Cape Disappointment, Fort Steven’s, Peter Iredale Shipwreck, Seaside.

I’ve never been here and it has been a top spot to go to for the longest time. I would’ve loved to of been here on a dark, wet stormy night as I have seen photos of the waves coming in crashing providing the most breath taking views with Cape Disappointment light house in the background. Even still we were greeted with amazing views and breathtaking moments that we’ll never forget.

Took us about two and a half hours to drive down. We came down as a family. Kids were excited to explore a new place as were we. Cape Disappointment is a State Park. So you will need at the least a Discovery Pass or pay the daily fee of $10 I believe. I haven’t purchased a day use pass in forever. Since Andy fishes he generally buys the DP along with his fishing license and the parking pass is all the same window hanger.

Anyways, our first stop as we arrived at the park was Waikiki Beach. Short walk from the parking area. Plenty of places to park. Restrooms near by. Clean and provided a place to wash and even offered sanitizer. The walk to the beach started as a paved walk way that turned into a boardwalk and boy was it breath taking come the end of that boardwalk. Had the sandiest beach. The most amazing views. We were right under Cape Disappointment Light House. Which rested atop of the coolest cliff maybe 300 feet above us. We were fortunate that the tide was one of the lowest for Washington that day. There was a sea cave in the cliff that the lighthouse rested on. We were able to explore some of it by walking in, but the water did get deeper and it was DARK. Now if one were to have a kayak and a flash light, I bet it would be pretty awesome in there.

We walked about here a bit, there were a few other families gathered on the beach, but it was definitely not at all over crowded at all. The other side of the beach there were rocks that were the start of the long jetty. Which made for fun for the girls as they looked in all the tide pools looking for creatures and life. We were able to find some things, like shrimp, small fish, crap and star fish. After exploring the rocks here we decided we wanted to go check out a different spot at the park. We ended up jumping in the car and heading to another area. We went up towards the top of the cliff, in hopes that we would get a view of Dead Mans Cove, but not this time. That part of the park was closed. So it gives us a reason to come back someday in hopes of seeing that iconic view.

Instead we were able to view other areas and get a cool history lesson. There was an old battery there from world war II. It was even open so we were able to explore all the buildings hidden in the hill side and see where ammunition was kept and how the area was one of the three points that kept watch over the Columbia River back in the 40’s. Was definitely an interesting space and cool to know what it was there for. We also got an up close view of the light house. But do to the on going pandemic it was closed to people being able to go inside and viewing it. This lighthouse has been decommissioned and it no longer in service.

After our hike up and around the battery and light house we went to one other part of the beach at another location of the park. Was a bit of a walk to this particular spot. Parked the car and walked maybe a half mile maybe even three quarters of a mile to the end of the road which was the jetty. The road then turned into sand. Once we made it through the dunes at the end we were greeted by the biggest and longest beach. Beach for as long as the eye could see. In the distance, another lighthouse. This was the North Head Lighthouse. This one is in service still. Also part of the Cape Disappointment State Park area. We just didn’t explore this one up close like we did the other. Gives us something else to do upon our return to the park one day. I highly recommend checking this park out. Seems like there is something here for everyone. The beaches are plentiful. Just the same about the hiking. There is camping, and it seemed there were even yurts and cabins to be rented. We want to go back and camp so we have more time to check out all the areas we weren’t able to this time.

After we were done exploring what we did at Cape Disappointment we decided to head to Fort Stevens State Park in Oregon. Was maybe a forty minute drive. Got to go over the iconic Astoria Bridge. Over two miles long taking over five minutes to cross. One day I will play tourist in Astoria. For some reason I have always been drawn to that town just have never stayed there.

By the time we got to Fort Stevens the amount of people that were participating in hanging out at the beach was much greater than they were in Washington. We went to a particular spot on the beach I wanted to see. I wanted to see the ship wreck of Peter Iredale. Was a sailboat that had run ashore on October 25th, 1906. The ship was carrying ballast, a crew of twenty-seven and two stowaways. They were making there way to Portland from Salina Cruz, Mexico. There trip got cut short when they got caught in rough seas after spotting the Tillamook Light House off the coast of Oregon. They tried altering their course to go further out to sea before making the turn for the Columbia River but the fog and rough seas had other plans. The ship ran ashore and there were no deaths in the accident. Was going to be the plan to try and recover the ship and pull it back out to sea, but the weather was never favorable for that to happen. The salvage rights to the ship were sold in 1917, but even then nothing was done with the ship and to the day the bow and some of the hull ribs remain. Was a cool sight to see. Happy I was able to see it and my kids also enjoyed seeing it.

We didn’t spend much time other than checking out the wreckage on this beach as it was PACKED. And it didn’t seem like there was much to see or do outside of the wreckage besides play in the water or sand. So we decided to leave the park. It did seem like a nice park. There was camping going on, place was definitely busy. We decided to head down to Seaside. Which was just as busy. Checked out the beach. Was able to catch a quick glimpse of the Tilamook Lighthouse which is no longer in service either. It has now been deemed a wildlife refuge. Looking up photos of all the animals and sea life that inhabit the island are pretty amazing. I even took some time to look up a few videos on You Tube of the lighthouse and there was one of one of the care takers. Hearing his stories were pretty awesome. Worth looking into if you’re into lighthouse history.

We spent just a little time here at the beach. By this time it was getting late and we still had a three hour drive back home. We checked out some shops. Kids picked out some little trinkets as we always do on our trips. Plus its always fun and a nice gesture to help small businesses.

Silver Falls Loop

Just outside of Mount Rainier lays the most amazing short hike. Kids can even have fun on this one. Just be sure to hold onto the littles hands when you get close to the falls. The water is deep and moving fast. Least this time of year. The views are breathtaking. I think this hike has now made my top ten most favorite that I have done around Mount Rainier.

Its approximately four and a half miles if you do the loop. And I suggest you park near the visitor center and follow the river to the right, rather than going over the river and getting the trail. But depending on if you want to go up on your hike or go down would determine which way you would start the loop. Turning before the river and hiking counter clockwise you would do the hike mostly hiking down (easier for kids). Go over the river and turn doing the hike clockwise you would be doing a good majority of the hike going up. And it is UP. We parked at the visitor center and hiked counter clock wise.

Again we had our girls with us. Well two of them anyways. The other was hanging out with Grandma. The hike was well marked. Lots to see. The hot springs were fun. They were actually hot. And not super hot, but maybe tap water all the way up hot. Our youngest thought the hot water out of the earth was cool. Plenty of mushrooms and fungus to see. Lots of little creeks and bridges to go over. The Ohanapeacosh River was in view almost the entire view of the hike up to the falls.

The river was a bright turquoise. Was absolutely breath taking. The water was so clear. It was extremely tranquil to look at the water through the trees. Continuing our walk the sound of water was getting louder. How we knew we were closure to the falls. We went around a bend in the trail and were met with a clear view of the falls. Maybe 20 feet tall. The water rushed over the edge and was met at a tight bottle neck of a canyon. At which you cross over a wooden foot bridge. Looking down the water was so deep and SO blue. I didn’t want to leave. The colors were amazing. The contrast of the blue off the moss on the rocks was just breathtaking. Stopped here on the trail for a snack and to take in the sights. Seen a few other groups pass through. But overall it wasn’t a busy day on the trail.

Continuing on we stopped one more time at another view spot of the falls before returning to the forest where we eventually lost the view of the river. The hike got to some pretty thick forest. Gets a tad cliffy in spots. Also some marshy areas where you can see some skunk cabbage that has already bloomed for the year. We were coming up on another hiker who was nice enough to point out an owl perched out on a branch in the distance. So glad I had my long lens for the camera. Was able to snap a few awesome shots of him.

Just after we saw the owl our walk started to gradually go down in elevation. Watch your footing. Lots of rocks poking up through the dirt and roots shooting across the trail. I advise having trekking poles. I managed to trip a few times. Thankfully just small stumbles. Wasn’t after long we had made it back to being able to see the river knowing our walk was almost over when the bridge came into view at the camp ground.

Looks as if the Ohanapeacosh campground would be a great place to camp. But unfortunately camping wasn’t open do to the pandemic. Aside from the Silver Falls loop there was plenty of hiking options. The Pacific Crest Trail wasn’t far. Indian Bar also not far. Grove of the Patriarchs was also not far, another amazing trail for the kids I might add. The visitor center I believe on an ordinary day had a lot to offer with a ranger to educate. But again with the pandemic it wasn’t open when we visited. Planning on returning when the falls are able to slow a bit so the view gets to change some and maybe by then things will be more open and we can see the visitor center and maybe camp.

A little update

I know its been a minute since I have posted an updated blog post. I honestly really struggle with keeping this updated. I was having a hard time last year keeping it up to date and now it seems life has been turned upside down. Looking back my last post was made in September. When life was seemingly normal. We as a nation didn’t know what was on the horizon. What changes we would face as people, communities and just our day to day lives.

Looking back to September and all the wonderful trips that my husband and I had last summer. The last few that we took for the year. That I of course didn’t get around to posting. You know life… It tends to get in the way and we put things on the back burner. Had I known of the new reality of the life we were about to live. Perhaps I would’ve done a better job of taking advantage of being able to freely do the things I liked the most then.

I’m writing this on May 11th. Yikes I whole whopping nine months has went by. An eternity so to speak. A monumental of changes. Not only in my life, but as you know our world. The way we’re living our day to day lives. It’s all different, everything has changed. And while I look back on those last few blog posts I feel a sense of regret that there isn’t more that I didn’t update you all on. That there wasn’t more trips that we were able to sneak in. Unfortunately there were only a couple. I really wish I had packed last year a little fuller because sadly this year has been turned upside down.

As you know, we’re dealing with a global pandemic known as covid-19. Here in Washington State it has been less than pleasant. Technically our lock down here started March 16th. Andy and I pulled the girls out of school the 12th and we’ve pretty much been stuck at home. We’ve been doing the whole online and distant learning. That has been rough. To say the least. The amount of people that have been online slowing it down has been hard. Communicating with teachers back and fourth has been hard considering we have three kids in school. They’re really wanting the kids each to be online at the least three hours a day each. HAH! Yup, until the school is footing my internet bill that isn’t happening.

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Aside from the schooling, I have been deemed a nonessential worker. So I haven’t been working. My photography business has been pushed to the back burner to comply with the government’s orders on social distancing. Although I have snuck in a few photo sessions of moments that could not wait or times that couldn’t be replaced. Have done a couple maternity sessions and elopements. So many of my weddings this year have now been pushed out to next year. And this was suppose to be my last year shooting weddings. Thinking maybe it’s a sign that I not stop?

Andy is still doing well in his industry. Houses are still flying off the market. People aren’t slowing down on buying and selling that’s for sure. Even while all this is going on people are still making moves. Has been a constant go, go, go with the housing market. While I am so thankful one of us is still working. I couldn’t imagine us not working and being able to make ends meet.

Since my last post as I mentioned things have changed a lot. Just the influx of work for both Andy and I. Me more so, before this covid stuff happened. I was working up a pretty busy schedule for this year. But I will say, on the downlow. The break I have has been nice. It’s been nice to not constantly be working and starring at a computer all the time. I sometimes find myself picking up the laptop after a couple weeks and thinking about how to use it. Haha. Andy picked me up a new one about a month, month and a half ago. So it being still new is my excuse there. Admittingly, yes the break has been great. Has just been a hustle of Andy working verse both of us. Has been a nice change of pace.

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Lets see, September was along time ago. We have done a few small hikes and outings in the area before all this happened. We had visited Rainier a few more times before the first fall snow. We hiked our local favorite spot Michelle Falls in Eatonville a few times. Was able to catch it when it was super frozen out. Made for huge icicles. Then another time after a hard rain which flooded the falls. That was an experience. Not that I have ever been in a hurricane, but that I feel could’ve been a great comparison.

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December… That was when the first real reports of covid. Not in the U.S. but in China. Cheyenne (my daughter) was due to go on a trip to Japan with some classmates that we were planning. So I had been watching the news and happenings that way a little more than I would normally and it was actually on her birthday that it was reported on American news that it could potentially become a widespread problem. If only our government would’ve taken preventative measures then. Having known about it then and not… really makes one think. Ugh. Not the place for this conversation as it really irks me.

January was a busy month. Andy had three clients he was working with getting them settled into new homes. He was busy, I was working, but its winter so the flow of people wanting to shoot after the holidays in the nasty weather was pretty slim at this time. Kids were in school, all was well. Wasn’t until the end of the month that finally the virus made it to the United States. And from there it was a daily talking point on the news.

February we bought a new car. Was a breath of fresh air. Getting a new car, a fresh start. Something that was ridden with problems and issues. An amazing moment for sure. Something that is large enough to hold us all and then some. While it’s a little more on the luxurious side and doesn’t fit the bill for our rugged outdoor lifestyle, we at least still have our truck and we are thinking about getting a mountain goer. We ended up with a Lincoln Mkt. Full of amazing bells and whistles. Its nice for Andy and carting clients around while showing houses. And that’s really what he was trying to get.

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March started out hard. Andy lost his grandma. Not 100% sure the reasoning or cause, as it wasn’t looked into. Was definitely a hard moment for the family. Then it was about a weekish, two weeks later that we got our shelter in place order. At first him and I both were deemed nonessential for working. But thankfully that got changed in Olympia and he was allowed to work. Which is good too, because he has steadily been busy. I’m so over the moon grateful for that.

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April was a bit of a bummer. Andy and I celebrate our wedding anniversary on the second and Madison’s birthday is the eighth. We had to stay home for both. We had made plans for both occasions, but ended up cancelling them. For our anniversary we ended up just staying home. Was honestly just another day and for Madison’s birthday I ended up reaching out to the community to try and come together and recognize her. And boy did they really come through. She got so many letters and gifts from people all over the states. It was really a great moment seeing so many people send things to her to make her feel special for her day. Was a great moment. And honestly a great teaching moment, not only for her, but all the kids that ended up sending her things too.

May… Its now almost 50 days into this stay in place order. My mental health has fully went to hell. Seriously I was holding it together. Not like I turned into being into drinking or drugs bad. But I was having a hard time dealing with being home around the clock, dealing with the kids schooling stuff. Not getting out. Not being able to do all the things we normally did. Our lives were literally turned upside down. Watching all the news reports. Reading all the contradictive news reports from this doctor, that scientist… It was becoming overwhelming and I said fuck it. Asked Andy if we could go for a ride. Well we spent twelve hours in the car. We went to Eastern Washington and all the way down to Oregon. We social distanced. We were in the car almost the whole time. Stopped at a few view points on the side of the road, stopped at truck stops for bathroom breaks. We wore masks when we stopped, made sure we washed our hands. We even brought our own food from home. So not like we stopped for anything extra in that sense. Then the new car gets great gas mileage, we only got gas once. Getting out was refreshing. Seeing different scenery, oh my god. It was needed. It helped so much. Plus we referred to it as a field trip. HAHA. Helped justify it. I mean the conversation with the kids in the car for twelve hours was a pretty in depth discussion about Washington. We talked about trees, wildfires, weather, land formations, dams, energy, farming. Seriously was actually an almost hands on experience and visual to go along with the conversation.

Okay, I’m spoiled and a tad selfish now. I honestly don’t know what sparked the idea. I think he had been thinking about it for awhile and just didn’t say anything to me. I’m not sure. About two weeks ago, at home of all places, Andy just belts out “Do you wanna get beach front property?” Um… Where did that come from. We started talking about it and after looking into it further it seemed like it could be a reality more than I realized. Instantly a new board on pinterest. A new interest a new hobby… and a new search with him on the MLS sending me potential properties. Well… He sent me some. Eight as a matter of fact. We went the next day to check them out. We really liked three of them. The kids loved two of them. They really liked how close to the beach we were. How we could see it. They were all so excited. And well. No trip the beach is complete without putting your feet into the ocean. And that’s where the selfishness came in. We knew of the closures. And the SIP order. But it was bustling with people. So we did it. We let the kids play on the beach. The played in the water, they played in the sand. We searched the sand for treasures from the ocean. We had a great time. The entire ride home we talked about living at the beach part time.

We did it again. We went to the beach. This time after having been there and seeing just how “closed” it wasn’t we planned for a day at the ocean. Trying out the idea of beach life all the time. And again the kids loved it. Andy and I love it. We talked about it all day. And we have been talking about it ever sense he brought it up that day. So we have decided that we’re going to invest in a small lot out at the ocean. Not sure yet what we’re going to do as far as a house. But its our plan. And as a family we’re all so excited to jump in and do it. So stay tuned for that fun part of our life.

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Yesterday was mothers day. The kids and Andy did such a great job at making it a great day for me. I woke up to breakfast in bed. They showered me in gifts and flowers. They all made me something. Mostly from treasures they found at the beach. So that was pretty awesome. We went for another ride… I know. Like I mentioned selfish. But we’re not getting out and mingling. We’re not even hiking. A lot of these trips minus the ocean have been A – B rides. Get to point A and return… Just nice to get out and see a change of scenery. Anyways, yesterday Andy drove us down to Mount Saint Helens. Boy was that a change of pace. Been years since we had been down there. Nothing was open of course. All the visitor centers were closed. But the girls enjoyed the scenery and the views. They loved looking at the noble trees. Haha. They said looking at them, they looked like pixeled trees on their video games. Was pretty funny.

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So while we are still technically in this quarantine, we’re hanging in there and trying to do things to social distance and not completely lose our minds as I was. I just couldn’t stay home like we were. It has been hard dealing with this. I knew it would be hard, just didn’t realize that it was going to be this hard. Anyways, I will include some photos of our quarantining. Hope this blog post finds you in good health.

Skyline Loop Hike

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Decided to hit up the Skyline Loop trail up at Paradise. Has been a trail we have wanted to check out for sometime now. We went up just at sunrise on a Wednesday morning. Our goal was to beat the crowds and the heat. Was suppose to hit 90* this day. And nobody likes hiking in the dead of the day in the heat.

We got on the trail at about 6am. We were all alone. Nobody around. Just what I wanted. The weather was cool, kind of crisp. A taste of fall was in the air. The leaves on the plants dewy from the fog of the night before. The hike is pretty easy. We started out of Paradise the right side of the loop trail, I guess you could also consider it the middle. There are so many trails up there it can get confusing if you aren’t up there hiking all the time or if you have difficulty with mapping.

Anyways, we started our way up. Past Mertle Falls creek. The trail is still paved up to this point. After the bridge it turns to dirt and you start the gradual climb. After the log bridge if you are there early enough you are greeted with MANY marmots. Hundreds of them. Some are friendly, some are more standoffish. Some like to talk. (whistle) My husband had fun whistling back and fourth with them. Sure are fun creatures to watch. They love to forage the flowery fields looking for seeds and flowers. They especially seem to love eating the Indian Paint Brush flowers.

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Continuing onward and upward. We continued on and the trail turned into a series of switchbacks. Maybe 4-6. Not to many. Wasn’t too difficult. By the time we made it to the top we could see as far as the eye could see. Was a real treat, we were able to see Mt. Adams, Mt. Saint Helen’s and Mt. Hood. The views were never ending. Still a little ways to go up, we continued on. Here the trail got a little harder to follow. We had to do some scrambling up a rock field to get back on track with the trail. At this point the views of Mount Rainier were absolutely breath taking. It was HUGE. I have never seen the mountain out so close and clear. Was absolutely a memorable hike to say the least.

We got to Panorama Point, still had the mountain to ourselves. And decided to take a water break. Took our packs off and found a rock to rest on. Our packs didn’t hit the ground and we were greeted with the nicest little chipmunk. She seemed hungry, looking for an easy handout. But we had no food, not that we would had given her any anyways. But she was determined to check all of us out to see if we had anything yummy to offer. She especially took to Madison. I think because she had food on the ride up to the mountain and may of still smelled of something. The little creature sure climbed all over her and her things. Was the cutest thing.

After our break and mingling with our new mountain friend we decided to start our decent back down to the truck. From the point we took our break we could see the lodge at Paradise and Andy claimed he could see the truck. Unfortunately I’m not lucky enough to have such great eyesight. But we started our hike back down. We weren’t back on the trail for ten minutes and Madison pointed out a mountain goat. She said, she thought it was a white horse at first and had to remember where we were and realized what she was seeing. The girls had never seen a goat in the wild up to this point. And we as a whole have never seen one on this side of the mountain before. So that was a treat.

As we continued down that is when the large amounts of people started showing up. And I mean a lot. I told Andy so many times on our decent that I was so happy that we had started our hike so early. I was so happy to have the mountain to ourselves. Made it that much more fun. Haha, I have issues sharing sometimes. We probably past 50 groups as we were coming down. They all made remarks like, “You got an early start” or “Did you make it to the top already?” Sure did… We know to come early if we want a decent parking spot and if we want some peace.

Was a wonderful hike. Plan on doing it again in the future. We had two of our daughters with us. Was a pretty easy hike. Nothing too difficult. Yes its an incline, but the views are definitely worth it. The scramble through the rocks was the only questionable spot, kids didn’t complain and seemed to enjoy themselves. They loved all the animals. Mostly the friendly chipmunk and seeing the goat who was pretty close but really didn’t seem to mind us being there.

Mother Mountain Loop Hike

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I wonder sometimes that maybe I like the idea of being a hiker more, rather than actually being one… Its incredibly hard b work. This last hike proved all that and more. I have been eyeballing this route for awhile and when our Vegas trip fell through Andy suggested we take two of those days and do our first official backpacking trip on this route. We looked at it as a great trial on our equipment and to get a further feel to hiking a more difficult grueling hike.

 

Its Mount Rainier and it seems that nobody can get distance correct in this day and age at this park. Gaia app said 15.4 miles before we went, but clocked just over 20 on the app, my phone clocked us at 24 (gps) and our fitbits got us at just over 30 miles. Then the signage on the trail is all over the place, so don’t rely on that for proper mileage either. We hiked somewhere between 20/30 miles in two days. With a low elevation of 3200 feet and a high elevation of 6400 feet.

 

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We arrived at the Carbon River ranger station to get our back country camping permit. We were there bright and early right as they opened at 7:30am. Then started our ride up the very bumpy dirt road to the lake. 11 miles of pure bumpy hell to be precise.

We started our hike at Mowich Lake on the Wonderland Trail towards Ipsut Pass. The trail is pretty easy to the pass, dirt, some stairs and roots. The signs claim it’s a mile away from the lake, but once at the top of the pass the sign says 1.5 miles to Mowich. Its these small mis-readings all over the mountain that have you questioning distance. Anyways, heading down Ipsut. We were wondering if it was going to end… You go down awhile. The trail is narrow, large rocks and sometimes loose rock and gravel are present with a lot of over growth. Watch your footing. Be sure to stop and look back up once and awhile. The pass is no joke. Especially to the knees. We went in August so there were still tons of wild flowers. LOTS of butterflies. I mean hundreds. You keep climbing your way down and you start to get into more forest. The canopy gets a lot thicker. More streams and creeks. Even some waterfalls. There are a few bridges, one was kind of questionable. Was a large log that seemed to have weathered over time and was starting to break in the middle. We opted to ford the creek rather than cross the log.

 

After we finally made it to somewhat more level ground which came at the Carbon River. The Wonderland Trail had been washed out at this portion and a detour has you crossing the river to the other side. You go across on another log with a handrail. It’s a bit intimidating as the water is rushing below maybe a foot or two and you hear the large boulders hidden by the water rolling along with the water. Andy went first. No fear that guy. Then it was my turn. Watching my feet on the log (which is sturdy) and the water rushing below made me a little dizzy. But I did it. Thankfully… We continued on. Crossing the dried up parts of the river bed. Lots of old washed out log bridges from years past. Make it across and a sign that read we had two miles to go until camp. We planned to stay at the Carbon River Campground. By this time our backs and feet, as well as our knees were spent. Ipsut really took a toll on our bodies. But we kept trekking. The distance from the river to coming up on it again at the Suspension bridge over the Carbon didn’t take too long. Thankfully the trail was pretty flat and dirt covered for the detour. The bridge is 210 feet above the river, again a little intimidating. Especially when you get to the part where the water is rushing and those boulders are crashing below. While crossing be sure to look up river. You can see the carbon glacier. Its absolutely amazing.

 

I did it. Haha. And we have made it to camp. Time to get this pack off, make camp, water, dinner and try and relax. Relax… right our first time really using any of our gear this ought to be interesting. Least that’s what I was thinking.

Got to the sites we picked #3. Nobody had it claimed so it worked. It was pretty large. Offered two spots that would’ve held a tent. Ours being small we took the higher more secluded option. Took like 5 minutes to get the tent up. We needed more water. I packed 2 liters and a 16oz while Andy only had a liter and a 16oz. That was all pretty consumed by this point. We gathered all our smelly stuff and food and was sure to hang it up on a bear hook before heading to get water. This was our first time purifying water. Thankfully there was a great creek/waterfall at our campsite that provided clear and cold water. After purifying the water and tasting it… it honestly tasted like hose water. Oh well. It was wet and cold. Plus I had electrolyte tablets and powder I added to mine. So it took that taste away, so glad I got those.

 

Cooking went well. We have a little camp stove, light weight that we use to boil water for some freeze dried mountain house food. We had chicken teriyaki, an apple, meat stick and cliff bar. Mmm hiking food…

After getting water and eating some food. We seek the wonderful hidden gem in the woods. The potty… compositing toilets are at all the back country campsites in the park. So that’s convenient. Especially since the sites are all relatively close together, usually just miles apart. Hit the head, then we decide its bedtime. We both have thin blow up mattresses. Small and compact, very lightweight. They worked out. Then we have 30* sleeping bags. Also lightweight and compact. Which helped with keeping our bag at a lower weight. Anyways. I was worried I would get terrible sleep. But I actually slept amazing. I think it was because I was just so burnt out from the hike that exhaustion just got to me. And the 20mg of melatonin I took, just to help me get some decent sleep for the next day.

 

Woke up to the morning light as we slept with the doors of the tent open (screens were shut) was pretty warm that night. Wasn’t cold. My sleeping bag was perfect. Got up, hit the potty, made breakfast and tore down camp and got water again. I knew today was going to be hard as our route back was a higher elevation than what we came down the day before. But I wasn’t 100% sure just what I was getting myself into.

We leave our camp at the Carbon and immediately we start our climb. A climb that lasts literally all fricken day. Switch backs galore. We took a break, a potty stop at Cataract Campground. Nice place to stop, great sites. Lots of pika here. After our break we continued on. We got to Mist Park. Absolutely beautiful. At this point we were maybe 2500 up from where we started our day. Had a snack, refreshed our water, dunked our bluffs in the water to cool ourselves down as it was getting warm. The views were getting more open. The sun was out a lot more and we finally came out of the canopy. There were lots of meadows and wildflowers here. Beautiful streams and waterfalls. It was amazing. Also we got a nice treat to some huckleberries. Mmm. So good. I could’ve ate way more than I did. While we were picking and snacking along the way we seen a mountain goat. That was pretty cool. He just did his thing while we did ours.

After this… is when the trail got a bit dicey. Least to me. We got to a point where you kind of lose the trail and the direction to go. We were thankful for GPS. The hills side we climbed was lose flat (almost flagstone type rock) palm size. It would slip as you would step on it, highly recommending using trekking poles. I was super uneasy because it was a bit cliffy and the grade was steep. That section was short lived. Got back to dirt. My kind of trail… But not for long as it would turn back into the flat palm sized rock once again. Thankfully not as steep and not right on the edge of a cliff. So if I were to fall. It wouldn’t of been so bad. Thankfully I didn’t and carried on ok. We were getting closer to the high point here. Had to cross a couple snow fields. That was super refreshing to stop, touch and maybe lay in.

 

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We were getting tired. Having climbed all day our shoulders from the packs and our knees were really feeling it once again. We seemed to be taking more frequent breaks and needing to give the back and knees some time for breaking. But we continued on. Spray Park was just a little distance away. And I think out of this entire journey this was my favorite. The flowers were still out in abundance, the mountain was out in all its glory. It was a beautiful day. The scenery was spot on. But here we were at the top, and what goes up, must come down. It was 3 miles of going down. 3 miles of pounding feet and grueling pain to my knees. My pack started to feel more like 50lbs rather than 25. It was a long 3 miles back to the lake. We stopped so many times. I just dropped my pack each time. And each time it got heavier to put on. And let me tell ya, leaving camp up to Spray Park, even beyond that almost to the lake and back to the truck, this hike didn’t lack stairs. And you know you’re up in the woods. So, not your average well thought out stairs. I’m talking all different heights, made from rock, wood, log, root… so many damn stairs. My knees were dead. Stepping down was agonizing. By the time we had got through Spray Park (we saw a bear here too by the way, but being so tired and burnt Yogi didn’t catch too much of my attention) I was done and over it. I bit off a wee bit more than I could physically handle with this one in 2 days.

So. Funny story we’re hiking down hoping the lake is close, asking other hikers in passing how far until the lake, how long until the lake… The answers varied oh maybe a 1.5 miles. Oh about 3 miles… uhg… never a straight answer. We hiked and hiked and hiked for what seemed to be at the least 2 miles. We get to a sign and it said 2 miles until Mowich lake. I literally cried. My eyes welled up and a tear escaped my eye. I was seriously 100% done with this hike. My knees and shoulders have NEVER felt such pain. Let’s just say that 2 miles took forever. I was so slow to finish this hike because of the pain.

 

Thankfully the trail was mostly dirt at this point, but all down hill. Seeing I was over the rock and snow fields we had crossed earlier in the day that was almost, too a cry fest. Haha. But I kept trekking. Got to another sign that said we were .3 away. Finally we were almost there. Andy decided to go ahead of me to get his pack to the truck and he said he’d come back for mine as I was actually starting to feel sick to my stomach. Not sure if it was the pain, maybe lack of food, excitement of being done or all the above. But the last .3 of the hike was, you guessed it, stairs. But thankfully they were climbing up, rather than continuing down. I made it to the top. I made it past the campsites and toilets. I seen Andy coming back, he saved me from my pack and I hobbled toward the parking lot. Toward a regular seat, toward my vessel that was going to take me to hot food and my bed. Once the truck was in my line of sight, those tears overcame me again. I was so happy to see that truck.

 

There were plenty of times I wanted to quit on this hike. There were plenty of times I was pissed off on this hike. Because yes, to date this has been my hardest hike. I’ve never pushed myself to cover that kind of ground and elevation in that time frame. In the end, and writing this today I’m so proud of myself, because I can write this as an accomplishment, something I did… rather than something I tried to do. Even though trying it and maybe not accomplishing it would’ve been a drive to complete it in the future. I feel accomplished knowing that a year ago it would’ve been just that. An attempt. I’ve come so far. I have faught so hard. While it was hard, I did it. And I would do it again.

 

This hike was a test of our equipment. Yes new packs are a must for both of us as the ones we have don’t ride on our bodies properly. Have learned since, that the weight should be on our hips and not on our shoulders. Have learned that eating more is needed since you burn off so much and at a much faster rate than regular exercise. I also learned a great deal about my physical capabilities. And I said to Andy, maybe we aren’t Wonderland Trail material. But perhaps we are, with the proper equipment and less than 15 miles a day. Then I feel we can. And we will… A year from now I plan to be writing on this blog sharing with all of you our experience out there on the mountain again. We can. And we will. ♡

 

In ending, our fitbits said we had a two day mileage of 30 + miles, over 60k steps, 700 floors and 9k calories burnt. While I did see kids on this hike. I’m not sure I would recommend it. Especially for those dicey areas of Mist Park and some of the river crossings can be questionable. If you’re bringing your kids make sure they are we versed in the outdoors. No dogs are allowed in this part of the park and remember your back country camping permit and bug spray. While we really were only bothered by bugs at Spray Park I’m sure they can be a nuisance in other places or times of day.
Enjoy your hike, be safe. And remember to hike your own hike! ♡