Ethan’s 1st Backpacking Trip [Video]

Barclay Lake
Barclay Lake

I took Ethan on his first backpacking trip this week. It was a 2-day 1-night trip to Barclay Lake. It was the perfect introduction as it was only 4.2 miles round trip and a few hundred feet elevation gain. The weather was perfect, conversation delightful, and experience memorable. I look forward to our next father-son backpacking trip. Continue reading “Ethan’s 1st Backpacking Trip [Video]”

Big Four Ice Caves (without the ice caves)

After being away for 6 days in San Antonio and the family stuck with a rainy week in Seattle, we took advantage of a beautiful Saturday to hike the Big Four Ice Caves Trail on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. After a couple months of anticipation on our part, the trail just opened up for the season this past week. I’m thankful we hit the trails early because when we arrived around 9am there were only 3 cars in the parking lot, but when we returned we saw well over 50 cars. This is a popular trail due to it’s 1-mile length, 200 ft. elevation gain, and great views.

We visited this area in the fall of 2010 but experienced cooler weather, fewer people, and we actually saw the ice caves. Today, the snow was still on the top of the trail and the caves are covered. We did hear a couple avalanches in the upper reaches of the mountain (and others viewed them) but there was no danger to us. Nonetheless, it was a great hike that offered plenty of family time!

The Trail
big four ice caves
Views of the hiking area
South Fork Stillaguamish River
Autumn and her Dad
Avalanche Danger!!!
Touch the tree
Snowball Time
There should be a couple ice caves right there
texas longhorn snow
Ethan and his Texas Longhorn
Lunch time, munch time....
Views of the area
More snowballs
Trying to pose for the shot.
Skunk Cabbage
Ethan assesses how deep the water is
Quick rest before our final 100 yards (kids were being silly)
...and the kids zip past Dad making their way for the finish line!

Hiking Season has arrived! First Stop: Lord Hill Regional Park


With the sun shining a bit more than usual, and the temperatures staying above 55 a tad longer, the family is more inclined to hit the trail more frequently. On a favorable hiking day, we tend to do 2-4 mile hikes with the kids. Those miles don’t always work well in the winter or rainy days unless you want to deal with crying, cold kids who never want to hike again. On the other hand, we continue to “break” them in with mild easy hikes that leave them wanting more. Continue reading “Hiking Season has arrived! First Stop: Lord Hill Regional Park”

Boardman Lake on the Mountain Loop Highway

Life’s simple pleasures!

In the San Francisco Bay Area, I cut my teeth hiking in the coastal redwood forest. As a resilient species that deserves respect,  I found solace in their beauty and sheer presence.  They will always be my favorite, especially those found at Sanborn County Park, but cedar and hemlock have a unique beauty that shouldn’t be ignored. They are the giants in the western Cascades. Continue reading “Boardman Lake on the Mountain Loop Highway”

“That banana slug has antlers!”: A walk through St. Edward State Park

St. Edward State Park

“That banana slug has antlers!” Our little naturalist has a great view of the natural world and he calls it as he sees it. It’s our job to encourage his curiosity and his sense of wonder and if that means he sees antlers, then they’re…well, we’ll help him out and let him know that they’re actually antennae (or tentacles) and used to watch television. We just can’t lead him astray.

We spent last Sunday morning at St. Edward State Park in Kenmore. It’s a short drive from our house which made it convenient. We’d been traveling all week and didn’t feel like spending a lot of time in the car. The State Park is a former Catholic seminary and became a park in 1977. It’s primarily wooded and offers great hiking and mountain biking. Continue reading ““That banana slug has antlers!”: A walk through St. Edward State Park”