Happy Friday, friends! Can you believe we’re over halfway through the month of September? We’re also wrapping up Spencer’s second week of virtual school, Porter’s second week of the Owls (4s), and Mieke’s trucking right along in the Chickadee classroom. Ryan’s been extremely busy prepping for the upcoming change of command within his unit, and with that change of command comes inventory, which means notoriously longer hours…and stress. Lots of stress. I’ve been over here continuing to work two great freelance jobs while still (somewhat) looking around for full-time positions that interest me. What a strange year this is…but it’s coming to a close, which means it’s time for our PNW fall bucket list!
I’ve mentioned a few times that this is likely our last fall at JBLM. We’ve been here over 2 years, and most duty assignments for the Army are around 3 years long. Our stint at Fort Drum was 3 years and 6 months, partially because Ryan had to do a course en route to our new duty station. This time, however, a lot depends on COVID. We’re crossing our fingers that our timeline remains the same though, and we’re definitely doing our best to knock things off our comprehensive JBLM bucket list before we do move. So, we sat down and created our PNW fall bucket list, taking into consideration a lot of the weird things lately – like smoky skies, COVID closures, and a generally more stringent environment. But enough of that. Ready?
Our PNW Fall Bucket List
1. Visit Whidbey Island/Deception Pass State Park
I actually have a good friend who lives on Whidbey Island, though she’s sadly not there right now. Whidbey Island lies just North of Seattle in the Puget Sound and is hailed for its epic clifftop views, family-friendly forest trails, and freshwater lakes. We’re excited about the possibility of new adventure trails, exploring a cute island surrounded by the Sound, and see some of those views that people can’t get enough of. Plus, it seems like this one is perfect for a socially-distant fall.
2. Stay in a Yurt at Ancient Lakes
Ancient Lakes is one of those proverbial hidden gems in Washington State. Located in Quincy, Washington, Ancient Lakes Trail is a haven for backpackers, hikers, and families, alike. The aptly-named Ancient Lakes Trail offers views of one of the most stunning recessional cataract canyons, and there are yurts nearby. Yes. You read that right. Yurts. Our hope is to take a quick weekend getaway, stay in a yurt, and explore those epic vista views before the weather really turns.
3. Explore Naches Peak Loop
Naches Peak Loop is one of those easier hikes in Mt. Rainier National Park that’s hailed for unbelievable views. We’ve done a couple hikes in the park already – Emmons Moraine and Snow Lake – but this one has been on my list since we got here. I’m hoping that the sheer volume of people hiking will dwindle as fall progresses, and we’ll be able to really appreciate and soak up those moody views and skies before the fall colors are gone.
4. Enjoy a Fall Picnic at Point Ruston
Okay, so if you’ve followed my blog for some time, you know that Point Ruston has been one of our favorite city-centered locations since we first arrived. Most shops have been closed this year due to COVID, but there’s nothing better than a waterfront meal, and we’re hopeful to have a little picnic – even if we prepare it ourselves – to eat waterfront before it’s too rainy and cold.
5. Take a Rainy Day Trip to the Beach
There’s something beautiful about beach days…in the rain. Don’t believe me? Just wait and see. We hope to visit Ocean Shores on a drizzly, overcast day where the kids can play alone in the sand, splash in puddles, and we can let Danny run around wild and free. We may not love the tons of rainy days we get out here, but I’ll tell you this…rainy days become a lot more fun when you stop looking at them like a deterrent.
Much like our summer bucket list, we tried to whittle our list down and pare it back to five completely feasible things during this weird year. We’re excited to explore more, see more, and do more as a family, soaking up fall in the PNW for what may very well be the last time!
Tell me – do you have a fall bucket list?