Friday, March 29, 2013

Bright Sunny Snowy Day with a new Friend

The sun was shining and we were eager to get out on our first snowshoe adventure of the season.  Since we love to share the joy of the snowshoe experience, we invited a new friend who had never been snowshoeing.

We went to one of our favorite snowshoe destinations, Maxwell Butte.  We appreciate the narrow groomed trails, the big trees, and the open areas to enjoy the sun.  This is Amy's third year on her little skis and she is doing great.

As usual, the snow covered trees were beautiful.

Unfortunately, our new friend, Ahmed, had not been able to rent snowshoes at REI and he decided to purchase a pair of very large snowshoes recommended because of his height. 

We continued to enjoy the snow covered trees and trail.

After a short time, Ahmed decided hiking without the very large and cumbersome snowshoes would work best.  He buried the snowshoes and started the long, slow hike through the deep snow.  Gil always says they do not make snowshoes for men of his size.  After seeing Ahmed's snowshoes, I know that statement is not quite accurate, and that the snowshoes they do make for big tall men are too huge to move in.

We stopped for lunch and tried to take shelter under some trees.  Unfortunately, there was a cool breeze and the trees were dropping some snow.  This made both my girls grumpy and lunch more challenging.  As much as I love hot lunch on the trail, it is much harder with a baby!

We cut our lunch a little short and continued.  Along the way, Sarah and I had a disagreement about which way to go, and I ended up taking us the long way, making poor Ahmed and grumpy girls a little more miserable.

I used as many songs and games as possible, and Amy did a great job sticking with it.  Unfortunately, I do not think Ahmed is a lover of snowshoeing. 

We recovered the buried snowshoes and headed back to the car for the drive home.  It was really a great time to get to know Ahmed, and I felt refreshed and invigorated, but rather sad that he had struggled with his snowshoes and my girls had not loved their time out.

We promised Amy that the next trip would involve sledding.  I guess I have a reputation for taking people on adventures that are just a little difficult for their ability level, but it is good for their character and we were just working out the kinks for a great snowshoeing season.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fun with a leaf pile

 We headed to the Gorge for a fall waterfall adventure.  Analise was two months old in Nov. 2012.  We were up for a shorter stroll and decided to check out Bridle Veil Falls.  I needed to feed Analise and enjoyed this view of the gorge.

Putting her in the front pack makes Analise happy and sleepy. This is her classic "one eye open" look.

Big sister really enjoyed getting out for a shorter waterfall hike.

The falls were beautiful.

After taking in the view, we drove to Latourell Falls trail head to find a nice lunch spot.

Latourell Falls is beautiful and powerful. 

We wandered under the old Columbia River Highway bridge

When we got down to Guy W.Talbot park, someone had blown the leaves into huge piles for us- something rarely experienced on the west coast that my girls had never seen.  

While I cooked lunch, Amy ran through leaves and I put my baby down for a full experience of leaves.  Of course she tried to eat them!

We enjoyed the leaf pile so much and decided to try burying each other in leaves.

Both sisters had so much fun!  What a great way to slow down and experience fall in all its glory!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Ten Reasons to Hike with Kids

I have lots more fun posts coming up of hikes and snowshoe adventures with my so excited for kindergarten girl and her baby sister who is starting to enjoy the sights and sounds of the wilderness.  I thought I would take a break to share a list of ten reasons to hike with kids:

1.  Because you get to stop for treats on the way home.

2.  You have an excuse to sing silly songs and play games which makes the miles fly by!

3.  You have a reason to take lots of breaks, even "deep breath breaks".

4.  It makes the time more mindful and meaningful.  Kids notice and delight in the small stuff like snails, mushrooms, pine cones, and moss.

5.  Did I mention taking breaks?  You get to take long huckleberry picking breaks.

6.  You can bring out your inner love of mud and puddle stomping.

7.  You take few risks so you don't end up with too many "don't tell Nana" stories.

8.  You get to eat lots of good food along the trail, usually involving bars of some kind and lunch is in several long drawn out courses.

9.  It is weight training for backpacking before they can walk.

10.  Besides hiking or snowshoeing you get to "dip your toes in for a dabble" in the summer and sled down steep hills in the winter as part of the day's adventures.

So don't let kids stop you from hiking.  Get out into the woods and hike with your kids!

Refreshingly Rainy McDowell Creek Falls

It was a very rainy fall day. Baby Analise was six weeks old.  We headed south to explore a new waterfall and stomp in puddles.

There was quite a bit of crying during the drive, but Analise enjoyed a warm dry hike in the front pack..

The trees were so tall and the forest floor was covered in huge leaves.

We made our way around the loop and enjoyed the roaring waterfalls.

The moss and green was spectacular and it was fun to climb the wooden staircases.

Baby Analise had a nice long nap and was not quite big enough to appreciate the powerful waterfalls.

I am sure that many mom's might not want to take their 6 week old into the rain or snow, but this is my outlet and I need my hiking to counter postpartum depression, exhaustion, and to enjoy my four year old.

Just like her sister, Analise is learning about the woods from a very early age.  I know she can sense my joy at being near a waterfall and breathing the cool fall air.

Having my girls with me to share these experiences makes them very special.  I hope they continue to love the woods for many years to come.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Salmon River with a growing baby sister

Though the fall salmon run was close to finished, we headed off for one of our favorite fall hikes, Salmon River, with my favorite four year old, her favorite Sarah, and my six week old wonder!

As usual, we greatly enjoyed the moss and the mud.

This forest has some beautiful nurse logs as well.

We were all happy to get out for a hike and rediscover the wonder of the Salmon River.

Lunch is getting a little more complicated, cooking around a baby who likes to nurse for a very long time.  Sarah is always incredibly willing to help and both she and Amy have been so patient as I reinvent my backcountry cooking/ break system.

Baby Analise seemed to really enjoy checking out the moss and being outside.  Though she hates the car, she really enjoys riding in the front pack and being outside.

It was good to be on the trail.  Amy is getting to be such an excellent hiker who needs very few breaks herself, but is patient with her little sister's tendency to nurse for a long time.

The bright yellow leaves, the green moss, and the clear cold water were just the thing for a fall day.  We did not see Salmon this year, but really enjoyed our time communing with the river and the creator.