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Trip Report

Hurricane Hill, Marymere Falls — Saturday, May. 23, 2015

Olympic Peninsula

Trip Report By

Type of Hike

Day hike

Trail Conditions

Trail in good condition


Road suitable for all vehicles


No bugs


Snow free
My daddy-daughter camping trip exceeded all of my expectations. My daughter is 2.5 years old, so I was a little unsure that doing a camping trip alone with her was a good idea. Both of us wanted to go camping and she's pretty well behaved, so I figured that I'd give it a shot. In the worst case, I'd have one sleepless night and drive home the next morning. Regardless of what happened, I figured that I'd learn something. I headed to the Olympics because the weather looked best there, and because I thought she'd enjoy the ferry ride. We stayed at Heart o' the Hills, which was much nicer than I expected a huge car campground to be. I set up our tent while she ate a snack at the picnic table. Then we headed up to Hurricane Ridge for an easy dinner - sandwiches that my wife had prepared that morning. She enjoyed the tunnels on the drive up, and the herd of deer at the top. The mountain views were pretty nice as well. The next morning we went back up to Hurricane Ridge and did the hike to Hurricane Hill. She napped on the drive up, so I had a little time in the parking lot to get organized for the hike and subsequent meals. She hiked about 1 mile on the way up to the hill, and spent the rest of the ascent on my shoulders. At the top we enjoyed views, marmots, and deer. The chipmunks were far too aggressive, though, and scared her when they approached and tried to get her sandwich. Please don't feed chipmunks. On the way back down she was tired so I put her in the Ergo. I thought she'd nap, but she was awake for the whole trip down. It was too early to go back to the camp site when we finished the hike, so I drove out to the beach for a snack and some running around. That night I made scrambled eggs for dinner, which is easy enough to cook while watching a small child. The next morning we drove to Marymere Falls. She fell asleep in the car, so I found a scenic pull-out and made some tea while enjoying views of Lake Crescent. After her nap, we spent some time snacking and playing on a nearby beach before heading to Marymere. On the way to Marymere, my daughter took another nap. I didn't want to wake her up, but it was getting late and I wanted to do the hike. I decided that if I made a bunch of noise organizing the car and getting ready for the hike that she'd wake naturally. That worked pretty well, except that she wasn't fully awake for the hike. She wanted to stop every few feet to snack, and generally had low energy. I put her in the Ergo and made my way to the falls. I met a nice couple there with twins, which was great because I hadn't had any significant conversations with an adult in two days and also because I have 3 week old twins. On the way back down my daughter declared that she wanted to walk. She crossed the two bridges holding my hand, and then we went out to the gravel bar on the river, where she spent a while learning how different size rocks make different size splashes when thrown into the river. I kept her moving on the way back by playing "red light / green light" and doing some balancing on logs. She also enjoyed running to me when I'd walk backwards down the trail. The tunnel under highway 101 and a hollowed-out tree that she could stand in were also big hits. That night we had bean burritos, which are much more difficult to cook properly on a camp stove while watching a young child. That night I learned a few tricks for how to get my daughter to sleep. Saying "go to sleep" is too abstract, but "lay still, be quite, and close your eyes" is much more understandable. I said that and then I laid down next to her. She decided to pat my back and rub my back and head. She was putting me to sleep. It was so sweet! The next morning I was planning on going out to Anderson Lake for another short hike, but I was really tired and the weather was gloomy outside of the Port Angeles rain shadow. Instead, I opted to take an early ferry back. My daughter enjoyed the ride, but the most memorable thing about the ferry was the loud horn that the ferry blew as it approached its destination. The weekend went much better than I expected, and brought me closer to my daughter. I've been focused on twin preparation and work for the last few months, so it was nice to spend such a large block of uninterrupted time with my daughter. Doing the trip solo also gave me a lot more confidence in my ability to take care of her while my wife is taking care of our new twins. I got much better at getting her to do what I wanted -- my trick: respond to a tantrum by getting down on her level, telling her to look at me, and after she did that I'd calmly explain what I wanted and why it was necessary. Prior to the trip I wasn't even sure that it was a good idea, but I did it out of pure excitement for camping and hope that it would go well. After the trip, I'm so glad that I did it and plan on doing more daddy-daughter camping trips this summer. Here are a couple of things that I learned on the trip: * Always have the diaper bag accessible * Campground picnic tables are too large for a 2 year old. Luckily I brought a small folding table. * With surprise naps, a flexible itinerary and bite-sized activities are a necessity * I brought way too much stuff, and that made it difficult to find the stuff that I actually needed * A walk to the bathroom after dinner helped tire my daughter out before going to bed * Camping with a young child is exhausting, and the hours that we spent picnicking on the beach were great. * I really wanted some rest when I got back home, but my wife was still at the hospital taking care of the twins. Next time I'll arrange to have her or someone else ready to take over when I get back home * It was great to have gifts and surprises for my daughter. A new pair of sunglasses, a new hat, some toys that she hadn't seen in a while - these were all useful when deployed at strategic moments * Always have 2 clean bandanas in your pocket * Don't introduce a new and exciting food to the table after your daughter already has a full plate of food Things I learned about food preparation: * Cooking while watching a small child is stressful, especially when you've never cooked at camp before. * When a meal involved too many side dishes, I invariably forgot to make or serve one of them * Bananas were a big hit, and also easy and relatively clean * Yogurt is messy, requires too many utensils, and comes in the wrong size portions * Muffins are a great easy breakfast * Scrambled eggs are also great and easy to make * Have everything completely prepped before turning on the stove * Appetizers were a great way to keep my daughter occupied while I cooked, but decreased the amount of dinner she ate