Two Teens And Their Mama: Hiking To Heather Lake

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hiking To Heather Lake

hiking

Last weekend, the stars aligned and both boys were home on Sunday.  My energetic husband had the brilliant idea to go for a hike.  Is there an emoticon for sarcasm?  I need to come up with one, because I would use it a lot.  Anyway.  Due to general life busyness, we haven't had the chance to hike for several years, and I jumped at the opportunity to do something outdoors as a family.  Apparently I forgot that I'm not as young or fit as I used to be.

Mistake number one:  letting the sixteen year old choose the destination.  I handed him our "Best Short Hikes" book, and he thumbed through it until he came to Heather Lake. I had a vague recollection of hiking this trail before, but my aging brain couldn't quite remember.  I grabbed the book back from him to read the description.  Hmm...four miles round trip, 1000 foot elevation gain, moderate to steep.

Mistake number two:  believing the same teenager when he claimed that the last time we hiked here, it was really easy.

We used to do a lot of family hiking.  One advantage to living in Seattle is the mountains on both sides of us.  When the boys were babies, my husband carried them in a backpack, and as they grew old enough to walk themselves, we chose level, easy hikes. The bigger they got, the harder the terrain.  There was usually some complaining (from the boys and me), but it was worth it in the end when we reached our destination.

About ten years ago, on a particularly strenuous hike, I remember prodding the boys along the entire way.  My husband commented that "one day" the roles would be reversed, and the kids would be forging ahead while we struggled to keep up.

Last weekend "one day" showed up.

Things started out pleasantly enough.  It was a decent day by June standards, and the beginning of the trail to Heather Lake winds through old growth forest and green ferns.  It's flat and peaceful, to lull you into a false sense of security.

labrador retriever

But then....the ascent began.  Suddenly, every detail of the 1000 foot elevation gain came back to me.  Not only is this particular trail steep, it's also narrow and very rocky.  I seriously considered going back to the car to take a nap, but I figured I needed to set a better example. Luckily for him, the sixteen year old is too fast for me to catch and throttle.


It didn't take long for the boys to be out of sight, far ahead of the old folks.  They would stop on occasion to wait for us to catch up, but they got bored quickly, and pretty soon my fun family outing consisted of my husband and I plodding along, cursing the teenagers with their boundless energy and low body fat.

The other hikers who were on their way back down could see the look on my face, and I kept hearing that I was almost there.  Yeah, whatever.  Ten years ago that was my line.

Just when my knees and lungs couldn't go one step further, we rounded the corner and saw this, and I remembered why I like hiking so much. 

hking washington

We still hadn't caught up to the boys, but I could barely see them on the other side of the lake. The little turds had all the water and snacks, so we were going to have to keep going to get to them.  And we needed to move quickly, before they ate everything.

teenagers

Et tu, Abby?

dog

We relaxed for a while, taking in the beauty surrounding us, accessible only by hiking two miles through steep terrain.  It was a wonderful reminder that sometimes you have to put in great effort to reap great reward.  All was well in my world, with my three favorite people around me.  I didn't even want to throttle the teenagers anymore.  

Until I remembered I still had to get back down....

34 comments:

  1. Looks like a gorgeous place, your so luck to have it so close to home, stunning xx

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    1. Thank you, we are very lucky to have such beautiful scenery so close to our house.

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  2. How beautiful! I'm so glad you had that wonderful experience.
    Blessings,
    Laura

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    1. Thank you - it really was a fun day, sore muscles and all!

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  3. Lovely and inspirational place--bet you are thrilled you did it!

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    1. I'm especially happy when it's over and I'm looking at the pretty pictures!

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  4. Did your sons save you any snacks? Your hike sounds like the one my sister and I just did a few days ago. Sucked us in, then spit us out. I recovered by watching World Cup and getting my husband to offer compliments on my amazing hiking ability.

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    1. Yes, we made it just in time before they hoovered everything down! Your comment is so funny - I felt like I had been spit out too :)!

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  5. Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos - my experience about hiking is it is always best looking back on the accomplishment!!
    When my son was little, he would stop to turn over ever rock and always lag behind. I always stayed with him for fear he would become mountain lion bait! Now when it is me lagging behind, no one seems to worry!

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    1. I thought the same exact thing. Nobody was making sure I hadn't been eaten by a cougar or bear!

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  6. This is absolutely gorgeous. My boyfriend and I were recently planning our first camping trip together and found Heather Lake online. We're from CA, so we couldn't take the trip up there right away, but we hope to some day. Also, hi from #sitsblogging! :)

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    1. It would be fun to camp at Heather Lake. I think they have about 10-15 tent sites available. Of course, you'd have to make that climb with all your stuff on your back...:)

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  7. What a lovely way you wrote this! My kids are a bit younger- the oldest is 9. We are at the carrying them up and down stage but I can totally see the future and them taking off ahead of us like your kids. :-)) The end result is such a reward though. The view is so gorgeous. I also live in the NW and am always amazed how much natural beauty surrounds us. XOXO, Elif

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    1. Yay, someone else from the Northwest! It won't be long before your kids leave you in the dust!

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  8. Great family day! Beautiful pictures! I laughed at your descriptions. I've wondered why I took the advice of my 16 year old on occasion, too! :)

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    1. Thank you! I really should know better by now.

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  9. I got to visit Seattle and then the coastline a couple of years ago and it has remained one of my most favorite places in the country! You are so lucky to have such beautiful scenery although 1000 ft. Elevation would be a killer but worth it in the end!

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    1. Thanks Rena. It really is a beautiful area to live.

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  10. Awwwww that's great family time for all of you Lana.....the backdrop is amazing!!!

    Rebecca
    www.redtagchiclosangeles.com

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    1. Thank you - it really is beautiful!

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  11. Lovely Pictures <3

    Thx for sharing :)

    www.theeche.com

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  12. Beautiful scenery! Definitely makes it worth it! I feel the same way with my daughter now when we go for a run around our neighborhood lake. She is much faster than me and is always waiting for me on the porch reading a magazine by the time I catch up and get home!

    Jill
    dousedinpink.blogspot.com

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    1. So sad that we can't keep up! Oh well, at least they're still going with us :)

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  13. Too funny! While you were doing your hike, we were kindred spirits here on Vancouver Island. We hike Mt. Finlayson which was death defying up and down a rock face. The added extra bonus was our son complaining the ENTIRE time :). I've never been so happy be back at the car. It was great but lots of fear factor involved.

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    1. That sounds really scary but I bet it's beautiful. At least I didn't have to listen to my boys complaining because they were so far ahead of me :)

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  14. The up is always hard on the heart and the down is always hard on the knees : ) This reminds me of all the great hikes we used to take when we lived in BC. How I miss it!

    I'm sure you felt a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. I love that - you're right! My knees were screaming when we got done.

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  15. These pics are lovely!.My husband loves hiking too, one time he asked me to ¨walk¨ 4.5 kilometers with him towards a painted forest in one of the small mountains and I was wearing a mini skirt and flip flops! You just can´t imagine the huge row that we had on the way because I wasn´t prepared for the rough terrain on the last 800 meters of the trail. Thank God the view was worth it but on the next ¨walking(hiking)¨ trips that we had I came prepared. :)

    http://dressingupforme.blogspot.com/

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    1. Great story! My husband has done that to me before - and obviously my boys are following in his footsteps!

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  16. What a beautiful place, the size of that tree is huge! Such stunning views and well worth the hike.

    x x

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    1. Isn't that tree amazing? I wonder how old it is. The view at the top is definitely worth the hike.

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