Thursday, September 10, 2015

Bucket List #43 | Olympic National Park

The Olympic Peninsula is a kind of magical place. There are beautiful mountains, a rainforest, and a long stretch of breathtaking beaches to be explored. 4 days was barely enough to see it all.
I am really trying to narrow down the pictures here, but come on:
This place was just amazing.
I wish I'd blogged this sooner (we went in June), when the impressions were fresh in my mind. We had a wonderful family trip. We soaked in the sun, the beauty, and lots of time with each other. It was the longest camping trip - 3 nights - that we've done with kids. We realized that we're getting old and sleeping on the ground is less awesome than it used to be. We also realized that it was totally worth it.

We started our trip at Hurricane Ridge, which is the mountainous region of Olympic National Park. Right away, in the visitor's center, I was stunned by this wall display -
It's a quote that inspired the beautiful song that my friend Trevor's mom wrote and sang at his funeral only about a week before we went on this trip. I could not keep the tears from my eyes, and I knew we were in for a special time with our family. 

We hiked, adventured, and drove (a lot). Olympic National Park is HUGE.
Dirty knees are a sure sign of a really great first day.

Our campsite was on the other end of the park, along the Kallaloch Beach. It was enchanting.
Give me sand, waves and driftwood and I will show you happiness. We could hear the sound of the sea while we slept, and the beach was just a short walk from our tent. We wished we could have stayed longer. 

The second day of our trip we impulsively drove up to Cape Flattery, which is the Northwestern most point of the continental US. My geologist husband could not resist this chance. 
It was a long detour, but it ended up being incredibly beautiful and a fun little hike.

And there was something so fun about standing at that landmark, imagining the puzzles of the US we did as kids, and thinking - "I'm at the top-left corner!"
It inspired us to a new life goal - we've got to make it to the other 3 corners!
We spent that afternoon on another hike at Ruby Beach: Hole in the Wall. A-Maz-Ing.
The only thing about this hike is that we made Walt walk it - it was 4 miles round trip, and although it was 100% flat, it was a long way for his little legs. Not only that, but he really just wanted to sit and play in the sand. It was extremely difficult to get him moving along - he's just not a fast moving child. It was worth it in the end, but I wish we'd just packed him and Zuzu. 

The next morning we adventured into the Hoh Rainforest. It's pretty famous but to be honest, it was not our favorite part of the trip. Not that it wasn't beautiful, it was!
It was just a bit of a long drive from everything else, and there are so many places in Washington covered in trees/moss that it was a little underwhelming. We are still glad we went - we'd never pass up an opportunity to walk through a rainforest! 

We finished out our trip with a little more beach time at the campsite. We didn't want to leave!
 Can you blame us?
 All in all, we had an amazing time on the peninsula. Probably the best camping trip we've done as a family in terms of how it all went. (Although Mt. Rainier might still edge it out as our favorite place in Washington.)
We definitely give this adventure:

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Every time I turn around, this kid is bigger. Stronger. Smarter. Taller. Hungrier. Braver. More curious. More compassionate. More imaginative. More fun!
This is the fortune Walt got at PF Chang's just a few days before his 4th birthday.
Dead on.

He had his heart set on a Mario party. Done, kid.
This was a fun one to plan - and really simple! We had cousins over to Grandma's house, played "stomp the goombas" with balloons, and had a super fun cake. He was thrilled.
Walt is our pretender. Every day, all day, he puts on a variety of hats, capes, shoes, and whatever else he can find and becomes Robin Hood, Mario, Ammon, Anakin Skywalker, Gimli, Thumper, an astronaut, and explorer, a swordsman, Spiderman - you name it, we've dressed like it over here! My mom sometimes jokes, "Is he ever just Walter?"
He loves to play but generally wants company. He hates doing chores but likes to help. He is developing quite the social circle and loves to have play dates and go places with friends. He'll often ask me what we're doing that day, and if I don't have a good answer he sometimes says "plan something!" He adores his baby sister but hates being stuck at home (and exiled from his room) during naptimes. Every day he tells me he is "showy," which means he wants to watch more TV.

For primary they do a spotlight about the kids, here were his 4-year-old answers:

Name: Walter Burgener
Birthday: June 1st
Age: 4
Favorite color: Yellow
Favorite food: Spaghetti and meatballs
Favorite Primary song: I Know That My Savior Loves Me
Favorite thing to do: Play at the park with friends
What he/she wants to be when he/she grows up: "The good T-Rex from Jurassic Park"

We are incredibly lucky to have this kid in our family. He's such a good boy, and a great example to Zuzu. He's loving and silly and wonderful. Love you, Baby Bear!