The First Hike of Spring

The First Hike of Spring

Winter felt unceasing this year, which is remarkable since in January I didn’t want winter to end. But by March, snowshoeing and snowboarding lost their charm; I didn’t want to spend more time in the cold snow, considering the rains and cold temperatures refused to cease in the lowlands. I craved warmth and sunshine and the hints of it throughout March made me only want it more. This past weekend, we finally were able to embrace a break in the rain and enjoy our first hike of spring. 

The First Hike of Spring

The Cascades still team with up to 100 inches of snow in the passes, so hiking some of our favorite areas is currently out of the question. We certainly could hike them, as we have microspikes and snowshoes, but we don’t necessarily want to spend more time in the snow, at least this past weekend. If the sun was shining and the temperatures were in the 50s, we wanted to take advantage of them!

Ryan and I chose a hike in the Bellingham area, at a small state park. The draw of the location – along with the sunshine and no snow – were the views of the San Juan Islands and the saltwater beaches. I love Pacific Northwest beaches, mostly because I dislike the pervasive nature of sand. 

The First Hike of Spring

We began our hike around noon, since we had attended Palm Sunday church and then Ryan went for a run before we embarked on the 75 minute drive. Normally, this would be a late start for us, but we had no goals of distance – we simply wanted to spend time outside. 

We hiked only 2.5 miles, since Ollie is still in the prolonged puppyhood that is so characteristic of Labs. We are trying to train him not to pull on a leash, which requires frequent stops and training breaks. We’ve made improvements on running, but he still pulls on walks – and pulls excessively on hikes. If we want to do longer hikes with him in the summer, he needs to learn how to behave on a leash on a hike now. We want to keep him on a leash – it’s common courtesy to other hikers, especially since Ollie also loves to give random strangers hugs and kisses, and the last time he was off-leash on a hike, he zoomed far off-trail in pursuit of a squirrel. 

The First Hike of Spring

Ollie also has a new backpack for hiking, which is the cutest thing ever. He carried water, their bowl, puppy snacks, and my gloves and was very serious about his task – that’s the Australian Cattle Dog in him! I’m probably too excited about his backpack, but it’s just so adorable on him. 

The hike itself wasn’t exceptionally steep or stunning, but the smell of the woods and the vibrancy of the foliage were a treat as always. The sky was clear enough that the sun peaked through even the canopy of the trees. Those of you who live in the Pacific Northwest understand just how exciting it is to have sunny days after winter, especially an exceptionally rainy winter. 

The First Hike of Spring

Our hike brought us to a viewpoint overlooking the Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. We ate our lunches there and spend some time just gazing out on the ocean. The views made the short hike – which required just as much driving and preparation time as we were out hiking for – well worth it. 

The First Hike of Spring

Then, it was time to hike back down and head to the beach!

The First Hike of Spring

Our time at the beach was borderline comical: Charlie cried his little monkey noises at each wave while Ollie attempted to drink the salt water. Since we adopted Ollie almost 7 months ago, we have been attempting to get him to play in the water – after all, he is part Lab. We linked his leash and Charlie’s leash as a long tether and threw a stick out for him – and finally, Ollie discovered his love for the water. He then proceeded to play more in the water,  retrieve driftwood, and attempt to catch a seagull. 

The First Hike of Spring

After such a rainy and cold winter, this first hike of spring was exactly what both Ryan and I needed: sunshine, fresh air, saltwater, and leisurely time spent outside. 

Do you prefer mountains or the beach?
What’s your favorite way to celebrate the start of spring?

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18 Responses

  1. I am definitely a beach person, although your pictures make me wish there were places around here to hike! Ive been trying to spend time outdoors when its been warm enough, even if its just sitting on the deck. Ive also gotten in some nice walks- something I don’t do very often when its cold out!

  2. That just looks so peaceful. This winter has been weird–unceasing, as you said, but we had such a mild one that it feels like we can’t really say anything. Still, I’m ready for the warmth to come and to stay.

  3. Maybe it’s because I kept busy with house stuff and traveling and life was such a whirlwind this last month, but I thought winter went by pretty quickly. It was also really mild. March had its miserable patches but I thought the warmer and spring-like weather showed up rather promptly this year! Of course, though, I tremble at the thought of what this might mean for our midwestern summer.

    Looks like a lovely day for a hike! Sometimes the low-key ones are the nicest.

  4. Beautiful! Ollie’s little backpack IS adorable–you’re right to swoon! Thank goodness we’re starting to see the sun peak out a little here and there lately. Hopefully it keeps coming back and stays for longer.

  5. That looks like a perfect day! 🙂
    I was born and raised in Colorado, now live in southern California, so I absolutely love both the mountains and the beach! I probably prefer the beach now, but do love going to the mountains for that clean crisp air!
    We actually had quite a rainy winter here too (by SoCal standards 😉 ), but spring has definitely sprung! I know it’s really spring when we start grilling every night for dinner!
    Happy Thursday 🙂

  6. okay that doggie backpack is the cutest thing! I definitely prefer the beach and cannot wait for beach season to start here. it’s supposed to be in the 80’s on sunday so I was already thinking we should go for a bit to walk on the boardwalk!

  7. I prefer mountains, but the good thing about the PNW is that we don’t really have to choose! This winter has been sooo wet and cold, ugh. Last night I went for a run after the kids were in bed (but before the deluge returned) and it finally really felt like spring out there. I can’t wait ’til we have more reliable sunshine again.

  8. We took our first spring-y hike a couple weeks ago – but it looks like winter is back for this weekend.

    Our lab mix was like Ollie when we first got her – she was happy to play in the shallow water, but it took her months to figure out she could swim! Now we can’t keep her out of the water (unless it’s bath water).

  9. Gorgeous!! Your hiking photos always make me wish I could do more hiking! It’s tough at this stage of life. The girls don’t last long, and when we have a babysitter hiking doesn’t usually come to mind… but maybe it needs to! Hope you had a great weekend!

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