Boulder Garden Loop

Good for kids the WTA hiking description says. It’s called out with a cute little graphic.

We took eight kids. They all did fine. But I sure as hell wouldn’t say it’s good for kids. The steep trail with loose rocks was not ideal for kiddo feet. Especially not the younger hikers. And it was questionable for me, carrying 30 pounds of Maive on my back going down the steep trail. Ever since I broke my foot from falling off the one pathetic step into our garage, I’m overly cautious. Perhaps I’m using overly cautious loosely—I don’t let my broken foot fall hold me back from doing anything. It’s just that I’m a bit more aware of the possibilities of breaking the sucker again.

The call outs. It kind of bothers me they aren’t consistent. Both are from the WTA Boulder Garden Loop description. The left is from the webpage and the right is from the app.

It was a Tuesday. Our first outing back home since our road trip. We took the previous two days off to recover from all the excitment of Lincoln City, the Redwood Forest, and being home in California. It was time to get back to summer. We made hiking plans with a friends we hadn’t seen in a while. Since last October I think?! We were overdo to hang out. I had mentioned I wanted to check off Boulder Garden Loop from my hiking list. I had found it a while ago, looking for kid-friendly hikes. It checked off all the boxes: under four miles, easy/moderate, and called out as good for kids. My friend was down, with her three kiddos, and we made plans to meet at 11am on Tuesday.

Parking was easy. I went for the overflow lot first, knowing the main lot would be full. Sure enough, it was. My friend tried there first before she ended up in the overflow lot. We set off on the parking lot connector trail, from the overflow lot to the main parking lot where the trailhead is located. After taking the standard trailhead picture that the kiddos are getting tired of doing, we set off up the trail.


The trail doesn’t mess around. At first, it’s a gradual uphill to a lookout not even 0.10 miles from the start. We stopped to check out the view before continuing on. The trail turns after the lookout and pretty much goes up right away. The trail description says Boulder Garden Loop gains 800 feet in elevation. I’m pretty sure those 800 feet all happen right away. It’s not that it’s hard; it’s that it’s unexpected. Especially with eight kiddos in tow, one of whom is a two-year-old toddler. There were a few comments from the older kiddos but for the most part, everyone rolled with the elevation. I was taken aback at how this is considered kid-friendly from the steep elevation alone. Not to get on this hiking trail too much, but from two recent trip reports (that I should have read before we went):

It’s pretty much all up without many breaks until you get to the highest point, then it’s all down. The trail is pretty rocky in some places, so I recommend poles if your knees or ankles give you trouble.

Quite steep and rocky in parts though, not sure it is for the kiddos. Might benefit from poles!


The trail up to Boulder Garden Loop is the same trail for Little Si. It splits off after the super steep part. Continuing straight goes to the Little Si summit; going to the right or left is Boulder Garden Loop. We went right. The trail went uphill even more. But not terribly long. Eventually we made it to where it flattens out. We kept on trekking, counter-clockwise on the loop. It was very pretty, boulders everywhere. I totally get the name. After a while hiking on the flat part, the trail goes back down. But not gradual. It goes down steep. Of course it does.

The hikers taking a break after going up the steepness. And trail signs.

By this point, I had Maive on my back. I put her in the hiking backpack mid-elevation climb at the beginning. She wasn’t happy about this; she wanted to hike on her own. But she was struggling a bit, rather going slower than the group wanted. Like turtle pace. I made the call to carry her. And I’m glad I did. Going downhill was way worse than climbing uphill. Stiff competition, haha.

The steepness. The bottom right picture is the trail that goes up and around the boulder. I took the picture after coming down, making a photographic note how steep the sucker can be. And really, it’s steeper than the pictures show.

Downhill was slippery. Not wet slippery, rock slippery. There are loose rocks galore on the trail, making slipping incredibly easy. I’m pretty sure we all slipped to some degree—only one kiddo fell down. The four-year-old. Thankfully they were okay, more scared than hurt. As a mom, you can tell cries even if they aren’t your own kiddo. Of course Baby was booking it down the steepness, running. I had to keep asking her to stop. But she’d run again. She has SO much energy that I think she could do Boulder Garden Loop like five times in a row. Running the entire time. And she’d still have energy left.

Random trail photos.

Finally down from the loop, we were back at the initial steep rocky area after the lookout. It still felt steep going down. We passed an older couple who looked impressed we had eight kiddos on this steep ass hike. Haha. Looking back, it’s comical. But at the time, it was only slightly funny that we hiked this one. It’s all good though. It was more of a workout than I had planned, with Maive on my back almost the entire time. And all the kiddos needed a good hike from the two rest days before—or three down days if you count Saturday when we drove 12 hours straight home. I’m sure their lungs and legs appreciated the exercise.

Hike, check. Instead of heading home, I made the call to go blueberry picking. I was planning on taking the kiddos the next day. But we were already in North Bend so why not?! Two of the kiddos weren’t thrilled but went along with my plan.

Every year we pick blueberries at Bybee Farms. It absolutely beautiful, the fields are literally under Mount Si. Each kiddo grabbed a picking bucket and we set off to the rows of berries. Not before I had them pause for a picture. One of these days I’ll get a nope.

Not something I usually participate in, picking berries in the hot sun without any shade around. It was mid-80s, way too hot in my book. And bright sunshine without a cloud in the sky. Awful weather. But I was on a post-hike high, even if the hike was questionable. It was all good. And the kiddos seemed to enjoy themselves.

We didn’t stay long. Just long enough to get an amount of blueberries that made it feel worth going. The one thing about having five kiddos pick blueberries, is that we ended up with just over 10 pounds in less than a half-hour. Maybe 20 minutes? It was a quick pitstop on the way home from hiking, and it saved us from having to go back out Wednesday. Saved us seems a bit harsh, more that we could enjoy Wednesday without the need to go anywhere. Not that we needed to go blueberry picking. But it was on my Summer of Sixes list, and I had to check it off, haha.

Blueberry success!

Back home I was done for the day. I was tired. I let the kiddos do whatever. The older four mostly chose technology—gaming for three and TikTok for Laine. Maive hangs close to me, putzing around doing toddler stuff. Bedtime rolled around after dinner, and Maive was the first one out. It had been a big day for her. Saige had hip hop at 7pm, and Brian took her along with Blaise and Laine (I can’t remember why Blaise and Laine went?!). I had Baby at home, awake while Maive slept.

Baby wanted to watch a music video. I forget which one? With Maive asleep, Baby and I watched her video request on YouTube. She was pleased and then asked if she could play Roblox. Sure, I said. Which left me on the couch with YouTube loaded on the television. Normally I can’t sit down—there’s always something to do. And even when I do sit down with the plan to veg out, my mind always finds something that needs to be done. Like remembering I saw dust on the bathroom baseboards, that need to be cleaned the minute I remember. I cannot relax. It’s becoming an issue for me, and I’m trying to figure out how to change this. No luck yet. I’m sure it’s an avoidance thing. But this night, something happened. I plopped on the couch and went down the YouTube rabbit hole. And I Did. Not. Move. It felt glorious.

Watching YouTube is not something I typically do; I’ve opened YouTube to watch videos maybe 10 times since it’s been around. Then again, I’m not a big anything watcher. Unless TikTok counts. But even then, I go in spurts. Anyway, this night I was all about music videos. I went back to the ’80s. Because of course I did. Laine is quite proud that the music game on Google Home placed her age around mine, based on her knowing so many ’80s songs. Haha. And a rare YouTube night is not complete without watching Freddie at Wembley Stadium. Not only is his performance amazing but watching the massive crowds without a single cellphone in hand, so freaking nice! I never want to go backwards but sometimes I long for the days when technology wasn’t so prominent in our everyday lives. I’m just as guilty as the next person.

Freddie and George from the couch.

Watching Freddie made me want some George. And why not watch George sing Freddie?! I somehow ended up watching a video from one of those talent shows, with a guy named Tape Face. It wasn’t particularly my thing but I called Baby in because I knew she’d appreciate him. Sure enough, she did. And we were in the midst of watching a compilation of his performances with Brian and the three kiddos came home. They all sat down and we ended up watching a bit more of the Tape guy.

It was the first night in ages where I literally just sat. I didn’t get up the entire time Brian was gone. Well over 90 minutes. And it felt glorious. I need to do this again. I haven’t since; it’s been 52 days. Maybe this weekend. Maybe.

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