Pacific Northwest adventures here revolve around the tide. The ocean glides in and out twice a day bringing and taking away it’s own adventures.
A pair of rain boots, a rain jacket, and a hat is all you’ll need. Don’t skimp on the cheap rain boots, we’ve quickly learned that rain boots around here are worth their weight in gold. After throwing away the cheap ones we learned our lesson.
The wind whips around most days and will, most times, knock you on your tush. So a jacket helps keep the chill off your bones and the rain from soaking through.
If your hair is anything like mine you’ll need a hat to tame the frizz. If not, it just looks cute and doubles at keeping the rain out of your eyes. Unless it’s the time of day where it’s raining sideways. At that point your boots, jacket, and hat will do you no good. Just surrender to the fact that you will be soaked. I know that your soul will get a nice rinse today.
Look in your life for adventure…it’s there. Just look.
Hike One: The Invisible Falls
Hike Two: Bear Mountain.
Recap of hike one: We think the Falls are invisible. Read more here.
Onto Hike Two….
I’m pretty sure Ranger choose this one because #1 on his Ranger bucket list is “See a Bear”. Ok, so i don’t know if this is number one per say….but it’s something he wants to happen. Badly. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s leaving a trail of fresh salmon every where we go to entice these dear creatures. What better place then that of the one named “Bear Mountain” to try to get something crossed off the bucket list.
Junior had Monday off of school. So we debated whether or not to drive the 50 minutes to make a large grocery store run, or if we wanted to go hiking.
Needless to say the boys don’t care if we have a stocked fridge or not…at least in that moment.
So we piled the layers on, because it is cold and rainy here now…fall has arrived. We jumped in the car and headed up.
We wound up and around ‘Bear Mountain’, passing a few scattered homes with chimneys roaring. Fish tailed around some of the curves, not only because Ranger pretends he is Speed Racer but also because of the patches of snow we kept encountering.
We pull up along side an old cell town at the very top and piled out of the car, thanking the Mountain gods we arrived…in one piece.
We grabbed our pack and headed down. Seems kind ofsilly now, we drive up just to hike down, then back up again. Oh well.
We pass by old Cedar’s that bow to us as we go, the Ponderosas gloat as their bright bark is beaming among all the shades of grey. The green moss glows as it hangs from the trees.
We travel to a spot, with a ready made fire pit. It seems to be a popular destination among hikers here. There are logs for sitting, a cut up trunk for a table, and random sticks turned to tools all around.
We were surrounded by grey so we didn’t know the appeal. But we had a seat and started a fire anyways.
Somewhere between the boys shooting arrows, and the long process of starting a fire with zero dry material the fog slowly crept out.
We were left standing, awe struck, on a ledge, with a view of the valley and the lake below.
The boys spent the next few hours being just that…boys. They shot arrows. Used pine cones as targets. Threw sticks in the fire. Played follow the leader. Smashed rocks on other rocks. Roasted what ever they could find over the fire.
And I…i just watched. From the comfy fallen log that was a foot away from the fire. Did i mention it was cold? But i sure was toasty.
We let the fire die down as the sun was setting. And the boys found a fun way to put out some burning coals.
I’ll leave it up to your imaginations. But if you go to 12 Tips for camping in the backwoods and look at tip #8, you might have an idea. Boys. <shakes head>
We once again climbed back into our warm car and head down the mountain. Back to our home. Back to our leftover Chili and Cornbread. Back to school the next day.
And for those who are wondering…”See a Bear” is still on the bucket list. Soon enough we’ll be able to cross that one off…there are Bears around these parts.
It’s good to be back outdoors. Not that we were ever indoors, but as a family. Outdoors.
We were those parents on Friday, after Parent Teacher Conferences….Which of course Junior is a “Delight”. Did you expect any less…. We signed Junior out of school early. Gasp! Missing a school assembly. Double gasp! But oh well. He’s our kid and we wanted him. He was thrilled.
So we packed up and headed for the falls.
It was cold, and wet, and the sun sets extremely early. Ranger even joked about wanting to get stranded out in the dark all night and have a true survival situation. But i’m pretty sure he’s not joking, he’d be thrilled. That is until reality hit and the boys would be whining and crying and hungry and wet and cold and then i’m pretty sure he’d take back his wish.
The falls are hidden. So hidden that you can’t see them.
We climbed up to a peak with a drop off on both side. Tipy toed and peered over as much as we could, but the fear of falling made us retreat. Back down the peak, around the trees, down a steep hill. Invisible i tell you, the falls are invisible.
Maybe we could sneak up on them from the bottom. We could hear the rushing water only a waterfall makes echoing through the rock canyon. But once at the bottom there was a cliff wall and a creek.
Onward up the creek!
Except it’s 41F degrees. The sun is setting and the whining has started.
We quickly log a plan to return in the summer. To trek up the icy creek then, to possibly get a glimpse at that time. But for that day we retreat…
Back up the hill, around the trees, through the moss and cattails. Reaching our warm car and headed home where Chili and Cornbread was waiting.
*This is in no way, shape or form intended to under value the amazing teachers out there or the education system as a whole. We also think unschool is a great option for others. Sending big sloppy virtual kisses to each and every one of you who have dedicated your lives to the education of our nations children. This is simply intended to point out that education is everywhere, not just in classrooms. Sometimes my wording, tone, and way i present a point of view may get lost and mangled in the world-wide web. Nothing but love.
Hiking is so much more than just walking around in nature with a hiking stick, a back pack, and some provisions. It can be a way of escape, it can be a time of meditation, it can be challenging, it can be educating, it can be down right frustrating. For us…it’s all of the above.
We usually set off on hikes in search of the beauty they have to offer. And we always walk away with so much more.
It should be no surprise that we don’t always stay on the trail set a head of us. On longer hikes we do, but on little short hikes we always ditch the trail in search of something more.
This can be exhilarating, fun, and dangerous at the same time. Fortunately, or unfortunately…i haven’t quite decided, i live with three wild boys who seem to live for danger most days.
What would seem as a nice leisurely 2 mile hike to a hidden lake turns into scaling slippery rocks, on a very vertical hill, crossing over a stream by way of fallen timber on your hands and knees, bushwhacking through Devils Club (it is as horrific as it sounds), and of course being eaten alive by swarms of mosquitos. I can still hear those buggers buzzing in my ears!
We always leave the trail with some bumps and scrapes, tired muscles, and happy boys.
Through these impromptu adventures we are teaching our children every step of the way.
They are learning teamwork. We never leave anyone behind and we always help the person next to us.
They are learning problem solving skills. Like finding the easiest route when there doesn’t seem to be a way through the brush, or over the stream.
They are learning their own limits of what their little bodies are capable of doing and what they aren’t quite ready for. Although they seem to test these the most thinking they might be able to fly ‘this time’ if they jump off the next rock.
They are learning that it’s ok to take the path never traveled because most times it leads us to hidden gems.
They learn to count on others.
They learn that nature is delicate and beautiful and unforgiving.
So hiking, isn’t just hiking. The lessons learned and the conversations we have during our trails go much deeper then just walking through the woods.
So i say lets forget school (well, not really, but hopefully you get my point)….Lets just unschool for the time being. Natures where its at!
*Pictures taken at Hidden Lake(Lake Wenatchee) Trail.
“A prayer for the wild at heart, kept in cages” -Tennessee Williams
The Journey as a Park Ranger Family begins:
Dear Friends, family, strangers, and cohorts, as you read this David is already on a journey. We spent the last few days packing and spending time together before this new journey begins. David is currently on his way traveling 1800 miles over the hills and through the woods, but it’s not to Grandmothers house he’s going to. Here, let me back up some so I can catch you up a little…
Around this time two years ago we were sold, sold on someone eles’s dream for us. David entered the insurance business with high hopes for our future. Instead that move sank us. We very quickly fell to a very deep and dark place. I’ll save you all the gory details but if it had not been for hitting rock bottom we would not be on the adventure we are on today. So there are no regrets or hard feelings in that aspect. If anyone knows me at all then you know that I am a free spirit, or as Dave would like to say, “flighty”. Any idea I get in my head I push, beg, and claw till I find a way to put it into action. One regular weekend during one of our regular camping trips Davids looks at me and asks a very irregular question, “What would you think about moving?”. The only thing I said at that point was to not start that conversation unless he was serious because I’d be on google that night looking up places to live and homes to rent. Somewhere between Dave marrying me, having two kids, and my countless crazy ideas ive somehow rubbed off a little on the guy. Well needless to say he didn’t stop the conversation. This prompted a lot of soul-searching on Davids part. There was many late nights of brainstorming, google-mapping and dreaming that went on. We went as far as securing David a job in a few different cities. Then came the real page turner. Two months ago Davids passion ignited, he came back to life, he smiled and laughed again. For the first time since I’ve known him I saw him driven for himself instead of only for us; his family. He has always supported and made all my crazy ideas reality, so why wouldn’t I do the same for him? It wasn’t even a question. We dove head first into filling out the applications, paperwork, and doing all the leg work that needed done in just a few short weeks. We have been in complete chaos for the past month rushing to make sure he could leave on time. We semi succeeded.
So that brings us up to now. Where is he headed? Why is he going? David left early this morning to drive the 1800 miles with my dad, who went with to help make the drive and who will be flying back to omaha on the 1st. My husband is headed north west to Washington State and leaving us behind. David has 3.5 months of academy training to go through before we see him again. It is no secret that we love the outdoors and we’ve felt trapped living in this flat, land-locked state we call home. We love our friends and family dearly but we crave mountains and water and wilderness! Davids goal through all of this is to become a Park Ranger at a national park. He is starting the Seasonal Law Enforcement academy on januray 2nd. There he will be trained in law enforcement, EMT, woodland firefighting, hazmat, and wildlerness EMT courses. I have never seen him so excited before. It’s consumed him since day one of applying to the Academy. He’s never been so ready for anything in his life, well aside from marrying me I’m sure.
I had a conversation with my boys early this morning after David left. I told them how important it is to follow dreams and pursue their passions in life. They may not understand everything I told them but i can hope that by us taking this giant leap we will lead by example. They will see that even though its scary and exciting it is also so important to find fullfillment in life and i hope that they will one day throw caution to the wind in order to persue their hearts desire.
So there it is! Our 2013 is going to be hard, exciting, challenging, and filled with new adventures. We are still working out many details and trying to tie up all the loose ends here in omaha. All we know is that David is on his way to Mount Vernon Washington as we speak. He and two other cadets are staying with a very warm and inviting family. He has a lot of hard work, studying and academy training ahead of him. The kids and I are staying back here in Omaha till at least April, when he graduates, and then will be throwing the clothes we own and a few other items in our truck and will be headed out to meet him; wherever he will be stationed at.
I am sorry to our friends and family who are just finding out this news now. This all came about very suddenly and for certain reasons we had to keep it very hush hush. But I hope there are no hurt feelings and can understand the reasons behind the keeping it under wraps.
We will be updating this blog as we start and continue this new path where we aren’t sure where it is going to take us, but we are up for a new life, a fresh outlook on things, and to be immersed in the beauty of nature. If you want to follow us check back often, subscribe via your RSS feed or press the FOLLOW button on the left side of this page to receive updates. You can also put your email address in at the bottom to receive updates via email. Please feel free to leave comments, I may need all the help I can get keeping my mind occupied right now.
We are looking forward to you all following us on the journey. Maybe it’ll even prompt you to start an adventure of your own this coming year!