Discovery Park Adventures.

This weekend we checked the last thing off our list to become official Seattle-ites.  Nope, not a new drivers license or plates for the car.  We went to REI.  Not sure how we’ve been here 1.5 years and not gone yet, but here in Seattle, the REI store is more talked about than the Space Needle. 

It’s the flagship store and it is GIGANTIC.  Just entering feels like a hike itself – passing waterfalls, giant trees, and trail markers pointing you toward the store entrance.  Once you get inside, you find yourself at the bottom of a 65 foot indoor climbing wall – pretty impressive!

We’ve been enjoying a lot of time outdoors this summer, and most recently we’ve started exploring the local hiking scene.  There are endless hiking opportunities beyond Seattle and in other parts of Washington, but there are also some smaller, day hikes you can do right inside the city.

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One of our goals each weekend is to get out and be as active as possible.  These days, Cullen is just NOT feeling the jogging stroller, which is making running quite difficult.  We did a six mile run together on Saturday which was a miracle, and he still screamed for half of it. 

So we’ve been looking for other ways to get out and be active that don’t involve a screaming baby.  For whatever reason, he seems to love hanging out in the hiking backpack.  And so, we hike!

Before we hit the trail, we headed to REI for some new shoes.  We’ve both been hiking in running shoes, and slipping and sliding all over the place.  We needed a much safer option – particularly for Casey, who is usually wearing the hiking backpack.  We both picked up some cross-training all-terrain Merrels on clearance.  I’m excited to wear mine for my daily walks with Cullen – I’ve needed new walking shoes for way too long.

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We also finally got a hiking backpack of our own!  We’ve been borrowing one from a friend, but I knew we’d need to get one eventually.  It has a million pockets and some extra storage, and Cullen loves his cushy seat. 

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It’s a pretty hardcore backpack – definitely not necessary for simple city hikes, but it’s really comfortable and Cullen lasts in it for hours – priceless.  And since he hates the Ergo (on the back), it’s the best option even for short hikes right now!  Next year he’ll be running along side us with his own little backpack – too cute.

We slipped into new shoes, loaded up the new backpack, and headed over to Discovery Park in the Magnolia neighborhood.  I had only been there once last summer, and we didn’t explore too far because I was pregnant and tired.  This time we did quite a bit more!

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We did the full loop trail plus the two beach trails – bringing us to about 5 miles total round-trip.  It’s not a particularly challenging hike – no major inclines or declines – but it’s still amazing at how different it feels to my muscles.  The beach trails ran right along the Puget sound, with gorgeous views of the Olympic mountains in the distance.

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I cherish our weekends together as a family so much.  They are what get me through the long weeks of early wakeups and long work days.  It’s so nice having a husband who likes to get outside and be active as much as I do!

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The trail wound through the trees with the water below in the distance – so beautiful.

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It was a little bit breezy and cool yesterday – I can tell that fall is definitely around the corner.  And while I’ll miss shorts and sandals, I’m also ready for jeans and – my favorite – puffy vests. 

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We were thinking that Cullen would probably take a snooze in the backpack since we were out during his typical naptime, but he was having too much fun to sleep.  I think his favorite feature is the long straps that he can chew on.

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We made our way down the beach trail until we hit the sand.  It was cool and breezy and smelled like stinky ocean.  I loved it.

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I sat on a large log of driftwood and fed Cullen.  I thought about how lucky I am to live here, and how happy I am that he gets to grow up doing things like this on Sunday afternoons.

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After a short break, we made our way back up the hill – passing this awesome staircase that descends straight into the water on our way.

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We passed the lighthouse and made our way back up to the parking lot – a solid five mile hike.  My legs definitely felt like they got a good workout, but I didn’t feel totally wiped like I did last weekend either. 

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It’s interesting to think about how my fitness level and activities have changed over the last few years.  I used to log high mileage and run almost every day.  These days, that just isn’t practical or possible while taking care of Cullen full time.  I’ve considered quite a few different fitness goals, and what I’ve realized each time is that right now, I’m just enjoying watching my little guy grow up WAY too quickly.

I do love having my own goals, and absolutely want to continue to make fitness a high priority in my life.  But at this point, I don’t want to spend long hours in the gym or do runs that take up half the day.  I want to find ways to stay healthy and active that can involve my whole family.  And during the week – I have to find ways to keep moving with my sidekick in tow.  I love that we can walk, jog, and hike together, still stay in good shape, and get to take advantage of the beautiful scenery around us. 

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Casey’s parents will be here next weekend, and we’re planning to head back up into the mountains.  I’m looking into challenging baby-safe hikes so that we can show them how beautiful it is up here.  I’m also looking forward to having two extra sets of hands in the house, so perhaps I can even go for a few runs on my own!  I’d still love to get one more race in this season.  Hopefully I still have time!