In the middle of a highly comfortable 88 degree Washingtonian "heat wave" (seriously, the church down the street has set up a "cooling shelter"), we grabbed some friends and took ourselves to Olympic National Park for some adventuring.
Chubble, in case I haven't mentioned it, has a somewhat ambivalent relationship with her carseat. When I say this, I mean that about 50% of the time she doesn't seem to notice that she's in it and the other 50% of the time OMGOMG-YOU-ARE-TORTURING-ME-GETMEOUTGETMEOUTGETMEOUT!!!!! Olympic National Park is about a 90 minute drive away. On our way out she mostly didn't notice she was sitting in a car seat. The way back was torture. In between there was some kid whining but mostly a good hike; we went about 4 miles total and there was a LOT of whining on the last mile ("I want water, why are we still walking, I'm tiiiiiired"). I guess the kids are out of practice.
The camera ran out of battery about midway through (my fault, we have a GREAT camera in terms of battery life, but I haven't charged it in a month or more). But I did get a lot of great pictures anyway!
We entered the forest and it wasn't quite instantaneous cool (in fact, it was just as warm in the forest yesterday as it was down in Gig Harbor, we found out). It was instant pretty though!
The kids really wanted this photo op:
Chubble rallied quickly once out of the car, and really enjoyed riding around in her carrier.
We packed in lunch. Water and lunch for four people = heavy! Boyness was NOT happy to take his turn carrying the backpack! Next time I'll have each kid pack their own backpack - I can carry a pack that weighs this much fairly comfortably, but not while I'm wearing the baby (it just gets to be too much weight on my shoulders, pulling in two directions like that), and it's too much weight for the kids.
There were some massive trees, and there was evidence of more massive trees in the recent past:
And they see...something...something interesting...
The river was definitely the main attraction of the day. This time of year, it's fairly fast flowing (not at peak levels but still really swift), and COLDER THAN SHIT because it's all snow melt.
Chubble REALLY liked her ride (don't worry, I didn't let her dangle like that for long, just long enough to take the photo after she fell asleep).
The kids thought these trees growing on top of this big 'ole boulder were pretty awesome, and they liked the view to the river too. They tried to get me to climb up there with them, but it's hard to do that kind of thing with the baby in a front carry. Most of the trail was quite easy and I only needed to use my hands to get around a couple of times, so it was a good trail for babywearing (not boring, but not difficult either).
Gratuitous sleeping Chubble photo!
Boyness' artistic senses were tingling for this shot. Alas, I couldn't figure out how to get it to work properly with our camera. I know what he wanted me to capture, and maybe if everyone else hadn't been running up the path I would have eventually figured it out. 4 pictures of essentially the same thing with different settings, and this not-very-spectacular photo was the best I did:
Merrily we hike along...moving up the mountain...
The kids NEEDED me to take this photo. Like, they may have exploded if I hadn't!
We like rocks! The mountain is made out of rocks! Awesome!
I think she likes her carrier:
Look, more rocks! Big ones! Girliness really wanted to explore the caves, I really didn't want her to get squished by a gigantic rock, and ~L~ helpfully reminded the children that if something is growing on it, the rangers said to try not to disturb it, and with that we left the humongous rock overhang.
We stopped on a gravelly "beach" for lunch. The kids didn't seem to want to stay in the calmer backwashing waters, until D got pulled and ~L~ had to go in after him, lest he get swept down the rapids (actually, this was really scary, and the kids finally "got" that even where the water looked relatively calm, it was moving too fast for them to wade out even a little).
The kids LOVED this area:
I mean, think about it, the day is hot, there's a cool breeze coming up from the river, there's all this cool stuff to climb on, and a big high place to drop rocks into the water from - it's like the kidtopia grotto:
About a mile, maybe a little less, down a second trail, we found this lovely stretch of beach alongside the river:
And yes, bonus, I am nursing a baby in that photo. We stopped here and played for a while before we turned around and headed back to the trailhead.
There was even a swimming spot - this drops off pretty precipitously, and was maybe 6' deep - we all went in at some point. The water was SO COLD, really we just dunked ourselves and RAN for the sunshine. It was physically painful, that's how cold it was. BittyPrincess went in naked and SCHREAAAAAAMED until she got back onto the hot rocks.
It was a lovely day to get wet and then dry ourselves on the beach.
And then the hike back and the aforementioned screaming-in-the-car episode.
By the time we got home it was after 9pm. Fran had dinner (burgers) ready. Dinner, shower, and all the kids dropped precipitously into sleep and stayed there for 11 straight hours, ready for new adventures today. Alas, they will probably just include washing the van (which got so dusty on the drive up the mountain yesterday that I could close the back hatch and get a shower of dirt) and playing in the yard.