Bringing You the Holiday Season: Pacific Northwest Style
I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something. ~Neil Gaiman
Unlike the past holiday seasons, we teamed up with friends and decided to embark on a different version of celebration for this season besides the usual social gatherings. We started with snowshoeing at Gold Creek Pond Trail.
The day we went was raining and not the best snow condition for snowshoeing but it was still a great outing to inaugurate our winter outdoor activities. Growing up in another part of the world accustomed to tropical climate, I don’t like cold weather and winter is usually the season that I tend to ‘hibernate’. But no more hibernating. In order to enjoy myself outdoor in the winter, I invested in quality clothing and gears that keeps me warm, dry and comfortable. I am able to shop and get healthy at the same time. A definite win-win in my book.
On Christmas Eve, we hiked the Chirico Trail to Poo Poo Point. This is a short trail but because of the elevation gain of 1700 ft in less than 2 miles, it is classified by my friends as their favorite outdoor cardio gym. One definitely needs a pair of strong legs to get oneself moving up those oversize stairs formed by rocks. That was the third time I hiked this trail and I was still struggling. Your reward though for working out those muscles is an amazing view of Mount Rainier in the foreground before reaching Poo Poo Point. The Point offers a great view of all the surrounding cities and a place to watch the paragliders launching.
A week later on New Year’s Eve, we embarked on a quest to find a true winter wonderland. The result? Waking up at 5:30 am, reaching the parking area for Franklin Falls before 8 am and started our journey. This is not a difficult hike and it is usually just 2 miles roundtrip from the trail head to the Falls. However the road to the trail head is closed due to the icy condition so this time around it is a 7.5 miles roundtrip hike. This trail is truly a winter wonderland with some cabins in the woods, snow-covered grounds and trees, a creek and the grand finale being the half-frozen Franklin Falls. This is on my list of possibility to come back when the Falls is completely frozen.
Adding to the excitement of welcoming 2018 and doing something new, we decided to take on a new challenge. We hiked up to Poo Poo Point again around 10 pm new year’s eve after a few hours of resting from Franklin Falls. We rang in the new year at the top of the Point with a million dollar view. City lights and fireworks twinkling simultaneously above the clouds. Two hikes in one day which is a first and overall we raked up about 12 miles of hiking, another first for me to reach double digits in a day. We finished 2017 and started 2018 on a high note. This is going to be a great year.
Some personal tips for a successful winter outing:
- Don’t forget your basic ten essentials or the winter version
- Good quality clothing – base layer, fleece, downs, waterproof outer layer (jackets and pants), warm hat/beanie, face cover, gloves, warm socks
- A good pair of waterproof hiking boots – I love my pair of Asolo for fall and winter hikes (it gets too warm for summer)
- Microspikes or crampons for your winter hiking boots for those icy and slippery trails
- Snowshoes and poles with bigger baskets to prevent the poles from sinking into the snow
- Insulated flask for hot drinks – nothing beats having a hot cup of tea or hot cocoa on a cold day
- Packs of hand warmers
- Bring family members, friends or anyone who would encourage you along the way
2018 here we come!!!