Wednesday night I was looking at the weather and Thursday was going to be hot down low. It also boded to be one of the last super nice days of the year (seriously, it was 84° at home!) The kind of weather where it’s balmy, sunny and the wind just right up high. Fall colors are popping like crazy. And…the trails are open, after being shut for half the summer, due to the forest fires nearby. However, not all the fires are gone, and driving up we drove through an active burn area above us, with pretty hazy smoke.

My friend Alicia and her son joined me. Her son is nearly 3, so just at the edge of being able to hike miles. Soon, if she lets Auntie Sarah have her way……

This leads to something though: I had not had a kid free, mid-week hike in the mountains in 8 years. As the boys got on the bus for school, a thought ran through my head: 8 years. The last time I did that I was pregnant with Walker and Ford was in his first year of middle school. So I ran.

Alicia had not been up to the Tipsoo Lakes/Chinook Pass area on Hwy 410, in Mount Rainier National Park before. During the summer I was going to take her there but yeah, forest fires popped up. Upper Tipsoo was just turning into Fall colors.

At the trailhead for the loop, I decided to push for the trail. He walked a nice chunk but tired out. The steps Rainier loves on trails are hard on little legs.

But….those colors. Tell me it’s not worth it? Oh it is.

I love this side of Tahoma. After the first snows dust her. And the bugs are gone. A few blueberries were still waiting.

Dewey Lakes in the distance.

I think Alicia got the “why” I hike on this trail. If you are going to show them how amazing nature can be, going in Fall on an amazing day will convert them.

Loved showing her Dewey Lakes so far down, and telling her about the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) and of what waits over there.

The trail was busy at times. But it was mid-week and most everyone was retired and perpetually happy. You just can’t be in a bad mood around that.

Because selfies need to be done!

For once Mosquito Home was free of them as we turned onto the PCT.

Looking down the PCT.

The tarn was in the sun, unlike most of the area under Naches Peak. There was a family of nudist kids swimming in the lake once we got down there. Can’t blame them. It was nice. However….I looked at my watch and became task master to get going. A big yellow limo was going to be back soon. Oops.

Where as all I wanted to do was go off trail and set up camp for a few hours ?

But we made it back home, to a couple of kids who might have been upset Mama went hiking without them.