Needing to get a bit more excercise (and wear out the children), we've recently taken up hiking. Or rather, it's an activity I'm revisiting. It's something I used to enjoy occasionally (and Brian claimed he did, too... but in all of our nearly 13 years of marriage, he never took me hiking!)
I'm working on putting together a hiking and wilderness survival unit study for us and some homeschooling friends for this fall (praying the weather holds out... it's been PERFECT for hiking this week!) And in the meantime, we're trying out a few local trails.
Our first venture (mostly to test endurance) was the simple hiking trail in Cornwall Park.
I am embarassed to say it's been so long since I've been on that trail, that when we came out the other side, I actually took a wrong turn and we found ourselves going in a circle through the park itself. Yessir, I got us lost in a city park. Sigh. I really do have a good sense of direction!!!
The next hike was much more straightforward. Near Hovander Homestead Park in Ferndale is the Tennant Lake Interpretive Center, and beyond their Fragrance Garden and Observation Tower (also fun waylays) is the mile and half boardwalk hiking trail. All bridges and boardwalks, weaving their way through the tall swamp weeds of a marsh.
We tried to catch a big frog (and failed). Hallie whimpered the whole way, certain someone would fall in the marsh and drown (almost certainly related to her near-drowing when she was 3), and BEGGED that our next hike have less water.
Our next attempt was a bit ambitious... it would have been about 5 miles round trip, so it's probably good that we got turned around. Can I just say the trail maps and signage for the Chuckanut trail system STINKS?? We hiked for well over an hour and somehow wound up just 3 minutes from our car... and it was NOT a loop! I have no idea where we went! But there were fun bridges, a waterfall, strange cement structures... Just glad we aren't still lost in the woods somewhere!
That adventure prompted me to purchase a couple of local hiking books (one on Kindle, the other should be here Wednesday thanks to Amazon Prime,) hoping the maps and descriptions would be better than what I found online. But we WILL conquer that trail system someday!! I also downloaded an Android App called EveryTrail. It uses GPS to track where you went, including distance, speed, elevation and location. We used it today and it was snazzy!
Today's hike took us to Squires Lake Trail, South of Bellingham. Since it was Brian's day off, we invited him to come along. (You know, since he DID say he was a hiker when we got together many moons ago.) The first stretch of the trail gains over 100 ft of elevation in about a half mile. It was a pretty strenuous climb for fairly novice hikers... and it about did Brian in! When we hit the first bench, by the lake, he opted to wait there for us while the kids and I hiked all the way around the lake. Good thing he did! We had another more than 200 ft elevation gain! It was a great hike, though. A cute little brook, a "tree bridge", and we didn't even take the extra trails this round (a more strenuous "South Ridge Trail or "Beaver Lake Trail.") I'm sure we'll go back for those another time.
According to my hiking app, we went 2.87 miles total, at an average of 2.7 miles per hour (including breaks to explore the lake, tree bridge and brook, have some "trail food", etc.) in an elapsed time of 1 hour and 4 minutes.
If you've got any suggestions for good "beginner" trails, locally... please share! The kids and I are really enjoying our new hobby!