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Hiking with baby

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

Hiking with baby, Teanaway

Stop talking, start doing

We’ve talked (and talked and talked) about taking the girls camping for a while now. We haven’t been since Nora was 8 months old, and even though that trip was a raging success, the thought of being out there with two little kids was frankly kind of terrifying. But sometimes you have to stop talking and just start doing. Those happy summer memories aren’t going to create themselves, dagnabbit!

Camping June 2017

So off we went to our beloved Teanaway. Yes it was hectic (a couple of times, JK and I just looked at each other and said we don’t have enough haaands), our favorite campsite was taken, Lily hardly slept and I slept even less, and when I leaned against a ponderosa pine while nursing, feeling all majestic and nature goddess-like, I was actually rubbing my hair full of tree sap.

Camping June 2017

Camping June 2017

But! We snagged an almost equally awesome site, we had so. much. fun! and, honestly, I was due for a haircut anyway.

Camping June 2017 Camping June 2017

Camping June 2017

I feel like all our adventures this year can be summed up with these sentences: It was a lot of work. I didn’t sleep. It was so much fun. And last but not least: Let’s do it again.

Camping June 2017

Camping June 2017

Highlights: Teaching Nora the ins and outs of, uhm, backcountry hygiene. This was her favorite part too! // Baking bread-on-a-stick over the campfire. // Getting rain and mist and fog instead of the forecasted sun, and then realizing that it didn’t matter because kids don’t actually mind the rain anyway (or maybe that’s just a Pacific Northwest kid thing?) // Lily sleeping in my arms for the first time in forever. Love love love. // Posing Nora’s preschool mascot, Leggo, for photos of his grand adventure. // Both girls sleeping simultaneously for a little while in the morning so JK and I could drink bad instant coffee and just breathe. // Seeing Nora crawl out of the tent at 9:15 with epic bed hair and a giant grin on her face.

Camping June 2017

Let’s do it again!

Camping June 2017 Camping June 2017