Sunday, December 29, 2013

Fishtrap Lake

This was the last warm hike of the season. Back at the end of October I took Tate out with the INH club and we enjoyed the fall colors out by Fishtrap Lake. We took the proposed trail that the BLM is about to build, led by Bob Strong the geologist that has done a lot to get the trail built. This is a great hidden area, I just love some of the photos from this hike.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Mutual at Minnihana

I absolutely love volunteering my time with the youth at our church. My 14 and 15 year old Mia Maids are an extremely awesome, athletic, talented, and adventurous group of girls. They are so much fun, I feel really lucky to get to hang out with them each week. This Wednesday night for mutual Erik and I took the girls rock climbing at Minnihana. They had some climbing experience from the rock wall at girls camp. This was the thier first time climbing outdoors and they dominated! They all made it to the top of a 5.8 climb no problem. It was a LONG climb too, not just a quick shot up. They never gave up even in the hard spots and made it to the top. I was so proud.

Tate was hilarious as always. She wanted to climb too, and she had a good time watching everyone. She is just so fearless and cute with her tough little bear feet. At the park she can climb EVERYTHING! I have never helped her either, she just figures it out and keeps at it till she makes it to the top. I think with a small enough harness we may just let her try the rock wall next time.

Another hike in Slavin Conservation Area

Slavin is not the most breathtaking scenery in the area, but it is a pretty place to explore.  There are wetlands, a variety of bird species and shaded trails through the Ponderossa.  This landscape is very similar to Cheney, the area we live in. We live so close to these trails, that is it almost a shame to pass up a hike here when the INH group comes out. Tate and I did an easy five mile hike with the group. It was super hot outside, but I loved every second because I know we don't have many more nice days before winter hits like a hurricane! I love this little conservation area and am grateful to live so close.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

EWU XC Camp, Olympic National Park

Erik was asked to help run the EWU cross country camp this year.  Every year just before the season starts the XC team goes to a scenic area nearby and camps. They do all of their workouts on trails for the week. This year the team headed to Olympic National Park. That is an area of the country we have been dying to see so Tate and I came along. I love Erik's job and how family friendly everyone has been to Tate and I.

We camped at the Heart O the Hills campground, it is just outside of Port Angeles, on the way to Hurricane ridge. It was a perfect location. We were close to town where we went each night to eat dinner and shower at the high school. The typical day for the kids was a morning trail run, then we would go somewhere fun for the day to recreate, then a late afternoon run, followed by showers and dinner, then we would go back to camp for campfire team activities and get to bed early for another big run the next day. This was basically my dream week. Camping + Trail Running = Very Happy Wifey. Tate was amazing the whole trip. She loves camping and was going nonstop. Running around, eating dirt, jumping around the tent. She won over the hearts of all the XC kids with her little bare feet and cute smile.

The first day we drove the 6 hour drive to Port Angeles. We went through Seattle and got to ride a ferry to the Olympic peninsula. It was my first time on a ferry, and it was great to stretch our legs and let Tate run around while we traveled. She was hilarious, seriously she did not stop running the whole time we were on there with the exception of brief pauses to point to seagulls and look over the edge at the water.

The Team on the Ferry
Tate leaning into the wind
Wiggs and I in the car
We stopped in town for our evening run. We ran on a paved bike trail along the coast, it was pretty, you could see across the strait to British Columbia and there were massive cruise ships and cargo ships out on the water. I ran with Coach Zeller and Sean the athletic trainer, we took up the rear and just enjoyed stretching the legs out after the long car ride.

Day two found us hiking up the trail to Lake Angeles. The team ran the treacherous 8 mile trail, Erik and I hiked and brought up the rear. It was a nice trail through dense forest, SO GREEN, but not many views. After the run we all headed up to Hurricane Ridge. This is an incredible scenic mountainous area where you can look over most of Olympic National Park. We all ate lunch at what I would argue is the most scenic picnic area on the planet. Then the kids all lounged around and napped while the coaches hiked up to Hurricane Hill. This is a must do hike in this park with 360 degree views of the mountains, beaches and British Columbia. I heard lots of great stories between Erik, Sean, and Chris. We laughed the entire way up and down the trail and we were attacked by a tiny killer sparrow. (We have no idea why it was so angry with us, but we all squealed like little girls trying to evade the little devil. The runners did another run that evening on a trail to Dawn Lake but we chose to sit that one out, 10 miles of hiking was enough for us that day.

Cute bridge on way to Lake Angeles

The cute runners on their way down

Erik and Wiggs in an eerie burn area

View from Our lunch spot

Not a bad place to eat

Eastern Coaches cruising up to Hurricane Hill

View down to Port Angeles, Strait of Juan De Fuca, and Victoria on the other side.

Happy Hikers, sorry about my BYU shirt!

Day 3 we took the vans up a sketchy single lane dirt road up to a nice trail up above the incredible Elwha Valley. I was so impressed with the Eastern XC team. These kids did trail run after trail run, they were so tough! Some of there trails were intense, they were just so fit! It made me miss the days when I was a young spry collegiate runner in peak fitness. We hiked to Humes Ranch and Micheal's Cabin. These are named for the old cougar hunter who lived in this part of the mountains for many years. When we finished hiking Tate was asleep in the carrier. we didn't want to risk waking her so Erik just took off the pack and let her sleep in the pack while the runners ate breakfast, stretched, and did thier post run thing. She slept that way for 45 min! It's all good, anything for a happy baby. Along the way we also met some backpackers who were about to finish a 60 mile back country trip. We ended up giving them a ride down that treacherous road we drove up. If you know me you know that I love picking up hitch hikers in National Parks, after all, us backpackers have to stick together!

After the run we all spent the day at a former Eastern runner's lake house. The house was on Lake Sutherland. We had a bbq, went boating, and just lounged around. (Actually I chased crazy Tate around and tried to keep her from jumping off the pier). This experience solidified my desire to one day own a lake house up on a secluded mountain lake.

The evening run was on a trail that followed the banks of the famous Lake Crescent. The bluest and clearest water I have ever seen in my life! I joined in with the runners and will always remember the natural high of running along that lake in such perfect weather. I ran with the girls this time and was proud I could still keep up. I stopped briefly to take a few pics, but they really don't do the beauty of the lake justice.

The last day the team had 12 x 800 repeats that the ran on a trail in a park called Robin Hill Farm. I wish Erik and I would have more time to explore this green monster of a park, but we had to do a grocery store run to stock up on supplies while the team was training.

We spent the rest of the day at a park on the coast called Salt Creek Recreation Area near Crescent Bay. This place was sweet. There were old bunkers from WW2, a wonderful beach area, tide pools, and a fun and scenic trail that followed the bluffs. We hiked all around the park. Tate was a trooper, it was sprinkling the whole day and she was happy as a clam in her little hiking backpack, we just put the rain fly up and put her rain gear on and she was dry as can be. After the team finished their evening run in this area we picked up a ton of pizzas and headed out to the Port Angeles "Hook" to eat our meal. The rain finally cleared and we got to watch the clouds roll back over the mountains. It was the perfect place to relax and watch these kids pound the pizza. 

These athletes ate very healthy all week, so on our last night in camp we picked up a bunch of ice cream and brought it back to the campground. But we overestimated how much everyone would eat so we had a ton leftover. Naturally you can't let it melt and go to waste, so we went through the campground giving it all away to our neighbor campers. The whole campground slept happily that night.

All in all it was a fabulous week. I love camping, hiking, trail running, national parks, and track and field. This trip rolled in all together into one Washington special package. I love living here! I love Erik's wonderful job! I love getting to spend time in nature as a family! Since we have been home we have been working hard on getting our kitchen remodeled and done before EWU starts school and Erik gets really busy. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bead Lake

I clocked another 10 miles with my hiking group, Inland Northwest Hikers. This time we headed up past Newport to hike beautiful Bead Lake. This was a fairly easy trail that follows the lake shore most of the way. We dipped back into the forest a few times. There was an gorgeous primitive campground about 1.5 miles in called Enchanted Campground. Put a pin in that one for the future when you need a place to take small children backpacking, perfect destination for a child. The lake was a gorgeous clear emerald green color and we did not see another hiker the whole day.

Once again, Sweet Tater was the barefoot star of the group. They all love her so much and I am grateful for such a great group of hikers that are patient and willing to stop if Tate needs to wiggle or take a quick nursing break. We hiked in about 5 miles to a nice lunch destination in a shaded grotto of cedars and then headed back, taking a quick break to let people jump in the lake if they wanted to. Of course Tate wanted to swim so we put our feet in. She is getting a little bit harder to hike with. Even though she loves being outside, she is getting to the age where she wants to run down the trail. Between being strapped in to the car seat on the way there, and then strapped into the carrier we have found that 10 miles is her happy limit. Lets face it, she is pretty heavy, so 10 miles is also mom's happy limit too.

Anyone interested in doing this hike? Here is a link to some more info on how to get there.