There are a number of outdoors-related options if you are looking for something different to do this Thanksgiving holiday.
Want to skip the tryptophan-induced visit to slumberland, take the family and relatives to Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park. If you want to make an overnight trip, consider the Hoh Rain Forest at Olympic National Park.
If you want to get your day started with a run, there are four taking place Thursday morning.
If you don’t want to do the cooking Thursday, three lodges within the parks will be serving Thanksgiving dinner.
Here are some events taking place later this week, as well as some suggestions for getting out of the house:
CHRISTMAS TREE HUNTING
The three national forests in the South Sound – Gifford Pinchot, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie and Olympic – are selling permits to people wanting to cut their own Christmas trees.
Recent snows might make accessing trees at higher elevations more difficult, but there should be snow-free roads at lower elevations. Be sure to check each forest’s website for current road conditions.
You can get details on obtaining permits by reading our previous story at tinyurl.com/n82reh9.
Venture inside Mount Rainier’s Nisqually entrance and enjoy a Thanksgiving buffet at the National Park Inn at Longmire. The inn’s traditional buffet will be available Thursday from noon-6 p.m. The cost is $19.95 for adults and $12.95 for children 10 and younger. Among the items on the buffet: herb-roasted turkey with cranberry and sage-scented stuffing, Northwest mushroom béchamel, sweet potato souffle and roasted chioga and golden beet salad. Desserts and beverages included. Reservations are required, so contact the inn at: 360-569-2411.
The Lake Crescent Lodge and Kalaloch Lodge in Olympic National Park also will serve meals on Thanksgiving.
The Lake Crescent buffet will be served 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The cost is $29 for adults, $25 for seniors, $12 children ages 4-12 and for children 3 and younger. To make reservations, call 360-928-3211.
At Kalaloch Lodge, the kitchen staff will serve a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in the Creekside Restaurant from 11 a.m.-8 p.m., It will feature offerings such as carved oven-roasted turkey, pineapple/honey-glazed ham, butternut squash bisque and wild mushroom stuffing. To make reservation, call 360-962-2271, Ext. 4007.
MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK
The Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise is open on weekends from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The visitor center will also be open on Thanksgiving and Friday, as well as Dec. 21-Jan. 1.
While there is not enough snow to open the snowplay area, there should be enough to try snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or hiking up and skiing or snowboarding down.
During weekdays, rangers will be available from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. in the Longmire Visitor Information Center, inside the historic Longmire Administration Building.
The Quinault Lodge will host a rainforest tour each day at 9:30 a.m. The guided trip takes participants through the Quinault Rain Forest, including a number of photo stops. The cost is $30 for adults, $15 for children ages 7-12 and free for children 6 years old and younger. To learn more about the three-hour tour, go to olympicnationalparks.com/activities/rainforest-tours.aspx.
Also on Thanksgiving, the lodge is hosting pumpkin boccee ball at 3 p.m. using its leftover Halloween pumpkins.
There are four Turkey Day runs in the South Sound. They are:
Gig Harbor Turkey Trot: The event features 5k and 10k runs through historic downtown Gig Harbor. The trot raises money and food items for the Peninsula FISH Food Bank and Key Peninsula Lutheran Church Food Bank. The runs start at 8 a.m. Registration is $15 plus two cans of food. This can be done online by Monday. Late registration is $30.
Norpoint Turkey Trot: The Northeast Tacoma event features a 5k chip-timed run, a 2-mile nontimed run/walk and a Kids’ Trot for children ages 3-10. Runs start at 9 a.m. at the Center at Norpoint, 4818 Nassau Ave. NE., Tacoma.
Registration is $35 Sunday and $45 on the morning of the race. The Kids’ Trot is $10 if pre-registered and $20 on the day of the event. At South Sound Running stores in Tacoma and Puyallup, participants can register in person for $25 through Monday.
Information: 253-404-3900, metroparkstacoma.org/trot
The Oly Trot: This family event is a benefit for the Thurston County Food Bank. Participants are asked to bring at least two nonperishable food items to the run. The run begins at 9 a.m., with the Tot Trot at 8:30 a.m., at Heritage Park in Olympia. Registration: $35 the day of the race.
Tacoma City Turkey Trot: This event has a 5k run/walk and 1k kids run through the Proctor District of Tacoma. The event starts at 9 a.m., with the kids run starts at 10:15 a.m., at Fleet Feet, 3812 N. 26th St., Tacoma. Registration is $35 through Monday, when online registration closes; $40 at packet pick-up on Wednesday; and $45 on race day. The kids race is $10 or $15 after Monday.
This time of year, area rivers and streams are full of chum salmon making their way upstream to spawn. Watching these large fish, some topping 20 pounds, makes for a great way to spend part of a day and includes an educational bonus for youngsters.
Among the best options are Minter Creek on the Key Peninsula and Kennedy and McLane creeks outside Olympia. There are numerous streams on the Kitsap Peninsula, including Big and Little Mission creeks near Belfair, Salmon Berry Creek near Port Orchard, Seabeck Creek near Seabeck, Twanoh Creek at the south end of Hood Canal and Clear Creek near Silverdale.
Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640