North Cascades’ Thunder Knob: Ignoring the Road Blocks to Outdoor Escape

North Cascades’ Thunder Knob: Ignoring the Road Blocks to Outdoor Escape |

North Cascades’ Thunder Knob: Ignoring the Road Blocks to Outdoor Escape |

North Cascades’ Thunder Knob: Ignoring the Road Blocks to Outdoor Escape |

One recent Saturday, quite a few road blocks stood in our way to ultimately feeling like our time in the outdoors hiking was really worth our great effort of driving 3.5 hours both ways for just a day trip.  

First the obvious: We kept second guessing whether or not Bergen and I should have tagged along with Slaed on his work commitment in Washington’s Methow Valley.  A total of 7 hours driving is a little much even if what we had in store for us was the beauty of the North Cascades highway and the lovely town of Winthrop.

Maybe that explains our next little road block: Someone getting a little carsick on the way.  And to think he even warned us several minutes before the incident that he “didn’t feel good”.

We made it though, and after a good amount of exploring in that tiny western-themed town paired with a hearty lunch, we were hoping for a car nap from Bergen followed by a tot-friendly hike somewhere in North Cascades National Park.  Cue next road block: No napping occurred leaving us to wonder if Mr. Bright-eyes would even have enough strength and energy to make it up and down the trail.

Of course, we continued to press on despite the lack of shut eye, and I did my best to choose a spot in the park that would work in giving me the escape in the outdoors that I craved yet was easy enough for little legs, not to mention a growing pregnant belly.

Another mini road block came next: Crowds.  Something to be expected at a popular trailhead (and a beautiful summer day).  We could work around it.

North Cascades’ Thunder Knob: Ignoring the Road Blocks to Outdoor Escape |

As we navigated through the creek at the start of the hike, some of the travels being over bridges with rushing water underneath, some dry portions full of rocks and then into what I think of as the quintessential northwest forest, I was pleased.  A nice steady start, and that’s pretty much where the easy stopped, and…some whining (and switchbacks) commenced.

One more road block that goes along with that long drive: Time.  We didn’t exactly have all afternoon to  meander and dawdle if we wanted to return home at a decent hour.  So instead of toughing it out and encouraging more effort, into the backpack carrier went Bergen.

North Cascades’ Thunder Knob: Ignoring the Road Blocks to Outdoor Escape |

As we’ve expected, hiking at this stage of development, where the child is fully capable of walking, but not yet a “big kid”, is tough.  I learned my guidebook lesson here too.  Kid-friendly or “easy for children” does not necessarily apply to young kids, tots, preschoolers, or older toddlers. (As you can see, I’m still trying to figure out exactly what to call “them”.)  While the hike wasn’t such a great distance (3.5 miles round trip), it was challenging for a party of our circumstances.

At this point, I’ve got to really do my homework if I want the little guy to have a successful experience.  This is especially important when it’s just the two of us, because I’m certainly in no condition to carry him!

The road blocks were plenty throughout this particular day, but I’m counting this hike and adventure in the North Cascades as a win.  The escape into nature happened, the views gave us something to “ooh and ahh” over, and who doesn’t love that sense of accomplishment at the end of a tough trek no matter the miles?

North Cascades’ Thunder Knob: Ignoring the Road Blocks to Outdoor Escape |

Diablo Lake

Info to know: 

  • Thunder Arm’s trailhead is located in the Colonial Creek Campground off of Highway 20 in North Cascades National Park.
  • 3.5 miles round trip with options for lengthening your hike.
  • 625 feet of elevation gain.
  • Hikable year-round


What’s keeping you from enjoying the outdoors? Are these road blocks easy to ignore?

Come join the conversation! We’d love to have you join us on all of our adventures by “liking” our facebook page and following us on twitter! You can also keep up to date with each and every post by subscribing to the blog via email.

2 thoughts on “North Cascades’ Thunder Knob: Ignoring the Road Blocks to Outdoor Escape

  1. I just found your blog while searching for reviews on Okiwear rain suits (I can’t wait for ours to come now!), and just wanted to say thank you and hello! As a W. Washington native currently living elsewhere, getting to read about the PNW is a beautiful taste of home. 🙂 I absolutely remember the roadblock of hiking with older toddlers. Ours are 6 and 3, so really we’re still in it, but the transition was challenging. Someone told me to only expect kids to hike half their age in miles, and that really helped set reasonable expectations for me. But we’ve still managed to find some beautiful places even if we had to cut out the longer hikes now that the oldest is too big to carry. Looking forward to reading more! 🙂

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Lauren! So glad you were able to find more info on Oakiwear–we may just have to dust our son’s rainsuit off in the next couple of weeks…though this weekend is still supposed to be really nice here in Seattle.

      Love your tip/gauge for hiking distance with young kids–very good to keep in mind.

      Thanks again, and let us know if you’d like info on something specific.

We'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s