Hiking To Mason Lake.

One of the things I was most excited about when we moved to Seattle was our proximity to all the amazing wilderness and adventure opportunities in the Pacific Northwest.  I didn’t grow up camping and I don’t have any fancy gear, but I do love being active and being outdoors. 

This past weekend, some friends invited us to join them on a day hike to Mt. Baker in the Snoqualmie National Forest.  We had no plans, so we happily accepted.  We drove about an hour east of our house, and arrived at the trailhead to the Ira Spring Trail. 

IMG_3944 (640x480)

I read some info about the hike online the night before, so I knew we’d be going 3.4 miles UP, and then 3.4 miles back down.

IMG_3945 (640x481)

We grabbed our gear and set off on our climb.  I’ve been in Seattle for over a year now, but for so long we were just exploring the city itself.  This summer we’ve done a few day trips like this – beyond Seattle, and it’s pretty incredible what you can find just an hour outside of the city.

IMG_3878 (640x480)

I was a little nervous about accepting the invitation for the trip, not knowing how Cullen would behave in a hiking backpack for most of the day.  All he wants to do these days is walk, and he’s not big on being carried much anymore.  He surprised me by being a total champ – barely a peep from him the whole time.

IMG_3881 (480x640)

So many thanks to Kelsey and Jason (and adorable 6-month-old Norah!) for inviting us along. 

IMG_3884 (640x479)

They are serious hikers and they didn’t make fun of our Gap clothes, running shoes, and Jansport backpack.  We might not have all the gear, but we still did just fine.

IMG_3885 (640x480)

I knew going into it that the trail was all at an incline, but I was surprised at just how difficult I found it.  Definitely a wake up call on how out of shape I am!  We were all literally dripping in sweat as we climbed.  Can’t imagine doing it with a baby on my back!  (Check out those THIGHS!)

IMG_7500 (490x640)

We stopped a few times for snack and water breaks.  It was a serious climb, and I couldn’t believe how tough it was to hike just a little over three miles.  The gorgeous views and scenery made it more than worth it though, and I was happy to be getting in such a good workout.

IMG_3886 (480x640)

And then the trail opened up to one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. 

IMG_3891 (640x480)

This gorgeous mountain top lake was surrounded by tall trees and giant rocks.  The water was so clear you could see the bottom even in depths of ten-ish feet.  It was perfectly still – I’ve never seen anything like it.


We pulled out blankets and took a much needed break. 

IMG_7367 (427x640)

We snacked on lunch, as well as these delicious energy bites I made the night before.  (Recipe coming up on Wednesday!)

IMG_6110 (640x427)

And then – because you only live one – we all stripped down to our underwear (and bras) and jumped into the freezing cold mountain water.  Casey and I took turns as Cullen watched us jump and swim.

IMG_3904 (640x480)

Is there anything cuter than a little boy in love with his dad?

IMG_3907 (480x640)IMG_3919 (468x640)

We couldn’t put Cullen down at the camp sight because he kept trying to eat rocks and sticks – he was a good sport and hung out on our shoulders.  He was fascinated by my bun!

IMG_3922 (481x640)IMG_3925 (480x640)

Family shot courtesy of Kelsey (who is starting a photography business here in Seattle – check her out!)

IMG_7430 (427x640)

After a cool down in the lake and a break for food, we packed back up to begin our descent back down the trail.  I had no idea that the whole time we were hiking UP, this amazing view was just behind us…

IMG_3928 (480x640)

Mt. Ranier in all her glory – these pictures don’t do it any justice.  I felt like I was standing in the middle of a painting.  Nature is so powerful.

IMG_3927 (640x480)

Cullen was not quite as impressed, and decided to take his one 20-minute nap of the day at the top of the mountain.

IMG_3932 (480x640)

2550 up with a steep descent below.  Still snoozing.  Figures!

IMG_3933 (640x480)

Kelsey was one of the first friends I made here in Seattle, and we started walking together when she was just 8 weeks pregnant, and I was 20-something weeks along.  Now we have big hiking backpacks filled with babies!

IMG_3937 (640x480)

The way down was much easier than the way up, but still tough on my wobbly legs.  I definitely need to invest in some hiking boots if I want to make this a regular thing – I was slipping and sliding in my gym shoes.

IMG_3942 (480x640)

Just under seven miles total round-trip, but it felt like a lot more.  I am SORE today – ouch.  I definitely have the itch to go again soon, and I’d like to make this part of our weekend workouts from time to time.  So few weekends left this summer, and so many mountains to explore!