Over the last year, I have traveled by plane, train, cruise ship, water taxi, regular taxi, Uber car, London black cab, and gondola across 8 countries and 35 cities. As wonderful and wild as all those adventures have been, I have also focused some wanderlust on adventures in my geographic backyard.
Nine years ago, our family of four moved to the lush land of Seattle. The beauty of the Pacific Northwest still awes me; however most of our vacations take us from airport to airport. As the last year unfolded from grand adventures to daily routines, there was more time to explore the land nearby.
Prying kids from technology and TV proved much trickier than navigating customs lines and foreign exchange fees. Traveling in our trusty minivan and with our loyal dog, Lucy, we set off to travel mere miles away, packing only iPhone GPS and snacks.
Below is Part 1 of our Nature Nerding these last few months:
Tiger Mountain, Issaquah, Washington
Located only 20 minutes from Seattle, Tiger Mountain offers many great family-friendly (meaning flat) trails. For our springtime trek, we chose the Bus Trail. This easy mile-long route gets its name from an old derelict Greyhound bus that rests in the forest along the route. Nothing like a little rusted metal to get kids excited.
After refusing to use an outhouse, our two boys quickly settled more into the more pleasant smelling natural surroundings. They found branches to use as walking sticks that then became light sabers then brother-pokers and so on.
“Look, guys,” I said. “This is nature all around you.”
“It’s too quiet.” “Wait, what was that noise?” “How will we ever be found out here?” “Where’s the food stop?”
With our dog herding us along, we wove among other trailheads. We came into a clearing and the boys ran at full sprint alongside old train tracks. The high afternoon sun filtered through 100-foot trees like confetti.
As we fell into an easy walk back to the car, my husband and I were talking a little too loud for one of our newfound nature guides. “Shh,” we were hushed. “This is nature here,” he said.
Twin Falls Trail, North Bend, Washington
Buoyed by our earlier nature adventure, we headed to North Bend for this summer hike. We invested in the Discover Pass (needed in a lot of Washington areas) since we are now embracing outdoor-ing.
About 45 minutes outside of Seattle, we chose the Twin Falls Trail because it was dog-friendly and had the lure of the water tumbling off a mountain. This 3.5 mile trail was much more of a climb. The scenery was gorgeous, in between our huffing and puffing, and it was a popular spot so we rubbed shoulders with other nature-loving neighbors up and down the narrow trail.
Invariably on any outing, the boys end up most happily tossing rocks into water. The sound of plunks becomes the background soundtrack as we rest on rocks.
One of my favorite moments comes as we all climb back into the car, satisfied with our physical exertion, chatting about highlights of the day as Lucy stretches out her dusty paws.
For a few moments, talking trumps technology and summer seems to last just a beat slower as we ramble toward the highway surrounded by a happy outdoor halo.
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