Thursday, July 18, 2013

Little Spokane River Loop

Erik is headed out next week with the Scouts on a 50 mile backpack trip through the Selkirks. To get in another little training hike for him, we packed up the baby and joined the INH group for a fast seven mile jaunt up some steep sections to an incredible viewpoint looking down on the Spokane River. We came down and followed the meandering Little Spokane through one of the most scenic little valleys I have ever seen. I love squeezing in these evening hikes!

Liberty Lake Loop

Hiking in the Spokane area is quite a dramatic difference from our previous home in Utah. The Wasatch provided us with rocky terrain, dramatic views and massive mountain ranges as far as the eye can see. While I miss that very much, hiking in Northeastern Washington has proved to be just as impressive and beautiful in it's own way. Because the area is so forested, most of the hikes here are cool, quit retreats first through cottonwoods and ponderosa pines, then climbing through Douglas firs and cedars. The highly timbered mountains aren't as dramatic, but when the trees do break the views are spectacular.

One hike I have been trying to get to all summer is the 9 mile Liberty Lake Loop. The hiking group I am in seems to always do this one on a Sunday or something so I always miss it, but I recently joined a women's outdoor club called "Ms Adventures of the Inland Northwest."  Ha ha, get it?  This was my first hike with the active ladies. My sister in law Melanie joined me and my hiking group for the whole loop. Mel and the kids are spending their summer up here, trying to beat the heat of Fresno, and it has been great to spend some time with them. I don't think Melanie and I had ever hung out, just the two of us, so this was really fun to chat with her while we burned up hills and enjoyed the cascading waterfalls on this shaded hike.

With all the business lately of remodeling, packing, moving, and finishing the thesis, I hadn't hiked in quite a while. I think my soul desperately needed this one.  This hike tied Tate's record for miles in the pack, she has done nine miles one other time before, but since she has been so wiggly lately I was worried she would not want to sit still for that long. With Mel's help, lots of homemade crackers, and a nice sippy cup, she did amazing.

When we made it back to the trail head I wanted Tate to run around and get some exercise before we strapped her in the car seat, so we stripped her down and we took our shoes off and swam in Liberty Lake. There is an incredible beach there and Tate had a great time chasing ducks, splashing in the water and running up and down the fishing pier. There is nothing greater in the world than soaking your feet in cold water after a hard nine miles!