Urban Hikes

Kid-Free Adventure Day

What a busy summer! We were kind of making up for last summer, I guess. Last summer we didn’t do much, we didn’t really go anywhere. We were home-bound in the newborn baby fog of lack of sleep and breastfeeding and just trying to stay alive. LOL So this summer has definitely been full of adventures.

Michael’s mom recently offered to babysit Logan for the day so Michael and I made plans to have a baby and dog-free date day! We had to go Syncline Winery to pick up our wine from our membership, so we decided to do a hike and have lunch, too.

We went to Trapper Creek in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. It was fairly close to the other hike we did up there, Falls Creek Falls, about 15 miles north of Carson, Washington. The hike was pretty easy to find, even though the GPS quit at Carson.

It was a really hot day and even in the old growth forest, it was still 100 degrees out. We got a late start to the day, so it was about 11:30 by the time we started the hike. It was a pretty hike in the forest.

There were several other trails that connected to Trapper Creek, so I think you could spend days exploring out there. It was so weird hiking without the dog and baby. For one, it took no time at all to pack the car and then get ready to hike. It literally took 2 minutes to put our boots on and go. LOL Very different than the time it takes to get Bella ready, then Logan, then get Logan in the pack and on Michael’s back…. 🙂

The hike was listed as “Difficult” on the hiking website I use. I can never really tell what that means…like is it a hard hike? Is it classified as difficult because it was long? You can never really tell. This hike started out pretty easy. We discussed whether or not this was actually a “difficult” hike and then all of a sudden, the trail started going uphill and it was most definitely difficult!

Once we crossed the small creek and got to the other side, it was ALL UPHILL. And steep! Apparently we climbed over 800 feet, which doesn’t sound like much but that climb was in less than 2 miles. So pretty steep!

It definitely got our hearts pumping and with the workout and hot day, we were drenched in sweat. (The one time I forget to pack a hiking towel…)

The trail was really peaceful and we didn’t really see anybody else on the hike, except when we first started out. It was a good hike and a good workout.

The trail kept climbing and climbing and finally we decided to turn around at 2.5 miles. It was pretty steep and we were both starting to get hungry. Plus, it was getting pretty late in the day. We turned around and hiked back down the mountain.

We did just over 5 miles total and I burned 730 calories. It was a sweaty one!

I really love seeing the graphs of our hike! So fun to see after the fact. After the hike we grabbed snacks from the cooler (salami, cheese and some soda), cleaned up and changed and then drove to Syncline to go wine tasting and have lunch.

Originally we were going to try and go back to Big Man’s BBQ food cart that we absolutely LOVED but we were running out of time. The hike took longer than we expected. Plus, Syncline had sent me an email the day before saying they were going to have a small wood-fire pizza oven there for Saturday’s wine tasting. Perfect!

We ordered the lamb and pepper pizza for our lunch.

While we waited for our pizza, we did some wine tasting. I didn’t love the Rose they had and there was a white I didn’t really like, but I did get a taste of my favorite white they sell–the Grenache Blanc. Delicious! Definitely brought a bottle of that home.

We played a little corn hole while we waited for lunch. We had both been looking forward to lounging in the hammocks like we did last time, this time without a squirmy baby trying to flip us over! 😉 But unfortunately it was 100+ degrees and laying in the hammock in the sun didn’t sound appealing to either of us.

Finally the small pizza was ready and we were famished. We devoured the pizza. Michael thought it was just ok, he wanted more cheese on it, but I loved it. I thought it was great and smokey and the crust was perfect.

Lunch was good and hit the spot after the hike.

It was starting to get late in the day and we had to get home to Logan, so we wrapped it up and headed home. It was a really nice day away from home just the two of us. I can’t even remember the last time we had a date night. It was a gorgeous day in the Gorge and an excellent start to the long weekend.

On a more serious note, we left The Gorge about 30 minutes before a wildfire started. It started at Eagle Creek because some teenagers decided it was a smart idea to throw fireworks into the forest during the hottest, driest season we’ve probably had in decades. The wildfires started and spread quickly. 140+ hikers were trapped on the trail and had to be rescued. The wildfires quickly spread throughout the Gorge, and even jumped across the Columbia River into the Washington side. More soon…

Seashells by the Seashore

On Saturday we got up early-ish and packed up the car for a day trip and headed to the Coast! We timed it perfectly and Logan had his morning nap in the car. Seaside is 90 minutes or so from Portland and it’s a pretty drive. It’s one we haven’t done in a long time. Too long.

First stop: hike. We did the Tillamook Head hike just south of Seaside. It was a little weird, we drove through a residential area and then there was a new gated community of condos and just across the street from that (at a dead end street) there was the trailhead and parking lot.

Sadly, we did not bring Bella on this day trip. I debated back and forth on it. We almost always take her on these adventures and hikes and she LOVES the beach!!!! But we planned on going out to lunch and knew we couldn’t leave her in the car while we did that, so we left her home. 🙁 I felt really guilty about it, too, but honestly it was the best move because this hike turned out to be a bit harder and not really dog/kid-friendly than we were expecting.

It was an uphill climb right from the start. It wasn’t particularly hard, per se, but it was deceptively steep. We climbed 800 feet up–which doesn’t sound like much, really, but it was especially considering that 800 feet elevation gain was in the first mile and a half. Also, the trail was really slippery. The hike is in an old growth forest with giant trees and ferns and lush greenery. It clearly rarely sees the sun and so it never dries out. It wasn’t muddy but the trail was SLIPPERY. There were lots of rocks and tree roots that were covered in invisible slime! We both slipped and almost fell a few times.

We could sort of hear the ocean off in the distance, but it wasn’t really that close and there were only small glimpses of a view.

It was a really cool trail and very peaceful and quiet. Not a lot of people on it, but we did pass a few. It was also really humid! We were very sweaty by the end of this.

We got to a part of the trail that just ended. It’s hard to see from the photo below but it’s just a drop off.

On the other side of the drop-off, there was this wall that we’d have to climb up. We decided it was a good time to turn around. I was a little worried about the descent because of how slippery the trail was, and I knew that we were going to want to turn around soon anyways to stay on a schedule for lunch and naps, etc. It turned out to be the right move. So we turned around and hiked back down the trail.

There were some “steps” on the trail that were helpful and some of the roots kind of made “stairs”, too. Michael was struggling with the baby backpack on this hike (another good reason to turn around early). We both had to look down the whole hike to watch our footing, so it was kind of a neck strain.

We got back down the trail and changed clothes, changed Logan, and packed everything up. This is the condo community right at the trailhead:

We hiked 3.5 miles in almost 90 minutes. The calorie burn was great!

For lunch we went to the Firehouse Grill in Seaside. It was a cute cafe with decent reviews online. We got there just after the lunch rush, so we got a table right away and service was pretty good. I fed Logan and he was pretty content to watching everything that was going on in the restaurant. Then our food arrived. I was famished.

I got the clam/mussel chowder and a crab cake appetizer. The chowder was pretty good, not the best, but ok. The crab cake was great! And it was topped with fresh crab meat. Logan LOVED the crab! He devoured it.

Logan had a few bites of the chowder but wasn’t really a fan. But he ate so much of the crab and crab cake. He loved it!

Michael got a burger and fries and shared some of his fries with Logan, who was sort of interested but would immediately spit out the fries to eat the crab when I offered it to him. Haha!

Next stop: THE BEACH!

It was the first time Logan has ever been to the beach, or seen sand! We had no idea how it was going to go. It had the potential to be awful but we got lucky. Logan loved it! He immediately wanted down and wanted to run on the sand. He squatted down to pick up shells and tried to eat some of them (of course!) and then he got distracted by everything else.

The bucket and shovel I got for $1.50 a few weeks ago was the best money ever spent:

He loved that bucket. I posted some videos on my Instagram if you want to check it out. 🙂

It was such a fabulous day. So perfect. Logan loved the beach. He loved running on the sand and didn’t struggle walking in the sand like we thought he would. He had a great time and it was so fun to watch him experience the beach for the first time. We will definitely be back. Soon, I hope.

It was a little after 3pm at this point and Little Man was getting tired. He threw a bit of a tantrum when it was time to go. He didn’t want to leave the beach! But we had to drive back to Portland. Logan fell asleep in the car immediately and we had an easy drive home. Home for a bath to get the sand off the little man, dinner, then bedtime. And Michael and I got to enjoy some dinner, a beer and House of Cards. 🙂