Hike and Seek in Seattle

As many of you know, I am a HUGE proponent of outdoor time for everyone. (see our Summertime Challenge series)  I think we ALL feel better after we have spent a bit of time in the great outdoors. In my family, we are always less cranky after going for a walk or even a picnicking outside.  This looks to be a great opportunity for the people of the greater Seattle area to experience nature!

Cost is $12 for adult and $7 for youth ($15 and $9 the day of the event)

Hike & Seek Seattle will take place at the beautiful 300-acre Seward Park. The adventure will be held on October 13, 2012 on a ~2 mile hiking trail, where kids can connect with nature and interact with five adventurous Stop & Study locations.

By trading screen time for green time, this go-at-your-own-pace event will surely create a lasting impression and promote a healthy lifestyle for kids of all ages!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

9 a.m. – 12 p.m. (Please note: You must arrive between 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.)

Seward Park

5902 Lake Washington Blvd. S

Seattle, Washington 98118

via Seattle – National Wildlife Federation.

Summertime Challenge – Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park

Well, we made it. We made the Summertime Challenge.  With all the other summer social obligations: weddings, pot lucks, and BBQ’s it was hard to find the time, be we were able to walk about, surrounded by nature at lease once a month, all summer long. Well, we still have September, but considering school starts before that, Im not sure we still count that as summer.  September in the pacific northwest says summer, but the school calendar says “Bah Humbug”!

The last hike was the longest, and most challenging for us.  It was just the 3 boys and mom.  And let me tell ya, the baby is a trooper; I only had to bribe him with the promise of daddy a few times to keep him moving.  He didn’t walk the whole 4 miles, but he did walk a good 2 miles. The rest of the way, my shoulders did the carrying.  The older two boys were great. They didn’t complain, except to say that mommy and baby couldn’t keep up, and carried everybody’s lunches in their backpacks. We didn’t stick to all the groomed trails, and some of the walking was a little jumping over roots, rocks and narrow little goat trails. But it was a blast.

Find the Perfect Hike

We left a little late because I was agonizing over the perfect trail to walk on. Not too long, not too tough, not too steep and with enough interest to keep little kids wondering whats around the next corner, e.g. just right – said baby bear. So, I hit my friendly http://www.WTA.org (Washington Trails Association) website. Their hike finder tool is fantastic. You can filter by location, sights, level of difficulty (kid-friendly).

Pack for the Hike

Then, we had to pack for the hike. Anyone who leaves the house with people smaller and younger than yourself know its a good idea to bring these items along on a trip, to anywhere. Unless its Grandma’s house; she pretty much has everything.

  • Diaper bag – with plenty of wipes
  • Change of clothes/shoes and socks
  • Lunch and healthy snacks (Peanut butter & local honey is a mainstay as well as oranges & apples)
  • Lots of water

I Googled the address and we were off!  The weather was warm. We shared the trail with horses, and other people of all ages out for either a pleasant stroll or a hardcore run through the woods.  Everyone we met was super nice and we really enjoyed ourselves.

Things We Learned:

  1. Pack the night before if you want to leave early
  2. Wear bug repellent, sunscreen and a hat. In my neighborhood, we have plenty of wind to keep the mosquitoes down, not so around these trails. The olders moved fast enough that the mosquitoes wouldn’t stick, but the little guy was in trouble.
  3. Make sure everyone has on long pants (see mosquito note above) and in case of trips, falls and sticker bushes.  We had a little of all 3 on our walk.
  4. Download a map of the hiking area and plan your hike accordingly. King County provided a Map at the trail head (Quite useful, thanks King County!) But, in my naivete, I thought the path was probably another loop, so didn’t bother to look until we found a spot for lunch. We had walked way out of our way from where we wanted to be and added an extra mile to our walk.
  5. Keep the Map! Along the route, during a diaper change no doubt, I dropped the map.  I hope some poor lost soul found it and used it. Thankfully, I was able to ask for directions. Did I mention that everyone we met was nice?
  6. On your hike in this area, either hike to a designated picnic area, or plan to make your impromptu lunch on a fallen log (we did). Just remember to pic up your trash!
  7. Wear comfortable shoes. I don’t own hiking boots, but after this, Im thinking I should invest in a pair. Oye, my aching feet!
  8. When hiking with kids, plan to take breaks. Break for water, rest, and most importantly potty breaks. This is where having boys is quite nice!
  9. Remember, if it takes you 1 hour to walk in, it will take you 2 hours to walk out along the same path.
  10. Have fun. Enjoy the time with the family. Savor the peanut butter!

 

Hike-a-Thon — Washington Trails Association

Hike-a-Thon — Washington Trails Association

I don’t care for the Discover Pass fee. I have been vocal about this on twitter. There are too many local, free areas to access nature walks, beaches and out of the way places. But, I do believe that if you use a resource, you should pay for it. So this is a great fundraiser for a great organization, the Washington Trails Association.  You can sign up as a team and raise money, or you can sponsor a group that is already walking. 

This months Summertime Challenge is a hike near Snoqualmie on Sunday the 19th. Look at that, before the last week of the month!  We are getting better!  Whoo hoo! I am not hiking enough to warrant registering the family for the hike, but please do what you can and support a great organization.  I know I am!Image

Summertime Challenge – Junuary

20120623-162939.jpg

It is almost the end of June, or this year Junuary. In the great Pacific Northwest, summer might have started according to the calendar, but the sun generally doesn’t start showing its face on a regular basis until late July. Since out family challenge is to explore more of what the great outdoors has to offer, it means we need to be true to our NW roots…we need raincoats!

Today we donned Thomas the Train raincoats, backpacks and the baby wore a hat (something I need to remember for next time) and we set off to Snake Lake trail off of S19th street in Tacoma. The Snake Lake watershed is connected to the Tacoma Nature Center, and both are run by one my favorite governmental entity’s in Pierce County, Metro Parks.

The walk was easy with the 18month old. We didn’t bring a stroller for him, or use a backpack carrier either. Though the backpack might have made it a faster walk. He tends to dawdle, even in the rain. I have to keep reminding myself that this is still relatively new. We met many people who were using the path to run and saw some great sites along the trail. Great thing is that the rain was light while we were walking and some portions of the trail were dry because all the trees kept the rain to a minimum.

After our walk, we ended up at the Tacoma Nature Center. We read books, tried on skunk/beaver/duck costumes and watched turtles swim in their habitat. The center was a big hit because: it was indoors, warm and the activities were numerous! Even during lunch, my older boys, who’ve been there before, kept explaining, ‘look at that!’. It was a natural place to stop and eat the lunch we packed. We made sure to clean up after ourselves. The facility is so nice, it would be a shame to leave it a mess!

Lessons Learned
1) Bring a hat! (I got really wet)
2) Keep a change of clothes in the car, in case of falling in the mud – or other extreme boys sports. (This helped keep us warm and dry on the way home)
3) Pack a lunch. This is a great way to make sure that you’re prepared when the munches hit and a way to rally the troops toward the end…only a little farther till we can stop for lunch! Plus, you can save money vs. eating out.
4) Bring a change of shoes. I forgot to pack the baby’s rain boots and he was mad I kept lifting him over puddles. He wanted to stomp in puddles like his brothers, but I didn’t have a change of shoes. So yes, I became the crazy lady telling her boy, who is surrounded by mud and nature, to be careful about getting dirty…