Archive for the ‘Hiking’ Category

She fits right in

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

One of the good things about being an introverted hermit homebody is that I don’t feel like I had to give up on a lot of stuff when I had a baby. We don’t eat out much (uhm, picking up Qdoba doesn’t count), nor do we like to go out and party. (Okay, so introverted, homebody, and just plain old.)

I was discussing this with JK last weekend and came to the conclusion that the only things I really miss about my old life are: 1) sleeping in when I need to and 2) being able to run the downhills on hikes. Not exactly a huge sacrifice to make in exchange for a life shared with the cutest little Nora in the world, eh?

There are polar bears on Mount Rainier?

Not only that, but most things are just more fun with Nora along. Even little things like going to the grocery store (or Qdoba!) is a little adventure when seen through her eyes.

Where are Nora's snowshoes?

We’re at a stage now where it’s really easy to take Nora hiking, so we’ve been able to keep that important part of our family life going, too. One of our traditions is to go to Paradise at least once every winter, and this year was no exception. There’s hardly any snow at all in Washington this year, but Paradise has a modest cover – enough for lil’ Norbert to go on her first snowshoeing trip.

Nora's first snowshoe trip

After feeling the biting wind in the parking lot, we bundled Nora up in wool jammies, leg warmers, and her polar bear suit. It turned out to be a little too warm – the wind died down quickly and I stripped down to a t-shirt by the end of the day myself. Nora’s layering is the most frustrating part of our baby hikes so far. This time we had the added challenge of sun protection, since we were in high-elevation sunshine with added reflection from the snow. We brought a sun hat, sunglasses, and mineral sunscreen.

JK gets a chance to try out pregnancy

Luckily, she stayed tucked inside the Ergo, happily asnooze and out of the sun, while we hiked. She woke up just as we reached Glacier Vista, where set up a little lunch station in a spot of shade from a swaddle blanket attached to our hiking poles.

Lunch break

We had to take her out for a quick photo shoot though, because ehrmagerd, cute little yeti cub with a majestic backdrop!

*raspberries* Here comes the Noradactyl!

In addition to my Loo with a View: Scenic Shitters of Washington album, which celebrates the many beautiful privies on our hiking trails, I should make a collection of my favorite al fresco nursing spots. This one takes the cake so far.

<3

We had time for a surprisingly long and luxurious lunch break, enjoying the views, listening to rock fall on the Nisqually, watching skiers zooming down Pan Face and little ant hikers snailing their way up to Camp Muir, and playing airplane and blowing raspberries at Nora. She truly seems to love being outside – I’m sure all babies do – which warms my heart to no end.

Flying yeti cub

After a while, we realized we had to start hiking back in order to make it home before Nora’s bedtime. The timing would be perfect: she could take a peaceful nap in the car, wake up and play for a little while at home, then go to sleep, dreaming of snow and big marshmallow mountains. Well, that nap never happened… Let me add one more point to the list of things I miss: 3) peaceful, non-eardrum shattering car rides. That thing people say about babies magically being soothed in cars? Lies, all lies!! But those car rides are still oh so worth it for a day like this.

Perfect day to blow off work

Glacier Vista | 3 miles | 700 feet elevation gain –

Nora & mamma

Favorite hikes | 2014

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

I love writing these yearly reviews and looking back on the time that has passed, especially since my life seems to just keep getting fuller and better as the years amble on. 2014? Fantastic. Amazing. Wonderful. There were some challenges, which comes with the territory of being a new parent, but what is life without challenges? I just feel so damn lucky to get to experience any of this at all. (I’m also conveniently choosing not to remember the whole morning sickness thing. Lalalala!)

Snowshoe football Leinster Bay

In January, before the NFC Championship Game, we went to Mount Rainier with some friends for a snowshoe handegg session. We hadn’t started telling people about the pregnancy yet at that point, so I remember being embarrassed about the amount of huffing and puffing I was doing on the short hike to Glacier Vista, but hopefully the others were too distracted by the beautiful and freakishly warm weather to notice.

Aah, St. John. Our favorite island getaway. We returned in 2014, this time staying at the Coral Bay Eco Retreat, the perfect rental home for us – sleeping in an outdoor bedroom, cooking in an outdoor kitchen, showering in an outdoor shower, and there was even a loo with a view! Another bonus was the access to the Johnny Horn Trail, which led us down to Waterlemon Cay, one of the finest snorkeling spots on the island. Every time we’ve snorkeled here, we’ve seen tons o’ turtles and, uhm, fajillions o’ fish. The trail was pretty cool too, steep and rocky under a canopy of green, with a short side trail to the ruins of an old guardhouse.

Coming September 2014 Ebey's Landing

We did a lot of lowland hikes last winter and spring, mostly in crappy weather and with me having to stop and puke once or twice per mile (okay, so I do remember morning sickness), but some were very wonderful indeed, like when we hiked to Poo Poo Point to take an announcement photo…which eventually ended up as an oil painting in Nora’s nursery!

Ebey’s Landing has become a spring favorite of ours, and this year’s hike was no exception. We saw orcas, ran into friends, and I didn’t puke once! Huzzah!

I'm gonna be huge by September 22 weeks at Goat Lake

Another spring classic is Sauer’s Mountain, near Leavenworth. I like to get at least one good balsamroot hike in every year, and this is my favorite. I hope we’ll be able to go this year too, with Nora bouncing along in her carrier. Maybe a long weekend in Leavenworth is in order.

Goat Lake was the hike where I physically felt the best last year – morning sickness had ended for the most part, and it was the last hike before my pelvis decided to go mental on me, so I could still hike far and run when I wanted to. I was feeling pretty damn good mentally, too, seeing as it was Mother’s Day and I couldn’t stop thinking about that little nugget of mine.

Beautimous trail Lunch spot

Twin Lakes was a new trail for us, and what a trail it was! I’m used to hiking up up up through forest forest forest and then reaching a view, but this trail had lots of variety. Beautiful from start to finish.

By the time my birthday came around, I had decided to choose the rest of my hikes for the year out of the Best Hikes With Kids book so I wouldn’t fudge up my pelvis. Instead of hiking to Iron Peak for my birthday, we visited Esmeralda Basin. The slick mud and snow were still a little too much, but the views were classic Teanaway…and I got to spend the rest of the weekend relaxing on a Thermarest while JK fed me cupcakes (this was the week before my gestational diabetes diagnosis, sigh) and did all the camp chores.

Mirror Lake pool bar Hiking to Noble Knob

In July, we decided the best way to cool off during the heatwave was to get up early and hike the shortest trail possible to a good swimming lake. Mirror Lake fit the bill perfectly. See, this Best Hikes With Kids thing isn’t so bad.

Noble Knob always makes it onto the Favorite Hikes list, because it’s Noble Knob and can do no wrong in my eyes. Even when the trail is packed with over a hundred ultrarunners and your dog rolls in elk poop. Best hike of the year, at least pre-Nora.

34 weeks down, sixish to go! 35 weeks

I had yet to see a marmot in 2014 come August, so JK and I decided to hike around Sunrise on Mount Rainier since that place is just lousy with my favorite rodents. Not only did we spot the fattest marmot in the universe, but also a herd of goats and masses of homo sapiens.

The wildlife bonanza continued when we went to Snow and Bench Lakes and spotted a bear! At this point I was 35 weeks pregnant and Nora had dropped, making me waddle like a duck and generally feel like I needed to start staying closer to home. We mostly did lowland hikes after that, until I started having contractions while picking mushrooms on Tiger Mountain at 38 weeks. Our bestest little Nora was born the next day, and our lives changed forever!

First hike! Mukmuk family

…but we still like to hit the trails once in a while. When she was ten days old, Nora demanded to go for a hike on Tiger Mountain to see how the mushrooms were doing. They weren’t doing well at all since it hadn’t rained, but let’s not complain about dry summer weather. Let’s also not complain about walking in the woods with a brand new, tiny, delicious, perfect human being on your chest. The only thing better than baby smell is baby smell mixed with tree smell. Love. Love, love, love.

In November, we took Nora to Mount Rainier for her first alpine hike. The marmots had already started hibernating for winter, but no worries, we had our own little Mukmuk in tow. Beautiful light, beautiful mountain, beautiful sunset, beautiful girl.

2014, you rocked.

Baby’s first Poo Poo

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Nora is almost five months old – seriously, where does the time go? – so we were overdue for her first hike to Poo Poo Point. We drove to Issaquah on Sunday and, along with 93% of the Washington population, attempted to find a parking spot along the paraglider landing field.

Let’s just say it took a while…which we really should have considered beforehand, since it was a Sunday. And sunny. And 60 degrees. In January.

Woodland babywearing

Dude, for reals, it was 60 degrees! In January!! I was massively overdressed in long running tights and a long-sleeved shirt, all black of course. Nora ended up hiking (as in being carried by dad) in just her wool unders, and even that ended up being a little too warm for her. She was a champ, though, staring wide-eyed and open-mouthed at the big trees until she fell asnooze in the Ergo.

She officially loves Poo Poo!

I was kind of a champ, too. 1700 feet of elevation gain isn’t much, but it was the most I had done since June, when SPD got the better of me. I was prepared for it to massively suck, but it just felt good. Really, really good.

Norbert!

Nora woke up just in time for a snack and some playtime at the north launch point, then spent the rest of our lunch break sitting on my lap and just staring at all the people and all the dogs. I like to think she was admiring the view, too.

She even got to try paragliding!

Nora wanted to try paragliding too

The Mountain was out. Aaahh.

Why hello there

This was an amazing day. Now that we’re out of the fourth trimester and car rides aren’t traumatizing anymore, we’ll hopefully get to hit the trails a little more often. We’ve been hiking the hell out of our local trails, but I’m feeling ready for some mountainous terrain again. (There, I just jinxed this crazy weather we’ve been having and now it’ll be pouring down rain until July.)

Aaaw She's the best
Nora's first Poo Poo Point silhouette Feels good to be back on this trail

Nora meets the Mountain

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Nora turned two months last week and decided she was more than old enough for her first visit to Mount Rainier. Mama and papa were happy to oblige!

Family selfie

Between the end of Daylight Saving Time, a late morning nap for Nora, and the fact that everything takes about seven times longer than you expect it to when you’re travelling with a wee babby with a prodigious appetite, we didn’t hit the trail until about an hour before sunset. No worries, it gave us enough time to mosey along on the touristy trails above Paradise.

Nora insisted on keeping her cute little head outside of the Moby wrap to look at the scenery, so she clearly didn’t mind the fact that we were walking on paved trails for most of the way.

She wanted to look at the scenery

I say this every year and never actually follow through, but this year, dagnabbit, we will send out Christmas cards. It would be a crime not to after we scored this perfect Mukmukian family photo!

Mukmuk family

Speaking of Mukmuk, Nora’s Halloween costume shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who reads this blog. My dreams, thems done gone come true!

Mukmuk! Marmots need cuddles too

Back to Mount Rainier – while we may have gone deaf from the car ride there (and that’s a looong drive), seeing this little lady seemingly enjoying herself in one of my favorite places made the trip so worth it.

Is this really November??

I know she can’t really see much of anything at all yet and probably won’t appreciate the views until she’s in her twenties, but I love being able to include her in our family traditions like this. Babywearing is such a wonderful feeling to begin with (and a workout, now that Nora is pushing 12 lbs!), but getting to do it while looking at views like these? Amazing.

Perfect day for a walkabout

JK got to do the babywearing this time, while I was stuck with the lame, non-adorable, non-warm, non-snuggly backpack.

Pink!

Our hike ended with yet another nursing session for the hungry little hiker, with a side of excellent sunset views and happy cooing. One of my favorite moments yet.

Sunset

…and luckily hiking is such hard work that Nora spent the entire drive home sleeping like, well, a baby. I’ll call our first real mountain outing a success for sure.

Not a representative photo

Bench and Snow Lakes

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

34 was the week I went from feeling amazingly energetic to feeling really, really…pregnant I guess, at the drop of a hat. Actually it was at the drop of a baby – she’s shimmied down low, ready for her big arrival, and in the meantime I’m waddling around like I’m carrying a bowling ball betwixt me legs. Our 35-week Hike-a-Thon hike needed to be short. Short, but awesome.

View towards the mountain

We got a late start after going to a birthday brunch at Plum Bistro (where my gestabetic self made the ultimate sacrifice by not partaking of the mac n’ yeaze – see, fetus? See how much I love you already??) before driving down to Mount Rainier to a new-to-us trail – Snow and Bench Lakes.

Berry delay Pretty trail

The hike was a success right from the start when we found huckleberries lining the trail. Apparently we were gorging ourselves with such concentration and gusto that we missed seeing two bears that were hanging out a little ways off the trail, but oh well.

We finally hiked moseyed waddled on when I decided I was way too hot and needed to cool off in Snow Lake post-haste.

Double cooling

…and what an efficient cool-off it was. I don’t know why, since it’s a shallow lake and not at a terribly high elevation, but this was one of the coldest lakes I’ve ever been in – much, much colder that the turquoise, glacier-fed lakes we’ve been in before. Brr.

Cooling off More bump, always

We hung out in the water until our feet started going numb, then had our late lunch on the way out instead of at the lake, which was the one place on the trail that was buzzing with mosquitoes. When we got to the overlook where we sat down to eat, fellow hikers informed us that we had missed a bear wading in the pond below us by a total of two minutes. Aargh, seriously??

Our luck turned a little while later when a shrill marmot whistle alerted us to the presence of another bear – it was way off in the distance and scurried off into the trees before we could get a good photo, but still. It was a bear. And we actually saw this one!

Distant, blurry bear...

I have to say, I’ve loved this summer of hiking. We haven’t covered the miles we usually would have or been out as often, but we’ve thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and tried out a bunch of new, family-friendly trails that I think we’ll return to again and again in the future.

We’ve seen wildflowers and marmots and bears, jumped (and awkwardly slid, respectively) into lakes, and seen some excellent views. SPD made hiking a bit more difficult than I had hoped, but between my support belt and the natural high I get from endorphins, it was totally doable…and totally worth it. Have I mentioned that I really love hiking?

Bench and Snow Lakes | 2.6 miles | 700 feet elevation gain –

35 weeks

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