McBrides Take over the Pacific Northwest

Sares Head- .75 miles there and back. 150 elevation gain

Pass-none     Difficulty-1/5     Rating-5/5

Chris’ dad, Bryan, teaches at a college in Arizona so every summer he has off. Chris’ mom, Nadine is a stay at home, and his siblings, Michael and Brianna are/were in high school. Since everyone has the summer off they do all their traveling in the summer. This summer we were supposed to go on a big hike (almost 60 miles) and summit Mt. Whitney (the highest point in the continental US).  Nadine and my mom were going to stay home and babysit my kids while Chris’ dad, brother, and sister all hiked with us. Crazy enough this winter was a huge snow year for the Sierra Nevadas (the mountain range Mt. Whitney is apart of.) and we were going too early in the season to have had the snow melt in time for our trip so we had to cancel that trip. Chris and I still thought about going to AZ, having grandmas watch our kids while we hiked, possibly in Colorado. But we thought, why leave the amazing Washington summers? We decided to invite the McBrides up to Washington to hike with us here instead of us flying to Arizona to drive to another location to hike. We decided on doing an easier backpacking trip so that Nadine and the kids could go with us. (This was going to be Nadine’s first time backpacking with her family, so everyone was super excited about this plan!)

This summer the McBrides were also going to go on a  big trip to Europe. (England and Holland mostly.) They checked for plane tickets out of Phoenix, and out of LA and they were all pricey. We had told them before that flying to Europe out of Vancouver Canada is normally cheaper than flying out of the states so they decided to check it out! Turns out it was a whole lot cheaper so they decided to book their trip flying out of Vancouver, Canada since they would be up here anyway (Vancouver is about 2-2 1/2 hours away). So their plan was that they would drive up to Seattle from Arizona, stay a night at our house, then head on up to Canada and fly out. Then once their Europe trip was over they would come back and stay 1 week with us (and going on a backpacking trip then) before driving back home to Arizona.

The night before their flights to Europe they got into our house super late (super early) in the morning, so we didn’t get to see them. The next morning we got to see them quickly and they were off about the same time I took kids to school. It was like torture for the kids to see them for about an hour, say goodbye and wait for 2 weeks to see them again! But it was fun to having something to look forward to. While they were gone we started to plan for our backpacking trip. We had recently gotten kayaks and Chris and I both wanted to go on a paddle trip. We talked to the McBrides and they were ok with us going on a paddling trip instead of backpacking trip, so we got all the logistics figured out for our paddle!

The McBrides were coming back to our house a day after Lillian’s birthday and they were supposed to be to our house around dinner time so we decided to do a birthday BBQ to celebrate Lillian’s birthday with them! They let us know when they landed so we knew when we should expect them. As it turns out when they made it back to their truck they noticed they had a flat tire. With a small delay they were headed our way and we were so excited! That night at our BBQ it was so much fun to hear all about their trip to Europe. They had a great time!

We figured they would probably have jet lag so the next day we wanted to take it kind of easy for them, have time for them to pack up for our paddle trip, and we wanted to take them on an easy paddle before our big trip to see how they would do in the kayaks. Bryan also needed to get his tire fixed before we went off on our trip. (Shout out to Les Shwab for fixing his tire for free!) That evening we took them out to The Arboretum to paddle in Lake Washington near UW. This is a super easy paddle and very pretty as well. We could see how everyone paddled and we could try to figure out who would paddle with who on our trip. I think it was a great way to ease everyone back into this time zone and ease them into paddling. That night we got all our backpacking gear loaded up and we were ready to head out the next day to Long Island at Willapa Bay.

We left late morning for our 3 1/2 hour drive to Willapa Bay. We only made one quick pit stop for lunch. At lunch we were able to celebrate Bryan’s birthday with a free desert and we were on our way. (Bryan was happy to be out in nature with his family on his birthday!)  We were all super excited for the kayak trip because none of us had done anything like that before, but I think we were all a little nervous since we didn’t know what to expect! We ended up having a great time and I think we would all go back and do it again! If you want to hear about our whole trip feel free to click here to read it!

We were camping for two nights then we headed back home. We stopped to get some Thai food at our favorite restaurant, Pop Pop Thai, but since we were nasty from camping we just took it home with us to eat. While we were eating we were talking and decided we hadn’t had enough kayaking, and we decided to take them out crabbing. We have really enjoyed crabbing ourselves and we thought it would be a lot of fun to take The McBrides out in our kayaks while we caught some crabs! (When crabbing make sure you have a licence and follow the rules!) I think we were all still pretty tired from our paddle trip earlier, but if we wanted to crab, the only time we could go crabbing was then. (You can only crab on the weekends.) We decided it was worth it and we were off again!

We took them paddling near Kayak Point. There is beach access just up the road that we used to put in our kayaks. (Kayak point would have been way too busy on the weekend before the 4th of July). The day was beautiful and we knew we had made the right choice to go out! As we were kayaking we noticed that the tide was still out pretty far so we had to paddle out pretty far to find a decent place to put in our traps. Lots of other people had the same idea as us, so there were hundreds of traps out! (The traps go deep in the water so you cant see them, but they are all attached to buoy, so we could see hundreds of buoys floating.) We paid close attention to where we would drop a trap, then we would paddle out and drop another. We have three traps so we did this three times.  We were able to see several Sea Lions out with us and that was a lot of fun!

By the time we dropped our last trap the weather was changing. It was getting windy and the water was getting a lot more rough. Chris was getting a little nervous because the waves were splashing into our kayak. (We didn’t really feel like we were in danger, but we wanted to end on a high note) so we knew it was time to get out of the water. Since we had to paddle out so far to drop the traps where it was deep we had a decent paddle back to shore. We split up to go bring in our traps, but sadly we only found one of them. The weather was getting worse and so was the water and we decided to leave the other two trips behind and we’d come back for them another time.

We made it back to shore cold, wet, but safe. We pulled in our kayaks and we had to walk to get our parked cars. (No parking where we put in, so we had to drive up the street a ways to park there.) The kids were crying because they were cold so we decided we’d take off their cold, wet clothes and let the kids hang out in the van while while we loaded up. During this whole process somehow Bryan’s keys got locked in his truck, so we finished loading the kayaks, called roadside assistance, and the men waited. Us ladies decided that we would drive home with the kids while they waited.

It had been several hours since we had eaten so we decided to get fast food at Dairy Queen for our drive home. As we were in the drive through lane a person noticed we had a flat tire and let us know. He offered to change it for us, (which was so kind…although I will say my dad made sure to teach me how to change a tire so I do know how to do) but we decided that the men weren’t far behind us, they would need to eat too, so we’d wait for them. I did pull into a gas station to put air in the tire while we waited. The men came about 15 minutes later, after the truck was successfully unlocked. Chris and Nadine switched spots so Chris was driving the van now and Nadine was riding with Bryan.

The tire held air the rest of the drive home (but was totally flat the next morning.) and we all made it back with out any (more) incidents! Once everyone was home we talked it over and we decided that we really needed to go back for our traps. Sunday morning we (Chris, Brianna, and I) woke up super early and headed back up to Kayak Point. We took two kayaks and we split up looking for our crab traps. Chris was able to find both of them (exactly where we had left them) with crabs in them! It was a quick trip, but a lot of fun and it was great that we were able to accomplish what we set out to do!

We went to church later that day and we took it easy the rest of the day. It was great to have a small break after all of that kayaking!

Monday, Chris, Bryan, Brianna, and Michael hired a guide and they went out rock climbing at Mt. Erie. They were gone all day! They all came back super happy and we could tell they had a lot of fun! They all raved about what a beautiful place it was, where they went climbing, and those that didn’t go were jealous we couldn’t see the views!

While they were climbing Nadine, the kids, and I had a lot of fun too! We were gone all day! We took the kids to the new Minion movie and then we went to Target and Nadine let Lillian pick out some toys for her birthday. We even went to the Thornton A. Sullivan Park in Everett. We really did have a lot of fun! We made it home just after the rock climbers made it back, but since we weren’t home they took the van to Costco to get the tire fixed on it (a nail).

Tuesday we decided that we all really wanted to see where the rock climbers climbed and I had heard about a hike in that area as well that sounded like fun. I know Michael wasn’t that excited about hiking, but he was a great sport, so we were off.

We hiked the Sares Head trail at Sharpe Park in Anacortes. Its an easy, short hike (less than a mile) with about 150 feet elevation gain. You hike through the forest out to a bluff overlooking Puget Sound. This is a good place to whale watch from the land as well. We had never been here before so when we weren’t sure what to expect, but I think it left us all speechless. Michael even said this is the most rewarding 3/4 mile hike hes ever been on. I think everyone loved sitting on the rocks looking off into island dotted sound. Michael, then Chris and Ryan decided to see how close to the water they could hike. Brianna and I went about half of what they did and we just loved looking out into the water. Our looking paid off because we saw a sea lion, then we saw what we think were dolphins swimming down below us. Everyone was able to see the marine mammals below us (not just the few on the edge of the cliff). It was so fun watching the animals swimming and playing! The kids were getting bored so Chris and I started hiking back before the rest of the group. On our way out we saw a bald eagle flying right by us. The rest of the group caught up to us shortly (they also saw the bald eagle)and we had a nice hike back to our cars!

Mt. Erie is about a 10 minute drive from Sares Head, so we drove up Mt. Erie. This is the first time I had been there and I didn’t even know it existed before Chris went climbing there. You drive all the way up to the top of the mountain. You park, you walk about 20 feet and you are at some amazing view points! There are some view points with steps, but this is definitely accessible to all! We all loved looking out! We could see lakes, the sound, islands, mountains, and farmlands, everything that makes the Pacific Northwest so great! It was so pretty! Chris wanted to show us where he went climbing to see if we could bring the kids to climb here. We scrambled down a steep, slippery path and saw where they went climbing. It was fun to see, but a bit tricky with the kids. We also let the kids boulder some.

It was a great day and a great way for the McBrides to finish their trip with us! We loved having them and we had a lot of fun! Not everything went perfect, but it definitely made for some great memories! The only thing that would have made it better is if Andrew, Kerby, Ashley, and Everett were able to come too! Maybe next time!

































































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