Months ago I purchased a Groupon for two nights at the Lake Quinault Lodge out on the Olympic Peninsula. As seems to be the case with all Groupon purchases, the expiration date snuck up on me and we had to use it ASAP! So we picked the only free weekend we had (yes, we only had one weekend free for the months of September, October, November and December... sad). Luck was on our side, though and it was a beautiful, non rainy weekend! That is saying a lot for visiting a rainforest in the Pacific Northwest mid-November :)
Come morning, Miles was super excited to test out his very new hiking backpack... complete with his own camelpak! Both kiddos were up and ready to go very early, so we bundled up and took to the mountains.
While it was nice and clear, it was cold! Thankfully we all had enough layers. I think Ellis was so stunned by the cold that she didn't dare complain about being stuck in the backpack for so long. Miles was definitely not a fan of the cold and showed it by being more than a little whiny. But he was still adorable.
We ended up doing ~2.5 mile loop that took us by a few water falls. The bridges were icy and we had a few slips and falls. Overall, Miles is much more balanced than I am so he did ok :) The second half of the hike Miles decided he wanted to call out to the animals and see if they would come out of the trees to visit. By this point he was too cold to walk as well, so Ryan was carrying him... quite entertaining watching Ryan carry him for a mile or so with Miles making dinosaur, bear and lion noises as loud as he could right into Ryan's ear. Well, I found it entertaining.
I think Ryan and I were both surprised at how much of a workout a 2+ mile hike would be when it involves carrying the kiddos! We were both a little more pooped that we anticipated and all of us were super cold and ready to go warm up. Thanks to our little monsters being early risers, by the time we got done with our hike they were still serving breakfast at the lodge. In we went for some food and, of course, some hot chocolate. Miles' favorite (note red nose from previously mentioned face plant):
After warming up and filling the bellies we ventured out to take a drive and look for some animals. Miles was very helpful in "calling for them". You see, they were high up in the mountains eating (according to little Mr. Man) so he needed to tell them to come down and visit... Surprisingly it worked! We got to see a ton of elk up close! Some right on the road... so lucky. Along the way we visited some awesome waterfalls, played "Pooh" sticks (as in Whinny the Pooh, not poop poo), and Ryan managed to find something to climb.
Along our stope was one of the biggest Red Cedars! I realized I didn't get a full picture of the base of the tree, but seeing Ryan and Miles standing in the center of it gives you a good idea of its size. Mr. Miles could walk all the way through.
Amazingly, after our drive, the entire family got a nice long nap! Shocking with two kiddos in the same room. We woke up just in time to get out to the lake before the sun set and got some quality rock throwing time in.
Overall, the Lake Quinault Lodge was amazing. I was super impressed at how kid friendly it was. Especially all of the well maintained, large and mostly paved hiking trails. We will most definitely be going back! Besides, who doesn't want to end their day with a view like this!?