian

To Sequim on a whim

Earlier this year, while I was getting myself reacquainted with the specifics of the nutritarian lifestyle, I was clicking around Dr. Fuhrman’s website and noticed that he was scheduled to speak in, of all places, Port Townsend. Since we haven’t been out to that area since 2007 when we stayed in Port Townsend the night before our very first hike to Shi Shi Beach, we decided we would make a real trip out of it and, gasp, take the girls on our first vacation as a family of four.

(Side note: major LOLs at that blog post. Canned beans and soy dogs as backpacking food! Describing the trail down to Shi Shi as a cliff! Aaaw.)

Weekend in Sequim

We rented a house in Sequim (for you out-of-staters, that’s pronounced “skwim”, not “seekwim” like I thought when we moved here) and obviously chose to get there by ferry, because if there’s one thing toddlers love, it’s BOATS, plus it offers a timely break in driving that can be used to feed the baby.

Weekend in Sequim

We lucked out with a house overlooking the Dungeness Spit, so after unpacking all our stuff (there’s so much stuff) and feeding Lily again, we drove a couple of minutes over to the trailhead so Nora could get some energy out on the trail and beach after spending half a day in the car.

Weekend in Sequim

We’ve never bothered to go to the Dungeness Spit before because…well, to be honest, it sounded kind of lame. But it totally isn’t! It’s actually really cool – miles and miles of ever-expanding beach (with bonus views when it’s not…February) – and now we want to go back again.

Weekend in Sequim

In true toddler fashion, Nora inspected every grain of sand and bit of driftwood in the first five square feet of the beach and then we had to get home for dinner, so there’s lots for us to explore yet.

Weekend in Sequim

We knew it would be hard to cook in a house that isn’t toddler-proofed while one parent has to watch the baby, so we brought pre-made dinners (lentil soup and cabbage rolls) in a cooler to make life easier on ourselves. I think this is the way to travel while the kidlings are still little! Rent a house. Bring food that needs next to no prep. Relax.

Weekend in Sequim

Once the girls were in bed, we sat down and enjoyed the last little bit of daylight in our beautiful garden, then did non-tv or computer-type things like reading books! and talking with each other! in front of the fireplace!

(This photo was actually from the morning, in case you’re wondering why the sun is in the east.)

Weekend in Sequim

In the morning, Nora had ample time to explore the house. Her favorite part was our friends in the garden, of course.

Weekend in Sequim

Then I was off to see Dr. Fuhrman while JK kept the girls entertained. I showed up crazy early since it was first come first serve, and it turned out to be a good decision even if it made me feel like some sort of insane fangirl. The room was packed! Dr. Fuhrman’s talk was really, really good, informative, and funny, and I took a bunch of notes to share with JK afterwards. Big thank you to the Port Townsend Vegan Meetup Group for arranging it!

Weekend in Sequim

Afterwards, I was nursing Lils while watching Nora suddenly and out of nowhere conquer her fear of the cargo net climbing thing on the playground, and I experienced one of those perfect, gushy, “I love my life” moments. I’m sure the combination of oxytocin and my newly re-energized, super-inspired mindset played a big part in it, but man, I just felt so lucky to have my family, to be able to bring them on a trip like this on a whim, to have a husband who supports my needs to go and do non-mom things, to have the opportunity and the means to raise our kids on all this good food…the list goes on and on. Life is good.

Weekend in Sequim

We were scheduled to go home the next day and briefly considered contacting the rental owners to hear if we could extend our stay another night (because we kept finding new stuff to do in the area), but in the end we decided that we should just come back again some time this summer for a longer vacation.

Weekend in Sequim

Buuut we couldn’t leave the peninsula without driving up to Hurricane Ridge for the first time. Srsly, ten years of hiking and this was our very first visit? For shame! We didn’t get much in the way of views, but what we were able to see whenever the clouds would part made us want to return fo sho.

Weekend in Sequim

Of course I, I mean Nora, had to buy one of the exclusive Olympic Marmots they sell in the National Park store.

Weekend in Sequim

We didn’t have snowshoes or anything, so we just stayed close to the parking lot. I wandered around to help Lily sleep in the Moby Wrap, and Nora climbed up and down a little snow bank that she called “Olympic Mountains”.

Weekend in Sequim

We spent so much time taking photos and playing in the snow that a guy came up to us and said “Aaaw, is this your first time in snow?” – sheepishly we had to tell him that no, we’re actually from Norway…but I guess there’s something about seeing your kid enjoying something that brings out the overly excited n00b in all of us.

Weekend in Sequim

Since the visitor center was closed when we went to Mount Rainier earlier in the month, Lily was overdue for her first National Park passport stamp! I can’t wait to collect stamps with her in Yosemite, Zion, Virgin Islands…all of our happy places.

Weekend in Sequim

I know I talk a lot about what an easy baby Lily is, but man alive, we just cannot produce kids who will sleep in the car. The last half hour of our drive home was pure torture for everyone involved. But after a weekend like that, we weren’t going to let a little (or a lot) of screaming in stereo get us down. We survived our first vacation as a family of four! Parenting achievement unlocked!!

Weekend in Sequim

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Cabin Trip, Hiking, Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier Babymoon | Suntop Lookout

Our plan for our last vacation day was to hike to Noble Knob on the way home, but between the heat (90 degrees, where did that come from??) and me finally respecting that I need to stop underestimating formerly easy hikes while pregnant, we decided to just have a picnic at Suntop Lookout instead.

Suntop Lookout Suntop Lookout

We had never been to this fire lookout before, even though you can drive right up to it. It felt like cheating to get that view for nothing!

Suntop Lookout

The lookout is manned by volunteers in the summer (it’s such a popular gig that they have a lottery to get in), so we chatted with the hosts for a bit and let Nora explore. She’s been to several fire lookouts before, but this is the first one she’s been inside. She was pretty excited.

Suntop Lookout

When the girls are a little older, we’ll have to go sleep in a lookout again.

Suntop Lookout

After exploring indoors, we sat down in front of the lookout to have lunch in front of that majestic mountain we love so much. It’s probably going to be a while before we get up close and personal with Rainier again (hopefully we’ll manage a snowshoeing excursion to Paradise when my postpartum body feels ready to venture out on snow and we feel brave enough to do something like that with two kids?), so I’m so happy we finally stopped procrastinating and went on this cabin trip. It was the perfect babymoon setting for this mountain girl.

Suntop Lookout

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Cabin Trip, Hiking, Hiking with baby, Mount Rainier, Pregnancy, Top Trips

Mount Rainier Babymoon | Skyline Trail Loop

The following morning, after another stop at the Mountain Goat for coffee and glutenous hiking essentials for JK and Nora, we drove up to Paradise to see how the autumn colors were doing. We weren’t disappointed!

Skyline Loop

This was our first autumn trip to Paradise since 2014, when we introduced Nora to Mount Rainier for the first time. Can you even believe the tininess?

Skyline Loop Skyline Loop

Our main goal for this hike was for Nora to see marmots up close. She has inherited my prodigious collection of plush marmots, and has been obsessed with them ever since I showed her a couple of youtube videos of marmots whistling. Luckily for me (since I had promised her marmot sightings), the fat little lovelies started popping up just past Alta Vista and kept us company almost the entire way.

Skyline Loop

They were especially abundant close to Panorama Point, which gave me a chance to take some much-needed breathers while Nora gushed over her new furry friends.

Skyline Loop

Remember how I talked about my tendency to underestimate trails during pregnancy? Well, I totally did it again. I somehow remembered this loop as being “pretty much flat”, which is…not true. When we reached Pan Point and I realized we would have to keep going upwards on the alternate High Skyline Trail due to a lingering snowfield, our collective morale plummeted. Nora needed a nap and was cranky, I was starting to feel overheated and was cranky, and poor JK was left to deal with two simultaneously cranktastic women. (Just you wait until we have two teenage girls in the house!)

Skyline Loop

Luckily JK is a wise man and decided it was time to feed us. A bar (Nora loves Lara Bars – most of them are just dates + nuts) while walking, followed by a watermelon picnic was just what we needed for a little reboot.

Skyline Loop

…and then we hit a shortcut that let us shave a little distance off our loop. I gladly accepted the lazy way out, even though it meant we would miss out on my favorite marmot area – that should tell you how tired I was. Oh, pregnancy.

Skyline Loop Skyline Loop

Another fun pregnancy fact: downhill is more uncomfortable than uphill, at least in the third trimester. But with views like these, the trick is to just stop frequently to rest and soak it all in.

Skyline Loop

By the time we made it back to the paved trails of Paradise, the afternoon light set the autumn colors on fire. It was so beautiful, the perfect symbolic ending to a very short but sweet alpine hiking season for me this year.

It made quite the impression on Nora too – she’s still talking about this hike in her cute, manic toddler sentence kind of way. “Mount Rainier hike mamma pappa Nora in the carrier eat crackers and watermelon Nora found rocks NORA LOST ROCKS marmot MARMOT CRYING eeeew marmot pooooop!”

Skyline Loop

Skyline Trail Loop | 5.5 miles | 1450 feet elevation gain –

Skyline Loop

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Cabin Trip, Hiking, Hiking with baby, Mount Rainier, Pregnancy, Top Trips

Mount Rainier Babymoon | Naches Peak Loop

All summer long we talked about renting a cabin near Mount Rainier for a long weekend, and all summer long we procrastinated…and then it was autumn, and we realized our weather window was closing quickly. So we booked a cute cabin in Packwood, and the following afternoon we were off!

Packwood Cabin Packwood Cabin

The drive down went so well, thanks to the fact that we finally caved and got Nora a tablet so she can watch Peppa Pig on long car rides. A lifesaver for non-nappers! We made it to the cabin at dusk, got it heated up and got Nora fed so we could get her in bed not too long past her normal bedtime, and then cozied up in front of the fire and watched, of all things, Sleepless in Seattle on VHS. #cabinlife

Pumpkin pancakes!

In the morning we celebrated autumn with pumpkin pancakes and the first of many stops at the Mountain Goat before driving up to Chinook Pass. Our goal for the day was to hike the Naches Peak Loop – I had hiked it once before and knew if would be the perfect third trimester/toddler trail. And it totally was – it’s only a little over three miles, so we had lots of time to mosey along and dilly-dally, and the views are just insane for the amount of effort you put in.

Naches Peak Loop

Naches Peak Loop Naches Peak Loop

Naches Peak Loop

Naches Peak Loop

Nora hiked parts of the trail herself (carrying her one essential – a Playmobile excavator, of course) and spent a looong time exploring the little lake.

Naches Peak Loop

Naches Peak Loop

We eventually made our way around to the southern part of the loop, where Mount Rainier stares you right in the face most of the way – to the point where it becomes mildly hazardous because you just keep staring at the mountain instead of paying attention to your feet. We found a great little spot for our lunch break, and Nora’s excavator kept her occupied to the point where JK and I could actually relax, like unencumbered adults. We also snuck in a 31-week bump shot.

31 weeks

Naches Peak Loop

Then we packed up and kept hiking, Nora looking absolutely adorable as she bounced merrily along the trail. For reals, how cute is this?

Naches Peak Loop

You have no idea how good it felt to be back in the mountains, all excited and happy to be alive, after the summer of doom and gloom. It’s good to remember, yet again, that rough patches are (usually) just that – phases, phases that will pass. I’ve always tended toward all-or-nothing thinking, so when things change for the worse, I immediately assume that OHMIGOD LIFE WILL BE LIKE THIS FOREVER. If anything, parenthood should have taught me that life is full of transitory stages that feel endless when you’re in them (morning sickness, inconsolable newborns, tantruming toddlers), but they do in fact end and life goes back to being pretty damn awesome.

Naches Peak Loop

…sometimes even so awesome that your non-napper takes a much-needed snooze in the car on the way back to the cabin! Now that’s a sign of a good hike right there.

Naches Peak Loop Naches Peak Loop

Naches Peak Loop | 3 miles | 600 feet elevation gain –

Packwood Cabin

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Cabin Trip, Running, Top Trips

Orcas Island 25K

I’m back! And, importantly, I’m still alive!

Orcas Island 25K

Our long weekend began with a Friday ferry from Anacortes. Nora loves any sort of public transportation (except for that one flight from Reykjavik to Seattle which we shall never speak of again), and between her fascination with water and all the people-watching (“why are all of these passengers wearing trucker hats”, she must have wondered), ’twas a good voyage.

Orcas Island welcomed us with a magnificent rainbow, which I took as a good omen from the universe re: my chances of survival the following day.

Welcome to Orcas Island

Still, my stomach was in knots when I lined up for the race on Saturday morning. Everyone else just looked…more prepared. And like they actually knew what they were doing. JK snapped this photo of me and captured my look of reservation quite well.

Orcas Island 25K

But, as always, everything seems better once you actually start running, even though the start of the course was a long, uphill asphalt road.

Orcas Island 25K

I settled into the back of the pack and ran what I could of that hill, walking the rest.

Orcas Island 25K

But then! Trails! I could run again! Aaah, heaven. Soft singletrack wending through a veritable wonderland of lush moss, creeks, and waterfalls.

Orcas Island 25K

Lord-of-the-Ringsian bridges!

Orcas Island 25K

Magical trees!

Orcas Island 25K

I reached the first aid station at 5.something miles, refilled my water, grabbed a handful of potato chips and some really delicious, juicy orange slice, and got started on the main challenge of the day – the dreaded Powerline Trail.

Orcas Island 25K

This thing was nothing like my friendly neighborhood Powerline Trail here in Redmond, no, this was a straight-up-the-mountain, Cable Line-esque climb complete with shoe-sucking mud and soul-sucking, NSFW internal monologues. Eventually the mud gave way to snow, because of course, and then, miraculously, the Powerline was over.

Orcas Island 25K

Finally I could run again, and it felt so good! Until we hit another hill. This was the kind of switchbacking trail I can usually hike up in no time at all, but my post-Powerline legs were just spent, and these (supposed) 1.2 miles took foreeever. At least the snow made everything look like a fairytale. One of my fellow runners shouted “OHMIGOD this is the most beautiful thing ever! But I think I’m delirious.” – I think that summed up how most of us were feeling at that point.

Orcas Island 25K

At long last I reached the second aid station on top of Mount Constitution. I had planned for a long break there to take in the views, but since it was just white in every direction, I filled up my water again, grabbed more orange slices, and got ready for the descent.

Special thanks to the volunteers on Mount Constitution who remained cheery and helpful while looking downright hypothermic! This was the same aid station where I volunteered back in 2012.

Orcas Island 25K

The next section was the most beautiful of the entire course, thanks to the snow, but also absolutely freezing. After a couple minutes of running, I realized I couldn’t really feel my fingers, so I had to stop again in order to find my gloves and hat. Opening my pack took forever with my useless Otter Pops fingers, but luckily they warmed up quickly once I got the gloves on.

Photo by Glenn Tachiyama

The next four miles or so just flew by – I cranked up the tunes and ran my little heart out, only stopping when I felt an irresistible urge to hug one of the giant cedars that lined the trail.

Orcas Island 25K

The course ended with some rather rude but mercifully short hills that I couldn’t find the energy to run up, and then I was done. Huzzah! I got my well-earned high five from race director James Varner and forgot to look at the clock, but I found out afterwards that I had crossed the finish line in 4:34:39, which I’m reasonably proud of given the amount of elevation gain and my lack of training/general laziness.

Orcas Island 25K Orcas Island 25K

The post-race party was classic Rainshadow Running – live music, lots of food, lots of beer. I was a very happy kind of exhausted.

Orcas Island 25K

Back at the rental house, we watched the sunset with our furry neighbors, had dinner, and went to bed embarrassingly early. It was a very good day.

Orcas Island 25K

Hugs to JK for watching Nora while I was out gallivanting through the woods, and big thanks to Rainshadow Running for organizing such a beautiful race. I know I spent most of that horrid Powerline climb thinking NEVER AGAIN, but of course now I’m like I’M TOTALLY DOING THIS AGAIN NEXT YEAR.

And look, now I even have my very own trucker hat so I can at least look like a runner, even though I still don’t know what I’m doing.

Turtlehead Overlook