Expectations can really play a powerful role in your end feelings and immediate impressions of an outing or adventure.
Some background: After running the Seattle half marathon last November, I got into a running rut, which really means for whatever reason after the big event, I stopped running. Sure I walked, chased after Bergen, went on an occasional hike, but I wasn’t taking any time to really exert myself in a run even though it takes little to no planning at all.
A couple of months ago, I changed that by setting a goal and signing up for a race. Instead of the usual road race, I opted for something new, something I’ve thought about doing in the past, but never worked hard enough to achieve. I decided to give trail running a try, and what better way get started than to commit yourself to a half marathon trail run?
I’ve diligently (mostly) followed my usual half marathon training plan, except with the change of trying to add more trails than sidewalks, which is tricky being a city dweller, but not so tricky considering we live in Seattle with it’s multitude of parks and easy accessibility to mountains. I run on the trails in the arboretum and Seward Park, but up until last weekend, I hadn’t attempted, in my mind, a true trail run.
In order to make this first run happen, I needed to make it a family affair. I would run, and Slaed would hike with Bergen in the backpack carrier. I scoured my hiking books for the perfect spot. It needed to be within 30-45 minutes driving distance, new to us, good for kids, and EASY.
I found the Twin Falls trail in Olallie State Park to fit all of our requirements.
- At about 35 miles East of Seattle it was an easy drive down I-90. Bergen indeed got a little impatient, but we just kept telling him that we were headed to an amazing state park with a waterfall and he would soon be outside free to roam and wander.
- It’s funny that given the proximity and circumstances of the trail and scenery that we’d never visited Olallie State Park or Twin Falls. When we arrived and saw how many cars were lining the parking lot, we were even more surprised.
- Relatively low mileage to the main attraction, some good stretches of flat terrain, and the overall excitement of viewing a gushing waterfall (from a nice, safe bridge with solid railings) make this a great spot for kids. There are also benches along way for breaks, and at the beginning or on the way back, there are great spots to stop along the river to watch the water roll by & throw rocks.
- Remember that bit above about expectations? Well, all the books & websites said this hike was going to be EASY. Apparently when you go out for your first true trail run in a long time, it’s just going to be really tough no matter what. Hiking is also a little tougher when you have a toddler on your back in a backpack carrier. I guess when we saw that the hike was rated as EASY, we were thinking it would be “a walk in the park”. We also didn’t just hike/run to the waterfall and go back. I continued my run for a total of about 6 miles round trip while Slaed & Bergen hiked about 4 miles.
Our expectations of what the hike and run would be like may have been different from the reality, but we’re so happy to have discovered this spot for ourselves. I just had to change up my strategy a bit. I took some walk breaks, especially after some tough switchbacks, and also took some breaks just to enjoy the scenery instead of trying to plow through without stopping. I’m new at this, maybe that’s what your supposed to do?
More great Washington State Parks:
- Cape Disappointment State Park
- Wallace Falls State Park
- Fort Worden State Park
- Peshastin Pinnacles State Park
- Moran State Park
- Obstruction Pass State Park
This post is part of Photo Friday at DeliciousBaby.com.