|Hiking Observation Point at Zion National Park. A family that|
I don't treat our family blog as a journal on purpose. I know it would make me feel constantly behind, and writing would quickly become a chore rather than an escape. So, I miss a lot of family events on here. For instance, last month for Spring Break we spent a fun week in Los Angeles visiting The Abuelos. We had perfect weather, great visits with family and friends, and California was greener than I'd ever seen her. One day we snuck out of East LA and hiked Malibu Canyon in full spring bloom. We saw remnants of the fall forest fires highlighted by bright green undergrowth and we remembered those same hills from episodes of MASH filmed on location decades earlier.
And last weekend, we camped at Cape Disappointment, just north of Astoria on the Washington side of the Columbia River. And we took a spectacular hike up to the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. We were alone on the lush green coastal trails, and the route offered gorgeous views of the beaches and river below.
Hiking is woven throughout our family life. It is something we can all do together. It is something we all enjoy doing, especially when there is a promise of a post-hike treat. It requires very little equipment -a huge bonus for our minimalist lifestyle. We are lucky to live in a place where hiking is easy to get out and do, and is also extremely rewarding. It doesn't take much driving or effort to find amazing trails and scenery. It gets us moving, off the couch and out of our heads - good for both the teens and middle-aged among us.
And for me, it is just the bit of adventure that I crave. I love the splash of nerves and adrenaline I experience before beginning a new trail. I never know what lies ahead….will there be steep edges? Wild animal encounters? Will it be peaceful or crowded? Will Noe get poison oak again from his insistence on touching all the plants?
Some of our best family hikes by our various residences …
Everything was a hike in NYC. But with babies, no actual forest in the city and no car access, we were not hikers during this time in our lives.
- Appalachian Trail via Shenandoah National Park, our first real non-urban hike as a young family.
- Theodore Roosevelt Island - the perfect hike with toddlers, just minutes from downtown DC and the Mall.
- Reston Trails - Reston was a special place to live. A suburb that felt some parts suburb, some parts urban center and a few more parts rugged wilderness. The trail from Walker Nature Center to the lake was a favorite and just minutes from our home. I also learned to appreciate the beauty of winter hiking on these trails, especially all the opportunities to spot birds on bare winter tree branches.
- Great Falls - the trail system wasn’t extensive and it was always crowded, but the waterfalls were very beautiful and also a short drive from our home.
- Rattlesnake Ridge, just east of Seattle
- Mt. Constitution Trail, on Orcas Island
- Lava Canyon Trail and the suspension bridge! near Mt. St. Helens
- Discovery Park - we hiked it extensively and often, but a specific hike on a gloriously sunny January 2018 day with the snowcapped mountains in full view with the Sound below us helps vault this urban nature park onto our “best” list.
- Carkeek Park - We also knew these trails inside and out, but they were especially glorious in the fall when the salmon were spawning
Props to my Best Seattle Friend Julie for getting me on the Washington trails with my kids and teaching me how to get them to hike long distances. Hint: candy
We are just getting started in Oregon, but here are a few of our favorites from visits over the years:
- Eagle Cap Wilderness - shhhh...don’t tell anyone about the magical Wallowa Mountains.
- Crater Lake Rim. We hiked it July 2017. I hadn’t been since I was a kid and it took my breath away. There was still so much snow that we couldn’t access parts of the trail. The kids were so enchanted with the views they didn’t complain once!
- I will always have a soft spot for Wildwood Trail in Forest Park. Most memorable was running the trail for the Forest Park 10K with some of my siblings.
- My favorite Columbia Gorge hike is Triple Falls, but maybe it was because we had such a beautiful day to hike it. Noe did it barefooted. Thank goodness we were in Oregon so it wasn't weird. I have lots of memories hiking in my younger days with my BFF Angie, but I'm excited to share the Gorge with my family in the coming years and as it slowly recovers from the recent devastating forest fire.
- Devil’s Garden at Arches National Park. Between the heat and hopping large boulders, I’m so thankful we’re all still alive.
- Observation Point at Zion National Park. Also heart-stoppingly wonderful.
- Damnation Creek Trail - Five miles roundtrip through magnificent CA Redwoods to the ocean. I think this was my all-time favorite hike with my people.
- Temescal Ridge Trail - near Pacific Palisades, along CA coast near Los Angeles. Breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. And snakes!