A whole lot of new adventure happened during our recent short visit to Long Beach along Washington State’s coast, but one of the most memorable happenings for me was just a simple, peaceful walk along the shore.
Maybe it’s this new life that’s developing and soon to be joining our family, or the fact that my little guy just turned three and will be starting preschool in just a couple of weeks, but lately I find myself reflecting on the choices we make on a daily basis. Questions that come to mind:
- Why do I feel the need to get outside so much?
- What’s calling us outside?
- What are we getting out of focusing our free time to be all about the outdoors?
- Why do we travel so often?
After just a little bit of thought, I came to a quick conclusion that I’m a little bit selfish. Many of the reasons and maybe the outcomes of getting outdoors with my son have to do with me, and he gets all the great benefits and rewards along the way.
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
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!
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.
Our wild little family is growing and things around here are about to get even more adventurous! Yes! We are expecting our second baby in December, and we couldn’t be more excited (and maybe a little terrified).
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.