White Ranch Park
Belcher Hill Trail: 1.1 miles one way
After a week in the midwest, we were excited to get back to our outdoor oasis. AJ was also excited to go to “hiking time” as he calls it. Hiking time has become a time where AJ can roam freely (well almost), and it seems like he really looks forward to the freedom of running around and exploring. MJ is just starting to walk and I have begun to carry him on my back which gives him a whole new perspective on our hikes – he has a 360 degree view of our beautiful surroundings.
Joe and I know of a lesser known entrance to White Ranch, and so we arrived around 10:00 am. There were only a handful of other cars in the parking lot. We hopped out of the car enthusiastically, excited to begin our trek. White Ranch is cool because in addition to the mountain bikers, runners, and other hikers that we are used to, there are also horses on this trail. At one point a ranger invited us to pet his horse. AJ refused, and we didn’t push him. He talked about it for a while though.
Along the Belcher Hill Trail which is really just the trail into White Ranch Park, we were accompanied by a small river, large rocks, and some trees – here and there. This particular trail is a great winter hike because it is wide open. There aren’t many trees to shade you, and the views of both the mountains and city are expansive. The wide open spaces offer plenty of sunshine. We will probably avoid the eastern part of White Ranch in the summer for this very reason.
Playing games and singing songs have become our go-to motivators when hiking with our kids. Bingo is a huge hit with our family right now! A little entertainment goes a long way for an almost 3 year old. We sang and hiked our way up Belcher trail. Once we arrived arrived at the Whippletree trail crossing we found a place to sit and picnic. Our go to hiking foods are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Lara Bars and of course a few blocks of dark chocolate. We also carry plenty of water.
The food fueled our trek back to the parking lot. On the way down we noticed the mansions that sit along the trail and wondered what life would be like to live large in terms of square footage and access to this open space area. It’s important to dream, but it’s more important to love your own reality and to count your blessings. Hiking reminds me of this and that is why we are making it a lifestyle versus a once in a while thing.
Until next time:
“May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”