Jeremy took this last week off from work and we had a family staycation. Instead of chilling at home, we were out and about a good part of our staycation. With June’s weather being so wet and July being quieter than expected, we’ve crammed all of our summer into August. Specifically, the last two weeks of August. While we’ve been home in time for evening swim lessons, we’ve been out exploring during the day. Sort of burning the candle at both ends. We unintentionally decided to end summer by going BIG with our activities. Here’s a look that what we’ve been up to:
- Hiking at Mt. Rainier National Park – Jeremy has declared Mt. Rainier a summer tradition. Now that our boys are older, the tradition includes what feels like scaling the mountain (at least to my incline-adverse legs). This year, we went hiking on the Sunrise side of the mountain. We took the trail from Sunrise up past Frozen Lake and halfway to the Mt. Fremont Fire Lookout. Our goal was to find mountain goats and we ended up spotting dozens (one very close). We also got a close-up look at a fox who had just eaten a ground squirrel and was settling in for a nap. Chipmunks, squirrels, and a lone marmot round out our animal sightings. On our way home, we stopped at the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center. We took the mile long nature trail past the hot springs. It was interesting to find hot springs on the mountain. Spoiler alert, they were pretty small (so don’t think Yellowstone).
- The Oregon Coast – It’s not summer without a trip to the beach! COVID cancelled our original beach trip in July, so we were so ready for a day at the ocean! We started the day off at Pig’N’Pancake in Astoria for breakfast. Then it was off to Cannon Beach to play near Haystack Rock. Lunch was at Mo’s and we made a stop at the candy store and the bakery before leaving town. For our afternoon activities, we did a quick visit to Fort Clatsop and Fort Stevens. The kids picked up Junior Ranger booklets that we hope to work on this weekend and redeem for badges. Dinner was Fultano’s Pizza in Clatskanie. We like to eat and play at the beach in equal parts!
- Tolmie State Park – One of my goals this summer was to hike some local trails. Tolmie State Park was on this list. Located on the Puget Sound, we arrived at low tide and were able to explore the wet sand and puddles. We spotted plenty of little crabs which delighted Owen. Graham would have happily hiked there longer, but this was a shorter outing for us. It was nice to mix in a smaller outing among the bigger ones. It was fun to explore a new place and the kids have already requested we visit again – maybe at high tide next time.
- The Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – Our library gave the kids free tickets to the zoo as a part of the summer reading program. The zoo was on our summer bucket list and the free tickets were a nice bonus. The weather was perfect for the zoo – overcast and cool. We saw almost all the animals and enjoyed the lunchtime animal show. To make this outing even sweeter, we met up with my forever friend, Maggie, and her kids. Graham’s favorite animals were the red wolves and Owen liked the sea otters. I loved seeing the penguins and Jeremy kept trying to get the lemurs to “talk” (which was quite loud and aggressive sounding).
- Owen Beach – After the zoo, we went over to Owen Beach in Point Defiance Park. Our Owen obviously loves the name of this beach and he claims it as his own. This rocky beach on the Puget Sound is perfect for throwing stones or balancing on driftwood. There are plenty of boats to watch and a new “natural” play space that was recently added while the park was closed for updates.
- Millersylvania State Park – On our way home from Tacoma, we stopped at Millersylvania State Park for a quick hike and swim. We’ve been keeping swim clothes and towels in the van “just in case” and this seemed like the perfect time to make it happen. This state park was also on the summer bucket list, so we were able to check off one more activity.
The boys wrapped up this epic week with a sleepover in Owen’s room last night! We tried to squeeze every last bit of summery goodness out of this month. We’ve planned an intentionally quieter (quiet-ish?) weekend so we can be ready for school to start on Monday. It’s crazy to believe that we are in the final weekend of summer. It’s going to be a bit of a shock next week. Our schedule feels like it’s taking a complete 180 degree turn. I’m not sure I’m ready for it… but here we go. From one adventure to the next.