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Outdoors

Lime Kiln Trail

After the success of our Little Mt Si hike, Logan, Elijah and I headed out again. We picked out a very kid-friendly trail so that Elijah could spend a lot of time on his feet instead of in my pack. That worked for about half a mile and then he rode the rest of it. I didn’t push it because he seemed legitimately tired (he was falling asleep in my pack) but it worked out fine. The trail doesn’t have a lot of elevation gain but it is 8 miles round trip.

There isn’t a huge payoff but the walk is pretty. You go past an old lime kiln and then in another mile you hit the end of the trail at the edge of the river. We had lunch there and made our way back.

The trail itself is indeed kid friendly. It’s generally fairly wide and relatively smooth. There were, however, a lot of bushes and trees growing in from the side of the trail so you have to be careful not to smack people in the face behind you. It was especially tricky with a kid riding in a backpack.

I really enjoy these hikes but I’m struggling with how to keep Elijah engaged at this transition point. I don’t love hiking without a destination, but a lot of the destinations that are fun are also more than he can handle at this point. If you have suggestions of waterfalls, lakes, fire lookouts, etc that are only a mile or two round trip without a ton of elevation gain, please send them my way.

In addition to the pictures below, you can also see the hyperlapse that I posted on Instagram. (A hyperlapse is basically a video that is sped up and smoothed out so it kind of looks like you’re flying along without the normal video bumps caused by walking.)

Little Mt. Si

On Saturday, Logan, Elijah and I headed up Little Mt. Si. Tyla messed up her ankle a bit and decided to stay home. We got to the trailhead at 9am and there was already no parking. Thankfully someone pulled out right as we pulled in.

It’s too much hike for Elijah to do all on his own so I packed him about 3/4 of the way up and then he walked about 2/3 of the way down. He’s technically still under the weight limit for the carrier we have but wow, that’s a load. It’s funny though that carrying him doesn’t seem as heavy as when I used to load a couple water jugs in my pack to train. I think it’s because I always knew I could stop and pour out the jugs.

It was my first time on the hike and I enjoyed it. The trail was packed since it was a nice day and there is still snow on a lot of the higher elevation trails. We were on our way down before the big rush came, but we had plenty of company at the top of the mountain. The view, unsurprisingly, isn’t as great as it is from the top of Mt. Si, but it was still nothing to scoff at.

Thanks to Logan for suggesting a hike and picking it out! Hopefully there are a lot more hikes coming up this summer.

 

Camelbak Intro

hydrationpouchLogan is doing a lot more hiking these days and had asked for my thoughts about hydration packs. Here’s what I came up with:

  • They’re great! Hydration can make the difference between a good hike and a bad one. Having your water easily accessible makes it a lot easier to stay hydrated.
  • Camelbak is the most popular but there are other brands of hydration packs.
  • Just because you decide you want a Camelbak, you don’t need to limit yourself to Camelbak branded backpacks. Lots of packs have a separate pouch designed for hydration packs or you could just throw it into a normal backpack too. It is nice if the spot for your pouch has a little loop to hang the hydration pack from. The straw connects at the bottom of the pouch and without that hanger loop, the pouch can slouch down and cut off the water.
  • Keep your pouch clean! It can be really tricky to keep mold from growing in the pouches when you’re not using them. Some people just keep them in the freezer between uses but since I only use mine a handful of times each year, I prefer to fully dry them out. I recommend getting a cleaning kit. You can use things from around the house like coat hangers but these kits work really well and aren’t too expensive. I hang and dry my pouches after every hike and then use the cleaning tablets every once in a while.
  • You can buy new bite valves in case yours gets really dirty, is used by a gross human or if it just wears out.

Rattlesnake Ledge

Logan invited us along on a hike and we ended up at Rattlesnake Ledge. I’ve done the hike a few times before but it was the first time for Logan, Tyla and Elijah. The hike provides a great payout for a moderate amount of effort which means that it is usually very crowded and that day was no exception.

I carried Elijah in the pack all the way up and most of the way down. He was happy to walk part of it, but it was really slow going since we had to stop to get passed both by people heading the opposite way but also by people who were going the same way as us. So he just bopped along (heavily) in my backpack.

It really is a beautiful hike and the consistent climb up to the top is nice versus a hike that alternates between flat and steep sections. The crowds get to me after a while though. I prefer the hikes where you only see a couple other people but there are reasons why those trails are more sparsely populated. I’ll have to get used to these easier busier trails for a while as Elijah learns to hike on his own.

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Fremont Lookout Hike

Today is my birthday and when Tyla asked what I wanted to do for my birthday weekend, I requested a hike. I had hoped to do a lot more hiking this summer but it hasn’t happened yet. So on Saturday we packed up the car and headed to Mt. Rainier.

I chose the hike out to Fremont Lookout. It’s one I’ve done twice before but it’s a great one. It’s something like 6 miles round trip with about 800 feet of elevation gain. It’s not super strenuous but the trail does get narrow and requires your concentration to avoid a long slide to your doom.

The weather was gorgeous and the temperature was perfect for hiking. Unfortunately it was a little windy at times and Elijah was just along for the ride so he was pretty cool. Thankfully Tyla had planned well and we had enough extra gear to keep him warm. Elijah walked about 1 of the 6 miles and happily rode in the backpack for the rest of the way. I was happy to survive the hike with the ~40 pound pack.

It’s a little over 2 hours away from our house so it’s quite a hike (pun intended) but it’s so cool to have world class hikes like this within range of an easy day trip!

Thanks to Tyla for taking a bunch of great pictures along the way too! Oddly enough, neither Tyla nor I took any pictures of the actual lookout, but you can find plenty of those on the interwebz.

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