Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Spokane Adventuring: Iller Creek and Q'emiln Park

Sarah and I at one of my favorite places in Spokane
 Sharing my favorite places with people is one of the biggest joys in my life, even though sometimes I worry if the places I brag about will live up to the hype. Late last month I had the opportunity to share some of my favorite spots around Spokane with Sarah and the kids. First was Farragut State Park for my family reunion (which I wrote about earlier this week). Boy did I talk that place up! Rightfully so, as Sarah and the kids were very impressed and a great time was had by all. I also got the chance to take the kids to Q'emiln Park on the Spokane River in Post Falls, Idaho. This place is usually hit-or-miss depending on the crowds, but as we visited during the week, we had a nice stretch of beach all to ourselves. Considering the kids are more accustomed to desert reservoirs, they were plenty happy with the grass, and the trees, and the clear blue water.

Jonah testing his balance
We also hit up one of my favorite local trails at Iller Creek Conservation Area (which I've written about previously). When I lived in Spokane this was a trail that I normally hiked in winter and early Spring as a good training spot for the warm weather backpacking season. I think this was the first time I actually hiked the loop in the middle of summer. Accompanying Sarah and I was her oldest daughter Bianca, my cousin Jesse and his lady friend Alexis, my cousins Luke and Jen, and my Uncle Steve.

Jesse and Alexis
 The hike was even better than I remember, and such a welcome change from the desert heat. We hiked the loop counter-clockwise and the first 3 miles is a steady climb through a lush green tunnel of pines. It really makes you feel like you're deep in the woods even though the conservation area is just on the edge of town. Unlike Phoenix there was zero air-traffic, which unfortunately is something I'm becoming too accustomed to as of late. Another thing I noticed immediately was just the abundance of sounds. The buzzing bees, chirping birds, scampering squirrels, and the breeze blowing lazily through the trees provided the best soundtrack for a hike that I've had in a long time. It made me miss the Pacific Northwest for sure.

Lots of Bees

Overall it was a great hike, and everyone had an awesome time. I wish I could have done some more hiking when I was up there, but the circumstances just wouldn't allow it. I haven't been backpacking once this summer, which means this is the first summer in 5 years I haven't gone! Wow, that's depressing to say the least. Hopefully I can get out soon because I have 2 new tents that still haven't been used, and a backpack I'm supposed to be testing for The Mountain Blog. I better get on it!

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