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Hiking with baby

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From Life to Layout: Chanterelles!

It’s been hard for me to get out of the house lately, but motivated by the promise of chanterelles, I took Lily into the woods.

Mushrooming with Lily

The day started off with a sighting of Langdon Cook (author of one of my favorite non-fiction books, The Mushroom Hunters: On the Trail of an Underground America) guiding a group of aspiring foragers. Surely that meant we had come at the right time for mushrooms!

Mushrooming with Lily

I carried Lily up a very steep, very long path to get to my secret chanterelle spot…only two find two other guys there. Nooo! They were finishing up their hunt, and I dejectedly started poking around a little bit, expecting to find nothing.

Mushrooming with Lily

Luckily for me, these guys must not be very good at spotting chanterelles, because Lily and I ended up finding a whole bunch. And when I say that Lily found them, she really did! At first she pointed to every kind of mushroom and said “Look! Mushroom there!”, but eventually she honed in on the gold and kind of sort of pronounced the word chanterelle. The cutest!

Mushrooming with Lily

After our hunt and a well-deserved lunch/running around in the woods session for Lily, she wanted back in the carrier and promptly fell asleep. I found some more mushrooms and somehow managed bend down and pick them without waking her up.

Mushrooming with Lily

This was such a good day…I’ve felt so low lately that I’ve been missing out on how much Lilyis growing. But the endorphins from carrying her up through that steep forest and the dopamine hits from finding mushrooms allowed me to fully enjoy her constant chattering from the carrier. I need to get out more. I know this. Why is it so hard.

Mushrooming with Lily

I was worried that Nora would be angry that I had picked mushrooms while she was in preschool, but she was just excited and happily cleaned them so she could have them on her pizza. Yaass!

Mushrooming with Lily

This was such a meaningful day to me that I wanted to get it scrapbooked while it was fresh in my mind, so I used the November Stories by the Month kit from Ali Edwards to make a very quick and simple 6×8 spread. I focused my journaling on the whole symbolic thing of how these mushrooms only show up if we’ve had rain.

Yum.

Hiking, Hiking with baby, Mount Rainier, Top Trips

Another Day in Paradise

Can you believe that when I first started hiking, I couldn’t understand why people would hike the same trails over and over again when we have an endless supply to choose from here in WA? Lololol. These days we mostly do the same hikes every year, and life doesn’t seem complete without them.

One of those hikes is our annual winter/spring outing to Paradise on Mount Rainier. I’m proud that we’ve kept that tradition going as we’ve had kids, especially last year when the combination of newborn + toddler made it a special kind of chaos.

Paradise 2018 Paradise Snowshoe 2018

This year, we’ve graduated to toddler + preschooler, and we ended up having the kind of day I used to dream about before we had kids.

Paradise Snowshoe 2018

There were definitely some mini meltdowns, but we are three and a half years into this parenting biz now and can hold our own against the fleeting wrath of a young’un.

Paradise Snowshoe 2018 Paradise Snowshoe 2018

Mostly, it was just so much fun. Nora snowshoed up the first hill all by herself (thank you for the Tubbs kids’ snowshoes, Moosefish!) and she was so proud of herself. Everyone we passed told her how awesome she was doing, and she was just glowing with confidence. She chose to ride the rest of the way in the dad-powered sled, like royalty, but still. Seeing your kids mastering new skills never gets old.

Paradise Snowshoe 2018 Paradise Snowshoe 2018

Lily wants to do everything big sister does, so she wasn’t happy until she got to ride in the sled too.

Paradise Snowshoe 2018

Paradise Snowshoe 2018

We sat down for lunch in our usual spot, just past the Alta Vista knob, and soaked up the sun for a while. While the kids were busy with their sandwiches, I took the time to enjoy the views. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been to this side of the mountain now, but I never tire of it. That big, beautiful volcano, the jagged peaks of the Tatoosh. Yes it’s crowded down by the parking lot, but most of the people stay down there. Walk 15 minutes and you lose most of the crowds.

Paradise Snowshoe 2018

Paradise Snowshoe 2018

…and sometimes encountering other hikers isn’t a bad thing, especially when they offer to take your photo and you end up with a snapshot of your all four of you together in a beautiful place at a very happy moment in time.

Paradise Snowshoe 2018

Thank you, Paradise, for living up to your name once again.

Hiking, Hiking with baby

Heybrook Ridge – an almost brand new trail!

We discovered a new-to-us trail in January! And it’s actually a pretty new-in-general trail, too – it was finished in October! It’s called Heybrook Ridge, and it’s on the same ridge as Heybrook Lookout (go figure) near Index along US2.

Heybrook Ridge

I have ambivalent feelings about sharing trail info on social media, but (a) like three people read this blog and (b) I want to get other young families out on trail. This is a perfect hike for families with young children: short, accessible, with a great view from the top (just avert your eyes from the powerlines above you and focus on Mounts Baring and Index and Persis instead).

Heybrook Ridge

I was super happy to find a hike with views like this snow-free in January. We went on a day when JK had the day off but Nora was in preschool so that Lily could get some undivided attention from both parents for once, and she had the time of her life testing her trail legs for the first time – supported for the time being. But we definitely want to go back with Nora, the trail is short enough that she should be able to walk most of it on her own if we bring along enough motivational snacks. Maybe.

Heybrook Ridge | 3.3 miles | 760 feet elevation gain

Heybrook Ridge

Hiking, Hiking with baby, Top Trips

A Tale of Two Birthdays

Lily turned one (what??) on Black Friday, but she was so miserable with four molars coming in that frankly none of us were in the mood to celebrate quite yet. Our baby deserved to actually be able to enjoy her cake, dagnabbit!

Fast-forward to yesterday, when Lily was back to her happy, normal self, the sun decided to make a mysterious December appearance in Washington, and JK was able to take some time to give our little girl the birthday she deserved.

Lily's First Birthday

Of course we had to go to the mountains. Man, even the drive was gorgeous.

Lily's First Birthday Lily's First Birthday
Lily's First Birthday Lily's First Birthday

We hiked the two minutes (for reals) to Gold Creek Pond, our trusty old destination for when we desperately want views but have no idea how long the preschooler will last.

Lily's First Birthday

Lily definitely enjoyed her cake, both as a meal and as a face mask.

Lily's First Birthday

I cannot believe she is already one. I thought Nora’s first year flew by, but that was nothing compared to this. I could have used some more sleep, but it has been such an honor, a privilege, a joy to get to know this affectionate, smart, hilarious, easygoing girl.

Lily's First Birthday

And of course Nora hit the big sis jackpot with cake and a ride in the sled.

Lily's First Birthday

This might have to be her main transportation on snowy hikes this season).

Lily's First Birthday Lily's First Birthday

Nora had her own mountain birthday this year when she turned three!

Nora turns three!

This was back in early September, when it was hotter than the dickens and we wore swimsuits instead of snowshoes.

Nora turns three! Nora turns three!

My parents were visiting, and we packed the car full of cake and balloons and headed to Naches Peak Loop, another short-but-glorious family favorite.

Nora turns three!

Nora’s favorite part was swimming in the little tarn, of course.

Nora turns three!

I can’t believe Lily is one, and I definitely can’t believe Nora is three (except I kind of can, whenever that whole threenager thing rears its ugly head). This girl is feisty and hilarious, so smart, and fully bilingual at this point. She speaks English with a thick Norwegian accent, which is just about the cutest thing ever when it comes out of the mouth of a three-year old.

Nora turns three!

Nora and Lily, I love you both so much. Thank you so much for happily indulging us in our mountain baby fantasies – hopefully this brainwashing will work long-term.

Hiking, Hiking with baby, Mount Rainier, Top Trips

Marmot Mountain Magic

Summer is coming to an end, I can feel it. As much as I love fall (at least the early fall, before the monsoon begins), I always feel a bit of ennui this time of year. It used to be end of summer hiking burnout, but this year it is the opposite – summer really just flew by and we just didn’t get around to doing a quarter of the things we had planned. Gaah!

Nora's Marmot Quest '17

So now we need to squeeze in all the things, starting with a trip to Paradise. We’ve been planning this all year but it kept getting pushed back due to bad bugs, then a heatwave, then two weeks of wildfire smoke, then sick kids. When we finally made it last week, Mount Rainier decided to hide from us the entire hike, but s’all good – we were there for the marmots anyway.

Nora's Marmot Quest '17

Nora's Marmot Quest '17

Nora still talks about our marmot hunt last year so she was super excited for this trip. Luckily there were marmots everywhere, so she wasn’t disappointed. Fat marmots, raggedly ol’ skinny marmots, baby marmots, we got ’em all.

Nora's Marmot Quest '17

Nora's Marmot Quest '17

Paradise was beautiful even without a big volcano backdrop, and there was definitely a feeling of fall in the air.

Nora's Marmot Quest '17

Nora's Marmot Quest '17

The trees had that autumnal smell that I can’t really describe, and some huckleberry bushes were starting to turn. There was enough of a chill in the air for Nora to put on her adorable little puffy jacket. I see pumpkin spice in our very near future, friends.

Nora's Marmot Quest '17

This was such a good family adventure. At one point, Nora turned to me and said “I LOVE hiking in the mountains”, which of course melted my heart.

Nora's Marmot Quest '17

(She also said that she loves wet marmots, which means she’s obviously never smelled a wet marmot.)

Nora's Marmot Quest '17
She was so proud of herself for walking most of the steep hills, but the carrier was good to have when she ran out of steam at the end. At some point she’ll have to graduate to feet-only hikes so Lily can use the big carrier, so I’m thinking next summer will be the season of one-mile trails.

Nora's Marmot Quest '17

All those steep hills led Nora to actually doze off in the car for once, so we had two glorious minutes or so of complete silence when the girls’ naps overlapped. Aaahhh.

Nora's Marmot Quest '17

Over the dinner table that night, she was talking a mile a minute about our trip – finding marmots, eating berries, hiking the stairs, stamping Lily’s National Park Passport, forgetting her water bottle in the visitor center bathroom – JK and I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. I love seeing her so excited, especially now that I know that she remembers things for a looong time. I’m going to remember this one too, kid.

Nora's Marmot Quest '17

Nora's Marmot Quest '17