Naches Peak Loop

Wednesday night I was looking at the weather and Thursday was going to be hot down low. It also boded to be one of the last super nice days of the year (seriously, it was 84° at home!) The kind of weather where it’s balmy, sunny and the wind just right up high. Fall colors are popping like crazy. And…the trails are open, after being shut for half the summer, due to the forest fires nearby. However, not all the fires are gone, and driving up we drove through an active burn area above us, with pretty hazy smoke.

My friend Alicia and her son joined me. Her son is nearly 3, so just at the edge of being able to hike miles. Soon, if she lets Auntie Sarah have her way……

This leads to something though: I had not had a kid free, mid-week hike in the mountains in 8 years. As the boys got on the bus for school, a thought ran through my head: 8 years. The last time I did that I was pregnant with Walker and Ford was in his first year of middle school. So I ran.

Alicia had not been up to the Tipsoo Lakes/Chinook Pass area on Hwy 410, in Mount Rainier National Park before. During the summer I was going to take her there but yeah, forest fires popped up. Upper Tipsoo was just turning into Fall colors.

At the trailhead for the loop, I decided to push for the trail. He walked a nice chunk but tired out. The steps Rainier loves on trails are hard on little legs.

But….those colors. Tell me it’s not worth it? Oh it is.

I love this side of Tahoma. After the first snows dust her. And the bugs are gone. A few blueberries were still waiting.

Dewey Lakes in the distance.

I think Alicia got the “why” I hike on this trail. If you are going to show them how amazing nature can be, going in Fall on an amazing day will convert them.

Loved showing her Dewey Lakes so far down, and telling her about the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) and of what waits over there.

The trail was busy at times. But it was mid-week and most everyone was retired and perpetually happy. You just can’t be in a bad mood around that.

Because selfies need to be done!

For once Mosquito Home was free of them as we turned onto the PCT.

Looking down the PCT.

The tarn was in the sun, unlike most of the area under Naches Peak. There was a family of nudist kids swimming in the lake once we got down there. Can’t blame them. It was nice. However….I looked at my watch and became task master to get going. A big yellow limo was going to be back soon. Oops.

Where as all I wanted to do was go off trail and set up camp for a few hours 😉

But we made it back home, to a couple of kids who might have been upset Mama went hiking without them.

Fall Hiking: Painted Rocks, Trees and The Sun

Today was an adulting day, one that I don’t like doing. Alistaire’s allergy doctor wanted to do a back panel for 8 tree nuts, to get a new base line, to compare to his blood panels. The doctor was hoping apparently that he’d have little to no reaction, and we’d move onto oral challenges. Well, no. It only takes 15 minutes for the back panel to do its thing, but that kid was miserable. Every time we sit through a panel, it takes everything in me to not get up and run out with him. The results? Yeah, no. He failed miserably. (In case you care, the big 3 patches are cashews, peanuts and pistachios).

After that, I decided he needed a “me” day, and we spent it outside, playing hooky from school.

Nothing like a morning walking to the park, having the playground to rule over (being the one big kid means the little kids fawn over you) and we found painted rocks everywhere. This one was a flower with messages of hope and love.

The weather was amazing and we hiked all over the park, along Lake Wilderness. Alistaire collected many pinecones and shedded crow feathers for his nature project.

The pinecones I realized were for him to toss to the ducks. I told him the ducks might not be his happy minions if he did that.

But they forgave him plenty fast enough it seems. Lots of tasty food to forage in the lake. The city has done a good job in dissuading people to stop feeding the ducks and geese, and the water is much cleaner.

Mount Rainier at the end of the lake. It was a gorgeous day to be outside. Balmy, breezy and sunny.

Rail to trail walking in the autumn sun.

We headed to the arboretum next to the park and went painted rock hunting. First one!

Second one!

And a third! He found 5 in total while we strolled. It made him very happy – to get to find them all by himself.

But why stop, when one can walk into town to see the alligator? 😉

Gear Review: BeFree Water Filtration System 0.6L

A long time ago, when I was first hiking, I picked up a water bottle that was a filter, out of the Campmor catalog (boy, am I dating myself….). It rode with me for years, over thousands of miles of trails. I loved it: you scooped water, or stuck it under an overspill on a creek, put the lid on and squeezed to get water. The only downside was it was relatively hard plastic. You got a heck of a work out using it. Eventually it wore out and I never replaced it, moving onto MicroPur tablets, Aquamira, and other water filters. But I won’t lie, all chemical treatments taste like city water, and make me think of chugging swimming pool water. And waiting for water on a hot day sucks.

When I had the Katadyn BeFree Water Filtration System in 0.6L show up for review, I was happy to try it out.

At 2.3 ounces, this is a lightweight water filter. And it’s flexible, so rolls up, and tucks into a backpack – even the smallest daypacks. No excuses to not bring it along.

I had Ford test it without instructions, and had him filter up water for lunch. Zero questions from him, and he had the water in a short time. The flow is very, very fast, and with it being flexible your hands don’t get tired. Clean up is easy at home. As a suggestion, dry the bag upside down, on a plastic or metal spatula handle.

Ford in action:

FTC Disclaimer: We received product for potential review. All thoughts are ours.