Monday, March 3, 2014

Tubing Fun at Snoqualmie Pass

Due to a race meet, Annika and Conor weren't scheduled to have swim lessons yesterday, so Eric and I decided to take them to Snoqualmie to go innertubing instead.

We pre-purchased our passes for the first session (there are a few two-hour sessions each weekend day to choose from ... a really impressive system, we had to say by the end of the experience!) The benefit of the sessions approach is the pass' tubing area is never overrun with people. The entire thing was well organized and all of the tubers were well mannered ... no crazy people running us over or anything. Can't complain about that!

The kids knew we were going on an adventure, but didn't know any of the details. As we got close to the mountains and started seeing snow, Annika began lamenting how she would LOVE to be able to play in so much snow. Eric and I glanced at each other and shared knowing looks/smirks. As we approached our exit, Eric announced that maybe we should pull the car over and just look at the snow from inside the car, because we didn't have our mittens... darn it! (smirk, smirk).  Soon after that, we announced that we really DID have our snow clothes and were going to play in the snow for a few hours. The kids were thrilled!

Gorgeous landscapes all around

Unfortunately, Conor's snow mittens were left at school Friday afternoon, so I dropped off Eric and the kids and then drove to the mail lodge to buy Conor some snow mittens. The up note was I got to use a real bathroom instead of the porta-potties that were at the tubing area. (Thank goodness for small blessings!) Considering how much snow was falling (the pass closed later in the day due to the large amount of falling snow), how wet we expected to get, and how windy it was, we know the knit gloves we got as a "at least we have these if we don't find anything up at the pass" in North Bend weren't going to cut it. We paid more than we would have liked, but Conor avoiding frostbite seemed the responsible thing to do. ;)

Annika waiting for our snowy adventure fun to get started
Soon enough, though, we were tromping through the snow toward the huge pile of innertubes.

Tube huntin'

Eric and his prize-winning tube

Conor in his tube

Annika ready to go!

We picked out two prime ones, loaded the kids into them, and then proceeded to hike up the hill.... mentally scoffing at the wimps who bothered to use the motorized tow line. About 2/3 of the way up the hill, amidst our huffing and puffing, we realized those people were really smart!! Dragging a tube filled with a 40-ish pound child up a rather steep slope was good exercise, but not the best choice for having our energy last for the full 2 hours. (Let's just say, we quickly adopted a love for the tow line!!)

Eric hauling Annika up the hill

Oh, bless you, inventors of the motoroized tow line!

We decided on a lane and buddied up on our tubes. Eric and Annika were on one tube while Conor and I shared another tube. Eric and Annika were off to the races. As they tubed down the hill, we could hear them whoop and "wooo hooooo" down the hill. As we approached the launching point, Conor told me he was "a little scared"; after reassuring him that I would be right there with him, he was willing to give tubing a try. After our trip down the hill, I asked him what he thought; he LOVED it and wanted his own tube... none of this "mom's slowing me down" nonsense.

Catching snowflakes
We made countless trips up (thank you, tow line) and down the hill. The kids had smiles that wouldn't stop ... in hindsight, it might have been more due to their faces having frozen that way than enjoyment, but we'll still take it!

My snowy selfie
Conor and Mama before our first run down the hill
Eric and me at the top of the hill

The Frozen Olsons
Annika zooming down the hill

Conor, speed tuber, going for the gold

Eric showing us how it is really done!

My turn!

During our last run, the kids decided they wanted to go first (instead of our usual parent, child, child, parent approach). We instructed them to get out of their tubes as soon as they stopped and to start pulling their tubes away from the lane. Annika did great, but got distracted with the snow (shocker). Conor did great, too, except for when he decided to walk toward me (mind you, I was flying down the hill on my tube by this point) instead of away from the tubing lane. As I propelled toward him, I frantically waved my arm and shouted for him to move out of the way. Oh, I wish I had a bird's eye view of the next second or two. I dug my toes into the snow to slow down, but wan't able to slow down enough to avoid colliding with Conor. I completely upended him ... very cartoon style! The only thing we were missing was the "Vwoop" sound as Conor's legs got pushed out from under him by my tube. Fortunately, he was fine! I asked him why he ran toward me instead of away. His reply? "I was sad that none of my family was there with me." I said, "But Annika was right behind you." "Oh. I didn't see her." Well, OK then. :)

Before we knew it, the tow line was shut off and it was time for our tubing adventure to end. Considering how much fun we'd had, I expected the kids to put up more of a fuss about having to leave, but I think fatigue, cold, and hunger overwhelmed the urge to pitch a fit about leaving. Personally, I felt like Donkey in the movie "Shrek" ... "Let's do THAT AGAIN!!"

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