At the beginning of the month, Seattle experienced some super early season snowfall. Naturally, I decided this was the perfect time to plan a surprise day away from the city for Adam. This time the stereotypically-not-so-great weather worked out in our favor.
A few years back we did a road trip from San Francisco to Seattle. Part of our planning was finding cool places on Instagram that we wanted to check out along the way. Adam found the Big Four Ice Caves, but we didn't have time to work it into our itinerary. The Ice Caves popped back up in my Insta feed without the help of the new algorithm, and I figured it would be a great, low-key day trip - short drive, easy hike, and great scenery.
After putting air in my back passenger tire (I should really get that fixed) and grabbing a hot chocolate from Vivace, we got an early (for us) start. We headed northeast and I continued to refuse to tell Adam where we were headed.
When we arrived, there were only a few cars in the parking lot and group was leaving. We bundled up and started down the boardwalk path. The amount of snow on the ground gradually increased as we walked on the easy to follow trail toward the caves. The walk was definitely longer than I expected, but it wasn't much elevation gain through the forest so I didn't complain too much.
The trail spit us out onto a snow-covered field of rocks with an amazing view of the Ice Caves. They were pretty wild to see in person. As I recited the avalanche and danger warnings from the trailhead by memory, I eventually gave in joined the other couples and groups exploring a little more closely. I definitely recommend you use your best judgment about walking around and entering the caves. We didn't stick around too long before the drips from the ceiling and giant ice chunks on the ground sketched us out too much.
We must have timed our trip perfectly because there were only a handful of people wandering around the caves at the same time. On our walk back to the car, we passed multiple larger groups and families. One family was armed with sleds, but I don't think there was quite enough snow for that to be enjoyable.
On our way back to Seattle, we stopped for gas in Granite Falls and decided to grab a late lunch at the BBQ Bucket. The BBQ Bucket was exactly what you would expect from a restaurant with that name in rural Washington. It was a small family-owned restaurant with your typical BBQ options - plus a BBQ covered baked potato that I still regret not ordering. Adam and I ordered brisket and pulled pork plates with different sides and shared. The food was great - definitely worth a stop in if you're driving through on your way to the mountains or you plan your own trip to the ice caves!