The Best Dam Experience

The Best Dam Experience

When I arrived back to Seattle after months away, my calendar was full of fun activities catching up with friends. My friend Kelly organized a camping trip in Eastern Washington where the highlight purpose was running a 5K over Grand … Continue reading

Quinessentially Northwest Camping: Day Three & Four

The second morning went very much like the first; Coffee was first and foremost. The forecast predicted the warmest day of the year, so we thought we should get an early start on our hike. Hiking wasn’t something I was ecstatic about, but I thought since I walk an average of 5 miles a day in the city, I would be well prepared. I was completely wrong. We hiked up to Pyramid lake, which was beautiful, but more strenuous than I was anticipating. At times I wish I would’ve straddled the St. Bernard and had Phoebe take me up the mountain. She seemed to have no problem, even with her saddlebag. I was flying to Boston a couple of days after our trip to be a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding and was overwhelmed with the fear of  mosquito bites, poison ivy, or a twisted ankle.  I promised Alex that I would show up to the wedding in one piece and ready for pictures, and I had every intention on delivering on that promise.  While climbing over rocks and trees, crossing creeks on logs, and dodging a wasp’s nest, I had decided this was my first and last hike.

After we ate lunch at the lake and I was full from my yet another lunch of Italian cured meats, the hike down was really enjoyable, if not fun. We stopped at a creek to refill our water canteens and it was the most delicious things I have ever drank. Glacial water from the Cascades is said to be among the purest water on the continent and it certainly tasted like it. Water bottles filled, we continued down the path until we reached a large berry patch and heard a rustling in the bushes. Joe, Jane, David and I all turned to the right fully expecting to see a deer or two. Twenty feet away from us barreling through the woods (thankfully in the opposite direction) was a large black bear. It doesn’t get more exciting than that for your first hike. By the time we got back down, I understood why so many people love to hike. Although I was miserable at times on the way up, the rush and the sense of accomplishment I felt on the way down was enough to make me do it again. I survived the hike without a scratch, sting, sprain or bear-bite, but had my fair share of mosquito bites. As it turns out, natural bug spray doesn’t work. I’ll take the chemicals next time, thanks.

Drenched in sweat, we headed back to camp to unwind before dinner. One of my favorite things about hiking I decided, was feeling like you deserved all the food and wine in the world. I earned it…right?  For dinner we had: figs and prosciutto, handmade hot dogs from a local Snohomish butcher, Boston baked beans (recipe to follow), peperonata and grilled corn on the cob. The hot dogs were amazing and unlike anything I have had before and believe me, I’ve had my fair share of sausages and hot dogs (including Kobe beef dogs). Our group doesn’t take camp cooking lightly and we won’t starve anytime soon.  I was a tad sad getting into my sleeping bag that night, knowing we had to pack up and drive back the next morning. I wasn’t ready to leave the woods and head back to the city. In the morning while feasting on eggs, bacon and sausage, we started planning our next camping trip. It made it a little easier to leave knowing we would be exploring another part of Washington state soon. I went from camping novice to camping lover really quickly.

We made friends with the Ranger. He was adorable.

Cascade National Forest

David collecting glacial water to drink

Berries for the bear!

Pretending to be happy on the hike up

Actually happy on the hike down

Someone else was exhausted from the hike too

Grilled Corn