North Cascades’ Thunder Knob: Ignoring the Road Blocks to Outdoor Escape

North Cascades’ Thunder Knob: Ignoring the Road Blocks to Outdoor Escape |

North Cascades’ Thunder Knob: Ignoring the Road Blocks to Outdoor Escape |

North Cascades’ Thunder Knob: Ignoring the Road Blocks to Outdoor Escape |

One recent Saturday, quite a few road blocks stood in our way to ultimately feeling like our time in the outdoors hiking was really worth our great effort of driving 3.5 hours both ways for just a day trip.   Continue reading

Savoring the Season with an End-of- Summer Bucket List

We still have several weeks before our little guy embarks on the brand-new adventure of life as a preschooler.  I know the summer isn’t really over, not until September 22, and the fun at home doesn’t stop just because someone is in school for a couple of mornings a week.

However, I still feel like it’s necessary for me to make sure that we’re getting the most out of the summer season.  After all, as much as we really don’t mind it so much, Western Washington isn’t exactly known for it’s spectacular fall, winter & spring weather.

To accomplish this savoring, I just took a few moments to jot down a quick list.  I even consulted Slaed (husband) and Bergen (now 3-years old), so this list reflects all of our contributions.  Also, to help with some inspiration, I referenced the The Kid’s Outdoor Adventure Book to make sure that were weren’t missing out on any quintessential summer activities.

When it was all said and done, I came up with 11 items.  I made the list last week, and what do you know, we’ve already accomplished several! To see some of those in action, visit our instagram feed. I may have had a certain trip to the coast in mind when brainstorming… Just because we did something once though, doesn’t mean we have to check it off the list and move on, and yes, just because the calendar says it’s “fall” doesn’t mean the “summer” fun stops!

Savoring the Season with an End of Summer Bucket list | Continue reading

Exploring Golden, Colorado: 8 Family Favorites

More than ever we strive to be intentional in our travel.  We want to experience all that a locale has to offer, but also make smart choices with our time.  One way we achieve this is through less driving.  No, not always what realistically happens (recent WA adventure), but always something we consider and work on.

Take our trip to Golden, Colorado last month.  We’re proud to say that we visited Golden, not the “Denver area”.  We rented a house steps from downtown Golden, and planned ahead to ensure we would spend the majority of our time in the little mining town.

Why so vigilant? 

When visiting one of our old stomping grounds (this one being where Slaed grew up), activities, meet-ups, visits, and even sightseeing can get out of hand.  So we made some deliberate choices to combat our prior tendency of spending so much time in the car driving all over the area.

In exchange, I really got a feel for Golden and it’s charm, without the rush, and can share a whole list of our favorite Golden to-do’s:

1. Explore Downtown.

Exploring Golden, Colorado: 8 Family Favorites |

Continue reading

Orcas Island’s Turtleback Mountain: Thankful for the Second Chance

When planning a return trip to Orcas Island (one of Washington State’s San Juan Islands north of Seattle), Slaed and I both made short lists.  Short lists of places on the island we didn’t want to miss.  Restaurants, hikes, shops, and other destinations that we loved so much the first time or didn’t get to visit because time or closure.

Neither of those lists included a visit back to the Turtleback Mountain Preserve, located west of the main town of East Sound.  All Slaed could remember was the long uneventful climb along a gravel trail.  Yes, if we veered off, there were a few spectacular views of the water and surrounding islands, but there were other hikes, other parks that we thought were better worth our time.  We were content just visiting once.

Then I heard from one of the best local hiking experts in the state, Craig Romano.  His latest book, Day Hikes in the San Juan and Gulf Islands was just released, and he was interested in having some Pacific Northwest area bloggers review it.  Unfortunately the book wouldn’t arrive before we hit the road for Orcas, but I jumped at the chance to consult with him on his favorite picks, especially with a little hiker in tow.

His top recommendation and in his opinion the very best hike on the island? The Turtleback Mountain Preserve hike

With a little more research I realized that yes, the first bit of the hike was a boring uphill climb, there was just no way around that, but if we remained patient and put in the work, we’d be rewarded.

Orcas Island's Turtleback Mountain: Thankful for the Second Chance | Continue reading

Potty Training for Active Families: Resources to Prepare, Survive and Reinforce+Giveaway!

{Fifth and final post in a series on potty training for active families}

We’re active.  Even when we’re not traveling somewhere, we’re off exploring our local area whether that’s just getting exercise through walking, hiking, and biking, getting things done around town, rooting for our favorite home teams, or participating in community events.  We like to get out.  

Because of this lively lifestyle that we love, visions of serious potty training terrified us.  Yes, we wanted so badly to be rid of the diapers.  However, the thought of being homebound for a even a few days or a weekend was paralyzing.  We dreaded it.  Those 3-day potty boot camps (as much as we wanted to be over with quick) just wouldn’t work for us. 

So we took our time and figured out an approach that worked for us and allowed us to continue our adventurous lifestyle with just a few changes.

For this last post in the series, I’m sharing resources galore, plus I’m giving away one of these great resources, so look for that at the end of the post!  From books, to games, to informative posts from my fellow outdoor and traveling bloggers, I hope to equip families with plenty information prepare, survive, and reinforce their potty training efforts.

Potty Training for Active Families: Resources to Prepare, Survive and Reinforce | Continue reading

Holiday Reset: Golden, CO’s Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Holidays are filled with fun and excitement.  They can also be overwhelming.  At least for me.  Even the ones that are all about celebrating–no crazy obligations, no gifts to buy, no ceremonies to attend, just a lot of gathering with family and friends.  It was a 4th of July frenzy for me this year.  By late morning on the the 5th of July, I was cooked, and wait, we were actually on vacation! Yes as the cliche goes, I needed a vacation from my vacation.

Lucky for me, a quick respite in the mountains was just a short drive away.  I located a state park, and we were off headed for not only a quiet hike (yes, you can have those with a toddler), but a peaceful mini road trip through a canyon inviting us to take in some of the Colorado culture as we passed ranches, trailheads, and distant peaks.

Unfortunately when we arrived at Golden Gate Canyon Park (about 30 minutes from downtown Golden), we knew we didn’t have a whole lot of time. It was already later in the morning, and we needed to get back for Bergen’s nap, and more fun that evening.  We asked the ranger at the window for a short, but sweet hike recommendation, and she was more than happy to steer us in the right direction.

Holiday Reset: Golden, CO’s Golden Gate Canyon State Park| Continue reading