I've sort of become obsessed with getting outside and into nature. I think it's due to the realization of just how lucky we are to be so close to so many amazing trails and natural icons like Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, the Olympics, the North Cascades, the Puget Sound, etc. Maybe it is also knowing how cold winter is going to get and how life with a newborn is going to make getting outside more of a mental challenge. (Don't get me wrong...I totally understand it is doable and I completely plan on it, yet I do know it will take a lot more self convincing just to make that first step out the door!). So, when I saw REI's big push to #GetOutside for Black Friday, it made perfect sense.
We usually end up outside most of Black Friday anyways because we are usually at my cabin in the woods and no where near big box stores (nor would we even be interested in attempting sales...um hello #minimalistwannabes!). Yet, the idea of planning something even more intentional sounded like a fun challenge. So, I asked around for recommendations of great hikes that would be little kid and pregnant mama friendly and most responses came back with the Pinecrest Lake loop trail. As a kid I remember hiking the loop once or twice and looking down at my feet each time my dad lifted his cowboy hat and announced "Howdy" to every hiker passing by. On this occasion, luckily my dad did not have a cowboy hat on and he was far too occupied with throwing snowballs back and forth with his grandson to be busy with greeting every other hiker with more than just a friendly smile and quick "hello".
The loop trail is only a 3.7 mile loop, but I failed to mention that to the rest of my family and pregnant brain got the best of me, so we were a bit unprepared for the hike. We went right around lunch time with barely a snack and we all neglected to fill up our water bottles before leaving our B&B that morning. Unfortunately all the water fountains were turned off when we got to the start of our hike, so even though 3.7 miles isn't usually a lot, we were petering out of stamina and thirsty and super hungry by about 2.5 or 3 miles.
The trail had just enough snow leftover to keep our four year old totally entertained and distracted from how far he actually was hiking on his own and just enough that it wasn't too much for my 30 week pregnant belly to handle. The lake and the sierras were gorgeous even though the weather was pretty chilly and a bit gray, getting ready for a big snow storm to pass through.
When we finally made it back to the car, we jumped in and headed to lunch and water as soon as we could. Micah passed out and continued to sleep for the first half of lunch as he had hiked almost 3 miles on his own. There isn't much better than a child angelically sleeping on your lap, while filling up on yummy food and water in the warmth of a cozy bar and grill after a satisfying hike in the woods!
Here's hoping we get many more amazing hikes like this (while making sure to be a bit more prepared!) in the new year! Our family wishes you lots of adventure, fresh air, nature, health, and happiness for the coming year. Happy 2017!