Spring is finally here! Like, really, really HERE! I’ve been starved of Vitamin D for far too many months this year, on top of having a new baby. Si was meant to be a spring baby but ended up being a dead-of-winter baby. On the bright side, it means he is a little older for the 2017 hiking season and will be ready for the big pack or back carry in the Lillebaby before its over. I’ve been struggling with Si’s 4-month sleep regression for the last week or two, and was feeling really worn down, so Justin decided to take a Friday off for us to do a hike. I chose Barclay Lake, which I’ve seen recommended over and over as a kid-friendly hike and is featured in our 60 Hikes book. The trail did not disappoint, and we had an almost idyllic hike; it was the sort of trip that makes it worth going out again and again.
After last weekend’s hiking existential crisis, I opted for a lower impact adventure for this weekend. My criteria was: short, … Continue reading Trail Log: Camano Island State Park
Hiking with small kids is hard sometimes. Really, its hard most of the time. And not in that “trail-side diaper changes suck haha!” kind of way, but in that “am I doing the right thing?” way. Hiking with two small children is harder than I ever expected, emotionally. When T was small and we first started hiking as a family, sure, there were times where I wondered if he enjoyed it, or times when I wished we could have more time hiking just the two of us. Lately, every hike feels like a forced activity. It feels like something we have to do to utilize the weekend.
Being on the trail was a great escape for awhile, but now the good times are laced with stress and challenges. I guess I just want other people to know that its okay if its not easy for your family. When all you see from people on the internet are nice photos and stories of minor mishaps and adventures, you think you’re screwing it up when shit heads south. You aren’t (probably). There is always more behind the scenes, but people aren’t going to spend as much time talking about marital disputes and screaming babies.
I’ll admit to being a bit of a fair weather hiker. Despite living in the Pacific Northwest, I don’t love the rain (do most people who live here?). It means that I spend our late winter/early spring sucking it up or waiting for nice days. I also don’t own a lot of quality rain gear for myself, so its fairly unpleasant if it rains too much. I needed to catch some miles this weekend though, so we chased the sun east, to Central Washington.
I’m not a huge fan of sagebrush country for recreation (I blame being fair skinned and a wuss in the heat), but I do appreciate the geological history of the region. Central Washington has an incredibly interesting prehistoric record carved into its landscape.
Smith Rock is one of my favorite places near my mom’s house. I’m sure that its sort of like saying Mt Si is your favorite place near Seattle, but there is a reason these natural wonders draw people in, and I see no reason to avoid it because its popular. Smith Rock State Park is full of well maintained trails of all difficulty levels, plus spots for rock climbing. I try to visit every time we’re in town. I was hoping to get in 5 miles towards our 30 mile goal for April, but toddler pace struck again.
We started in the late morning on Easter, expecting it to be full of people. While a lot of people seemed to have the same holiday hiking plan as us, the trail never felt crowded. After letting T play around on the little climbing structure near the parking lot, we meandered down to the river. If you are just looking to stretch your legs, you could just hang out down here at a picnic table watching rock climbers then head back up, and still feel like you saw something cool. We brought the pack, so of course T had to be in it almost immediately. As soon as he saw the bridge over the river, he wanted out to run free though. We let him pick the way for a bit but he kept trying to lead us up the summit trail, which I really wasn’t feeling up to. After coaxing him the other way, we made our way down the River Trail, one boulder at a time.
I’ve been trying to post these logs the day of our hike but this week has been rough so far. T got sick, like really gross sick, for the first time ever. Juggling puky toddler with baby wore me out, so by the time I had a moment to post, I just wanted to sit and not think. We did this hike a couple of days ago, on Sunday. I read that the park can be crowded during the summer and I understand why. Its not very far from the highway, and there is an abundance of river access points. But on this mild April morning, it was pretty quiet. Our goal was to get in 4 miles, and we had another little kid and his dad along. Fortunately the trails are set up in a way that brought us back to the parking lot a couple of times because we ended up cutting it short by about 1.25 miles. The kids were at the point where they had fun but were at the end of their reserves for good behavior, so we decided to end on a high note.
T has been ready to do some hiking on his own for awhile now, but when we bring the big pack along “just in case”, he tends to ask for a ride after about a quarter mile, and has little interest in walking himself after that. I asked T what he would like to see on his hike and he exclaimed “waterfall!”. Another sunny spot in the forecast was coming up, so I found a kid-friendly hike that we were hoping he could do at least half of himself. It was short and easy enough that we could do shoulder rides if he wasn’t feeling it. The Northwest Timber Trail looked like an appropriate hike, but there weren’t many recent trip reports on it so we went in expecting to be flexible.