Camping at the coast.

We had almost forgotten how much we love camping. Last year, we went solo with Caden and had a rough go, but this year we armed up with a bunch of good friends and had a blast on the Washington coast! We had a group of 15 (with kiddos) which meant lots of extra hands for cooking, cleaning, tending the fire, and playing with the kids. We made epic breakfasts, played at the beach, and enjoyed time together around the campfire. I also loved seeing Caden run free along the shoreline and romp around the campsite with his other friends. Cheers to campfire memories with good friends!

Camping | Diablo Lake.

We took our first camping trip with Caden.  I'll be honest - it was a lot more challenging than we anticipated. There were a host of factors: rain, cold, sleeplessness, and diaper blowouts were all at play.

But if I'm honest, there were also some joys amidst the trials: watching Caden explore in the woods, hiking as a family, finding reprieve at a nearby park, and seeing Diablo Lake (it was beautiful even in cloudy rainy weather)! 

I think the biggest takeaway from this trip is: no matter how much we plan and prepare, we are ultimately N O T in control. I'm learning to embrace the challenges of disrupted plans and seek joyful moments amidst them.

Glacier | Banff | & Jasper.

We just returned from a two week trip exploring Glacier, Banff and Jasper on what we've called our #zabelGBJadventure!  Each national park had such unique beauty.  Photos can't do justice for the magnitude, brilliance and complexity of the landscapes.  Here are a few photos and memories from each of the parks we explored.

Glacier National Park (Montana):  

  • Taking a dip in Lake McDonald after a hot day of hiking
  • A full day of rain meant: 1) morning breakfast at Eddies while strategizing how to effectively pack up camp to keep our gear dry, and 2) hanging out indoors at Lake McDonald Lodge
  • Going to the Sun road - epic beauty (when the clouds stay away!) 
  • Exploring Many Glacier: lunch at the lodge, hiking to Iceberg Lake and seeing a moose! 
  • Hiking the Highline Trail (we attempted 3x due to weather... and finally on our last day were able to make the 13 mile trek along the ridge line).  This hike included a gorgeous view of Grinnell Glacier, a close encounter with a mama grizzly and her cub, and so many beautiful flowers
  • Campfires (and s'mores) in the evenings

Banff National Park (Alberta, Canada):

  • That first shower after a week of camping... heaven!
  • Ski-lift ride up Mt. Norquay + lunch with a spectacular view
  • Hiking to the two tea houses around Lake Louise: Lake Agnes + Plain of Six Glaciers
  • Camping at a site with a bear proof electric fence (i.e they had had six grizzlies around the perimeter the day we checked in) 
  • Sunrise view of Lake Louise from our room (thanks for the upgrade Fairmont!) 
  • Canoeing on Lake Louise: the baby blue water is unreal!

Jasper National Park (Alberta, Canada):

  • Driving the Icefields Parkway from Lake Louise to Jasper.  We spent 5 hours taking in the breathtaking sites along the drive, but definitely could have taken more time! 
  • Dinner at a local brewery
  • The Miette Hot Springs after a long day of driving 
  • Celebrating our 3rd anniversary: relaxing by the pool, time at the spa and date night dinner with a view!

Quick camping weekend.

Last weekend we took a quick trip camping with some sweet friends up near Bellingham.  It was a relaxing break from the busyness of this past month! We drank coffee, made s'mores near the campfire, and napped. It finally felt like summer in the PNW! Here are a few photos from the weekend. 

4th of July Weekend | Mt. Rainier National Park

Kyle and I headed out to Mt. Rainier National Park with some friends this past 4th of July weekend. It was great to get off the grid to camp, hike and hang out by the fire!

Our initial plan was to hike to Camp Muir (base camp for the Rainier summit), but due to low clouds and white-out conditions, the ranger didn't recommend a trek to such high elevation. Instead we hiked to Panorama Point which still involved crossing snow patches, glissading, and some spectacular views!  

Hope you enjoyed your 4th of July weekend! 

Camping | Larrabee State Park.

Spent the weekend camping in the Chuckanut Mountains.  We met some friends on Saturday and hiked Oyster Dome, made s'mores by camp stove (no campfires due to burn bans), and fell asleep to rain drops on the tent. Sunday was a slow relaxing day walking around Bellingham and grabbing dinner with friends. Love exploring the Pacific Northwest one camping trip at a time. Here are some photos from the trip below. 

Summer Dreaming | 2015.

Summer is our favorite time in Seattle.  I love the sunshine and warmer, longer days.  But it always seems to slip by faster than expected, so it's great to make plans to ensure the time isn't wasted!  (I did this last year too; you can find the post here.)

Summer Bucket List 2015:  

Lots of camping + backpacking + hiking. 

Visiting the Christofferson farm in Wyoming.

Wine tasting in Eastern Washington. 

Picnics in the park at Green Lake.

The Welch wedding in Chicago.


Over the past few months Kyle and I have been slowly adding outdoor gear to our family collection.  This has meant many date nights at REI.  All of that collecting finally paid off as we spent this past weekend camping and hiking in the NW side of Mt. Rainier National Park.  We drove down on Saturday morning and hiked Tolmie Peak to see some breathtaking views of Rainier.  The clouds started to roll in shortly after we reached the top!  We had the obligatory Rainier beer with the mountain in view (partially).  We found a rugged camp site off the beaten path and enjoyed s'mores around the campfire.  In the morning we brought out our french press.  There's just something about drinking coffee in the woods ... it feels good for the soul!  Sunday we hiked through old growth forest to see Ranger Falls on the way to Green Lake.  It was a great weekend to get out of the city and into fresh air!