So far spring in the Pacific Northwest has been wet, wet, wet but we took advantage of a beautiful sunny day and got outside. We went to the Opal Creek Wilderness and introduced the kids to an old growth forest. It was especially nice to experience the quiet and solitude of the wilderness after 4 days of roofers pounding on our house. We did come across some fellow hikers but we were lucky to spend much of the day by ourselves.
This was my view with the little dog leading the way.
Saoirse spent the day hunting for bird’s nest mushrooms. She found a lot but this fungi-laden branch was her prized find.
The girls looked especially tiny compared to the huge trees and the jungle of moss covered branches towering above them.
The water is so clear and pristine. It’s even safe to drink right out of the creek!
The trail we hiked on leads to Jawbone Flats, an historic mining camp that is now the home of an environmental education center. We didn’t make it quite that far with the kids but we had fun exploring the old mining relics along the way including an old cabin, a mining tunnel in the hillside and lots of abandoned equipment.
Next time we go on a long hike Mike and I want to put a tracking device on the dog so we can see how much more ground he covers than us. This guy didn’t let his short legs hold him back at all!
We hiked over 4 miles and little Carys Áine got a piggyback ride for about 3 minutes until she started to choke me. The rest of the time she walked entirely on her own! I think that’s pretty impressive for a 3.25 year old! She did say she wanted to go home about 30 minutes in but we ignored her and soon enough she was distracted by all the natural beauty around her. We took lots of snack breaks and Saoirse shared the tip she learned at summer camp- hugging a tree gives you the strength of the tree and so she and Carys Áine sought out strong Douglas Fir trees when they felt tired.
Towards the end some serious exhaustion set in but I distracted them with stories and singing and by the time the gate to the parking area was in sight the kids found some new energy.
All day Carys Áine referred to the outing as our “adventuring” and Saoirse enthusiastically shared her nature expertise with all of us. I love that they’re so young but already feel so at home in the forest. I also love that they fell asleep about 10 minutes into the car ride home. I don’t love that they picked all the chocolate chips and dried fruit out of the trail mix but that lesson in hiking etiquette will have to wait until our next “adventuring.”