Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Washington Part 3 of 3

Years ago when Justin and I first met we decided to save our money and go on a week long camping trip. We have always shared a great lover for the outdoors. After months of saving we looked on line to see where we could afford to go. We were living in Winston Salem, NC at the time and found some good flights to Seattle. We had heard the camping was great and ten years ago we took our first trip in the Washington wilderness. As luck or fate would have it we ended up in this amazing state and have continued to take a camping trip each summer.

Last summer it was hard to stay put but 7 months pregnant with twins did not allow for travels out of the bed never-mind the trails. This year offered a different challenge. Our girls love to crawl around but cannot yet walk, so camping seemed like more of challenge than a vacation. So we decided to shorten our trip from the usual week to two days and splurge on a nice hotel room almost as remote.

Washington is an amazing state. It has more ecosystems than any other state and we live within a few hours of three national parks each of which has more glaciers than any other state beside Alaska. Tonight we returned from our first trip to the North Cascades National Park. The Park is the least visited in the United States and also the most remote. There is only one road that passes through the park and it is closed from October to June because of snow. The number of grizzle bears and mountain lions makes it an unsafe place for dogs, so Vern and Scout stayed with a friend and we took Addy and Morgan to their first national park.

The edge of the park is only about an hour from Bellingham but we planned to drive Rt 20 from west to east and stay in a small town called Mamazo on the eastern and warmer side of the state. Traveling with 10 month olds has its restrictions. You drive when they are sleeping and hike when they are awake. So we got an early start and stopped at the park visitor center. There we washed bottled, changed diapers and confirmed some of the shorter and handicap (read stroller) accessible trials locations.
 Hanging at the park visitor center
Addy practicing for her leg of the trip 

Our first hike took us across a foot bridge overlooking the Skagit River. All of the river and lakes we saw on this trip were glacially feed making then a very cool color aqua green and very cold.  Here in the trails twisted around old growth cedar trees over 1000 years old. The trail of cedars was great and we picnicked in the park till the girls seemed tuckered out.

The trail of the cedars
 Big Cedar that fell in the path and was cut in half

Addy having lunch in the park 
 Miss Morgan with a fist full of cheerios
From there rt 20 twisted our into remote wilderness passed over many glacial lakes prettier then you have seen. My pictures cannot even do this place justice; you must come see it with your own eyes. We passed trail head after trail head and I was salivating to hit the path. But I tried to steer my eagerness towards thoughts of our family hiking these trails together a few years down the line. 
 The glacial fed Lake Diablo
 Addy slept through Lake Ross but Morgan seemed to like it

No sooner did the park end then we arrived at the awesome Freestone Inn. It is in the middle on nowhere, no cell service, tons of hiking, a lake, pool, and a great deck we can hang out on when the kids go to bed, you can be sure we will return.  
The next day we drove 13 miles on a dirt road to Harts pass. It is the highest point you can drive to in Washington at over 7000 feet. From there you can see dozens of glaciers and peaks both in the US and Canada. It just might be the prettiest place I have ever been. From the top we got onto the Pacific Crest trail (the national trail that goes from Mexico to Canada- we were 31 miles from the Canadian border) and hiked. I wanted to walk for days losing touch with everything but nature. Morgan and Addy were less eager to be through hikers, so I will save that dream for another time. But it was amazing to show them such sights. I hope we can return to hike a larger portion or the Pacific Crest Trail in the future but for now, I think we did pretty good with 10month old twins.

Morgan and Daddy at the top of the world

Addy is a  great hiking partner- although she suggested I sing to her the whole way, and I did
Morgan would not stop looking around, she loved it - or so I think 

 Mom and girls 

Our final stop was Rainey Lake. It has an amazing water fall and glacial aqua water. Words and pictures cannot do justice to the many sights we saw. It was a great trip and really cool that we did not have to travel over three hours away. Yes, you should come visit, we will be happy to show you around the great state of Washington.  
The girls chatting over lunch at the lake  
Rainey Lake

Monday, July 19, 2010

Washington Part 2 of 3

Washington is an agricultural state (over 60% of the population lives in Seattle) and while famous for its apples, few know what a huge berry producing state it is. Washington is often ranked first in the nation in production of red raspberries (90.0% of total U.S. production) and about fifth in strawberry production. This is berry season and our girls love them. Smoothies are very popular in our home. So Justin and I deceived to save money and have some fun by taking the girls berry picking.

Morgan loves rasberries

Addy and I on the tractor out to the picking fields

Justin and Morgan picking/eating berries

So sweet!

Morgan in the strawberry fields

Addy picking flowers

Washington Part 1 of 3

If you like the outdoors, Washington is an amazing state. Even our local parks are truly beautiful. Justin and I make it our point to take the family to lots of natural places and the summer is the time to do it. For at least three months, the gray and gloom gives way to sun,degrees in the seventies, no humidity and no bugs. That’s right no bugs, a hikers dream. These next three posts are devoted to some of our most recent adventures. 
 Morgan loves to play in the summer grass

Recently my dear friend Anna came to visit us. 
She had never met the girls and she is really a loving Auntie. 

One Saturday Justin played with the girls while I took Anna to the Mt. Baker national forest. This area is about an hour from our house and overlap with parts of the north cascades national park. Mt Baker. “After Mount Rainier, Mount Baker is the most heavily glaciated of the Cascade volcanoes; the volume of snow and ice on Mount Baker (0.43 cubic miles or 1.8 cubic kilometers) is greater than that of all the other Cascades volcanoes (except Rainier) combined. It is also one of the snowiest places in the world; in 1999, Mount Baker Ski Area, located 14 km (8.4 mi) to the northeast, set the world record for snowfall in a single season—1,140 inches (95 feet or 2,896 cm) (wiki).” Yes you should visit and go skiing! Anyway, Anna and I took a great hike. I was unable to hike last summer so it had been a while since I had been, it was just as amazing as I remember. 

 The Road up to Aster Butte trail head

Looking out at Mt. Baker from the trail 

Anna cooling off in the fresh spring 

The snow line is pretty low this time of year so most of our hike was on snow. It is great when its 80 degrees you are hiking in the snow. 

 A view of goat mountain.

Anna was brave enough to swim in the glacial water of the Nooksack River

Old growth cedar
Nooksack Falls

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Northwest Summer

Since we have been home we have been enjoying the northwest summer. It took a while for the warm sun to arrive but that did not keep us from the beach. Three years ago we took our Vern and Scout to a beach on Whidbey Island call Double Bluffs. It is about 2.5 hours south of us but well worth the drive. It is beautiful, has great wild life, and is a dog off leash zone. Vern feel in love and eat fresh crab all day. We always promised her we would return. So last week we did.

While we much more than last time (little people require alot of big stuff), we had a great day.

    Justin carried Morgie and the metaphorical weight of our crew.

Morgan and Addy looking up unknown birds in the Northwest Audubon Guide

The girls and I after a bottle on the beach 

Scout showing off the big stick he found floating in the ocean.

Vern as happy as can be--unlimited seafood and swimming

The DuPre Family 

Daddy and Addy sharing a moment

The beach was filled with tons of great driftwood. Vern, Addy, and I explored this old tree.

And as we left, so did the Great Blue Heron we had been watching all day.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The East Side

We had a blast on the east coast. The girls were great travelers and the it was actually summer. It was wonderful to see everyone and introduce them to Morgan and Addy Baye. Here are some of the many highlights:
We began in Atlantic Beach, NC. The water was warm, the sky Carolina blue, and the girls spoiled by their grandmother Judy and Aunt Jill.

Morgan did some great playing with Macy Ford (Justin's friend Trey's daughter). 

 They both loved their wagon!

They found the sand was alittle scaring but boy did did they look cute.
Justin's friends came from all over to hang on the beach.

Addy rocking with Aunt Jill 

Morgie hangin on the beach 

Just rocking on the front porch 

We loved the summer sun 

Justin's good friend Mark took these great pictures 

Addy was singing a great song 

Then we traveled south to see Justin's Dad in Myrtle Beach, SC

Granddaddy and Addy having a heart to heart 

More beach life 

Then we went up to NJ where Addy hung out with cousin Ella

Morgan and Daddy

Great Aunt Donna doing nails

Morgan and Great Great Aunt Linda gossiping 

Addy hanging at the pool with Great Nana

Great Nana, Rae and Morgan 

Cousin Alex and Mom doing the Addy bop

Loving Great Uncle Steven's mustache
Morgan and Auntie Mica

The best part of the presents

Addy and cousin Amy

Big Family Picture

Pool Party

Addy wondering if she will be as tall as Great Papa

Nana reading Morgan a book 

Thank you to everyone for a great visit. We can not wait to do it again next year.