If your kids (or maybe you….) are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, an easy day hike is a great cure. Sure, it’s rainy, but it’s really not that cold, and even a chilly walk beats sitting inside looking at the stack of cards you haven’t sent while your kids watch T.V. and whine about a bunch of toys they’re not going to get because you’ve already bought too darn many. Just me?
We took the boys down to the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge Sunday. I’ve mentioned this spot a few times, but if you haven’t been lately, you should know that there have been dramatic changes. Nisqually is a unique environment where salt water from the sound mixes with fresh river water. As a result, it hosts an amazing variety of birds. My husband actually counted 23 bald eagles!
For many years, dikes kept the salt water out while farmers used the rich soil to plant. In the ’60s the land was sold and preserved, and in just the last year the dikes have been breached, and the land is returning to its natural state.
Of course, this means that some of the trails you used to walk on are now under water, but other trails have been built that allow for some truly amazing views. Now, bummer alert: The coolest part of this trail is going to be the boardwalk that will actually allow you to walk out over the water. It’s been constructed, but isn’t going to open until early February. There are still plenty of other trails to do, though, and what I like about this hike for kids is that they’re all flat. In fact, you can even take a stroller. There is also a small visitor’s center with some exhibits where you can get brochures explaining what birds you might see and rent binoculars if you didn’t bring your own. Hint: Kids looooove binoculars! Dogs aren’t allowed and parking will cost you 3.00. Do make sure everyone is bundled up and bring some snacks. Cold and hungry = we should have stayed home!
Too far to go or too ambitious? You might consider doing the trails around Snake Lake, Swan Creek, or the West Hylebos. All offer nice escapes from holiday crowds. Here’s my post with info. on most of these. Chambers Creek also has some good ones. You’ll find that link in my in-law post.
Just keep in mind that all area schools are out right now, so try to come up with some place everyone else hasn’t thought of, too-or consider going somewhere like Jump! in Gig Harbor that takes reservations and limits attendance. Or perhaps you’d like to join my unpaid research team and check out the new kids’ museum in Gig Harbor??
Let me know what you’d like to read more about, and I’ll see what I can do to help make your day a more merry one!