Getting Kids Out Into Nature

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Category Archives: Trip Report

Hazel Wolf Wetlands, Trip Report, 12/8/17

Edited to add: I wrote this back in December, but forgot to post it. Here it is! It’s still a lovely park to wander around, winter or summer.


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Sunset Reflections

You may have noticed it’s been pretty quiet here on this blog. I’ve been dealing with my chronic foot and ankle issues, and have not been allowed to hike. It’s kind of depressing, but I believe I am making slow progress.

Last week I was cleared to try a trial hike of less than 2 miles to see how it felt. I had seen photos of friends at the Gold Creek Pond area, and wanted to head up there, but when I checked the current conditions as we were getting ready, it was 26 degrees with fog and freeing drizzle. Not my cup of tea! So we picked a closer-in trail, and booked it over to the east side of the sound for a quick hike before it got dark.

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Annika and Poplar Leaf

Hazel Wolf Wetlands is a sweet little natural area that’s been preserved up on the Sammamish Plateau. It sits behind giant mansions, hidden from the road. The trail starts off by traveling through a narrow greenbelt between tracts of homes. After about a third of a mile, you’ll reach a junction with another trail that goes to Beaver Lake Preserve. Continue on the Main Trail, or take Ann’s Trail to loop around the east side of the lake. Boardwalks cross over marshy areas, and bridges cross creeks. At one bridge, you’ll be able to see a beaver dam, which has built up the surface of the wetland considerably.

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Tree-lined Trail

We swished through deep layers of decaying leaves on the trail, winding among trees and around the shore of the lake. We saw evidence of pileated woodpeckers and red-breasted sapsuckers, and lots of lichen, moss, and licorice and sword ferns.

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Sapsucker Holes

We also saw some fungi and possibly slime mold. There was a very thin layer of ice on the open water in the wetland, and Annika enjoyed throwing rocks onto it to hear the “plink” sound it made. We heard a few frogs and red-winged blackbirds, but otherwise the bird life was pretty quiet until the end of the hike, when we heard a great-horned owl hooting.

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Pileated Woodpecker Excavations

The trail goes around the wetland, and at one point crosses some open water on a boardwalk. You’ll find a nice wooden platform where you can look out over the water. Keep your eyes open for marsh wrens, mergansers, and other waterfowl.

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Icy Water Near the Boardwalk

Dogs and bikes are not allowed on Ann’s Trail, so I’d suggest leaving your furry companions at home. There are no bathrooms or other facilities at this park; no permits are needed. The hike is about 1.6 miles with 50 feet of elevation gain. It’s a wonderful, quiet place to spend an hour in nature.

Great American Eclipse – Trip Report, August 2017

The Great American Eclipse of last August is probably fading in your memories, but I wanted to document our trip to Central Oregon to see it. A lot of planning, ruminating, advice-getting, worrying, gear purchasing, and refining packing lists over and over went into this trip. Aaron elected to stay home to save his vacation…Continue Reading

Cutthroat Lake, Trip Report, 9/30/17

With my kids getting older, our schedules are getting fuller, and it’s more challenging to get an entire day for hiking out in the wilderness. But we were able to squeeze in a “quick” trip up to the North Cascades to see the larches turning colors a few weeks ago. We were not excited about…Continue Reading

Blue Lake (Mt. Baker) – Trip report, 9/16/17

After a summer of little hiking, I have been feeling ready to get back out on the trails. I’ve been wanting to go to Blue Lake for a few years now, ever since we were stymied by my car breaking down on the road up there back in 2014. This is one of those hikes…Continue Reading

Super Quick BC Road Trip to Banff – July, 2017

Our kids were at camp together for a whole week in July, so we thought we’d take a little trip without them. Aaron had a doctor appointment he had to go to, and one that would be difficult to reschedule, so we didn’t get out of town until 7:30 Monday evening. We made it smoothly…Continue Reading

Fragrance Lake Hike TR – June, 2017

I’m trying to fill in the gaps of kid-friendly trails we haven’t hiked on, and wanted to do something with an easy drive a couple of weeks ago. We slept in late on this beautiful morning, and it turned out Annika’s shoes were too small – once again, I had forgotten to get her new…Continue Reading

Spring Break 2017 – Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Our first full day in Tucson during our Spring Break trip brought us to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. This was one of my top favorite spots on our journey. We got there fairly early, though I couldn’t convince everyone to get there at 7:30 am for a guided bird walk. (It’ll be just one more…Continue Reading

Spring Break 2017 – Montezuma’s Castle

On our fourth day in Arizona, we reluctantly said goodbye to our lovely cabin in the woods northwest of Flagstaff, and moved our families south to Tucson. Along the way, we stopped at Montezuma’s Castle National Monument. This park is smaller than the others we’d visit on our trip, but it’s a unique treasure and…Continue Reading