Noodle's Hiking Review
When we adopted Noodle we wanted to make sure we were able to continue hiking. While our type of hiking has changed, we still rely on WTA or Washington Trails Association to help us get there.
Noodle is capable of many things and hiking is one of them. We have learned that we need to pay attention to several key factors in picking a trail:
First is trail width. Noodle’s scooter does require quite a bit of width and this has limited us on a few trails we have tried but it does not stop us from trying again.
Second is elevation gain. Noodle is getting stronger but she is a puppy still and we want to make sure we keep her front half strong without over doing it.
Third is mileage. It’s tough pulling her scooter which is probably around 10lbs. She is getting more and more energy to continue tackling longer hikes. One day my dream scooter for Noodle would be made of carbon fiber with small little shocks to the back wheels for uneven terrain, and a collapsible rigid handle from the back to help lift her without bending over as much. Oh dreams, a girl can have them right?
Ok back to the topic…
Noodle’s list of hikes under her belt or collar I should say:
1. Several trail systems at Little Mountain State Park. These trails have been awesome. Challenging yet doable for our little girl. Can’t beat the proximity to our home and ease of going several times a week.
2. Deception Pass State Park – Goose Rock Trail was gorgeous on a snowy winter day. We did part of the trail as she was just a puppy then.
3. Another close spot to home and a great place for her to run is Skagit Wildlife Area. Totally flat and wide gravel trails. Room to zoom and views of Mt. Baker.
4. Japenese Gulch trail in Everett was one of our first semi failures. Noodle made it up several switch backs but the trail was really washed out and actively raining when we tried. Luckily we decided to hike back down and cruise along a flat trail by the railroad track for awhile.
5. Baker Lake has many great trails. Maple Grove is long and flat along the coast of the lake and again gorgeous views of Mt. Baker
6. East Rim Waterworks Canyon was warm and sunny at a time when the west side of the Cascades was still cold and rainy. Unfortunately the trail continued to have a lot of areas of very narrow passing and rock scree that meant Noodle was being carried 50% of the time by her hunky Dad so we turned back after about a mile.
7. Crescent Beach Preserve on Orcas Island was perfect for paralyzed pups and toddlers alike. This was one of Noodle’s first adventures into the woods with dear friends and their baby girl.
8. North Fork Trail around Tumalo Falls Oregon was a perfect width for Noodle and her cart. She needed help over some large rocks on the trail but nothing her Ruffwear Webmaster Harness and again her hunky Dad couldn’t handle. We did not complete the full length but this is still a success in our book. This trail is not found on WTA since it was in Oregon.
On WTA you can filter for multiple factors. While there isn’t an “accessible” feature or “ADA” option, we often filter for kid friendly hikes, mileage, and elevation. There is an article in WTA about ADA Accessible Hikes and hikes that are considered ADA will be listed as such once you find them on the hiking map. Remember hikes will have very specific parameters of accessibility to be considered ADA, typically meaning wheelchair accessible for humans.
This summer has many more hikes in store for Noodle. She is our #DailyInspiration. There are many trails in the Washington area that are ADA approved. Being physical therapists, we are always eager to encourage and motivate people of all abilities to enjoy adventures. My mother and father have been subjected to this outlook on more than one trip out to visit me. Many patient’s I've worked with have stopped participating in physical sports/hobbies because they cannot do the activity at the level they use to. Not letting our physical changes and abilities limit our experiences is so important to our happiness. None of us will be able to perform the athletic feats we once did at our peak level forever, but this is not a failure. Redefine what it means to be physically active as we experience changes with our bodies. Keep our body and our spirits happy and healthy with a little forest bathing; however, that my look to you.