Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hog Lake Falls, Fishtrap BLM

Yesterday Erik loaded a bus and headed across Montana to Bozeman for the Big Sky Indoor Conference track meet. Did we sit around feeling sad? I think you know the answer. . . Tate and I met up with the Inland Northwest Hikers again and headed down to the Fishtrap Lake recreation area to hike a 7 mile loop to Hog Lake Falls. I was still nervous to hike with strangers but one women posted that she was driving from Cheney and willing to give rides. I couldn't pass up a ride from someone who lives right in town!

Once again the INH did not disappoint. This is one of those hikes that I would look up online, and decide it wasn't all that impressive, only to go to the location and be surprised by how great and scenic it was. Outdoor adventures are like that, they are usually much cooler in person, photos don't do them justice. Well, Hog Lake was definitely one of those hikes. I wasn't expecting much, just wanted to get outside and meet some new people. Once there I was loving everything about the place.

It was snowing as we drove down, and cloudy and cold at the trailhead. We passed a historic old barn, a bird viewing lake, and several frozen lakes formed by the Missoula Flood. The ice fisherman stared at us as we walked by probably thinking, "Crazy hikers", while we were all thinking, "crazy ice fishers." We stopped for lunch and I fed Tate, I am pretty much the queen of motherhood when it comes to nursing Tate outdoors, just call me mother nature! As we ate, the clouds rolled out and a glorious warm sun beat down on us. I haven't felt that warm in months. We finished at the Hog Lake falls for the finale. IT was a unique multi-tiered falls that were much larger and impressive than pictures can represent.

Once again, the hike was really made special by the wonderful people. It group has a lot of older retired folks. They all LOVED Tate. She, of course loved the attention and was perfect the whole time. Never cried, just cooed, babbled, squealed and blew raspberries the whole time. She scared off any wildlife in the area that is for sure.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Presidents Day, Spokane River Loop, Riverside State Park

One year ago on Presidents day we were enjoying our holiday by trekking up Y mountain with friends on snowshoes. I remember having Spring fever so badly that day, being sick of the snow and ready for real hiking (or was I sick from being pregnant. . . hard to remember). Fast forward one year and here we are in Washington still looking for some way to get outside and some how usher in warmer weather. As if being outside and wishing it may help Spring to hurry back.

We recently received this awesome trail guide book for Christmas (Thanks Matt). It covers the good hikes in this new area we live in. We figured a good place to start is close to home, we will start with the hikes closest to us and then slowly start checking them off! Luckily for us the snow has been melting down here in the foothills and river bottoms. Trails in these places are starting to thaw and get some traffic. I thought this might be the perfect day to head over to Riverside State Park to check it out and cross of hike number 16 in the book. We have been meaning to explore this wilderness that is seemingly right in the middle the city of Spokane.

After Erik finished his morning practice with his athletes we bundled up the baby and headed out. The trail was icy right at the beginning, but once we ventured past where most people walk and dropped down by the river the trails were clear. We cruised an easy 5 mile loop and saw deer and osprey. I really wanted to see a porcupine since we had heard of lots of people seeing them in the area recently, but alas no quills to be found. Erik heads off to Bozeman, MT this week for the Big Sky Indoor Conference championships so I am really glad we got to spend a whole day together before he heads out.

Columbia Plateau Trail, My New Hiking Club

Have you ever heard of Maybe it has been around forever and lots of people already know about it, maybe I am the last person to discover this gem of a website, I am not sure. But if you haven't gone there yet to check it out you really need to and here is why.

I have been dying to get out and do some exploring since we moved to Washington. However, Erik has been working a lot, (which is a great thing) and now he is traveling to track meets on the weekends. Combine that with the cold weather and lets just say our adventures have slowed down the past few months. In the past I have had no problem hiking alone, I actually love the solitude and chance to meditate on personal matters. However, two things have made me apprehensive to venture out alone. One, I am really unfamiliar with the area, I like to know where I am. Two, I am packing little Tate along with me. She loves to be outside and does great on hikes, however, if something was to happen to me I worry about her. Being a parent makes you worry about things you never contemplated before. Well, one day as I was searching online for a good hike in the area I came across a pretty cool looking hike. I also came across a club that was planning an outing to this particular trail the following week. It occurred to me that a hiking club is what I needed. A way to learn trails in the area and meet new friends in this lonely land up North.

That is how I stumbled across Not just for hikers, you enter in what city you live in, how far you are willing to travel, and what you interests are, and BOOM! It spits out a list of clubs according to the activities you are looking for. You then meet up with people and do said activity. It is awesome! There are women's hiking groups, camping clubs, Mothers groups, running packs, etc. After some research on a few clubs, I joined a hiking groups called the Inland Northwest Hikers. They are really active and have several meet ups a week in the area.

Well, even after joining, it still took me two months of getting invited to all their events to finally get up the courage to actually attend one. The group was hiking at a trailhead that was just 5 min from my house, no excuses to not attend that one. So I apprehensively RSVP'd to the event and showed up with Tate. It was a great time and I met some wonderful people. I don't know why I was so nervous to go.

We hiked 5 miles on the Columbia Plateau trail into the Turnbull wildlife refuge. The trail is an old rail line and was totally straight and flat, nothing to write home about, but the company was great.  There were about 12 people there and everyone just spread out and walked in smaller groups according to speed. We had such a great time chatting while we walked and everyone loved Tate. The weather is slowly warming up! Soon the hiking will move from the low foothills to the mountain tops!