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Holding a bottle of Outburst with light bursts around it and the monutains in background

Escaping the Mundane

Having moved from Northern California up to Washington only a year ago, I am still adapting to having so much beauty within such a small distance from my home. California has been my home for 25 years. It is a place full of incredible landscapes spread vastly across its territory; this landscape is what led me to be the photographer I am today. But Washington felt like home from the first time I drove across the border, with so many awe-inspiring sights packed into an area so close to the coast.

During this coronavirus pandemic, it became very apparent that being outside was easily taken for granted. Traveling outside of our town was not something I felt justified doing and even still with things opening, it takes a lot more thought. I wanted to respect the stay at home policy and I have become more aware of how many others were pushing back on the order for the wrong reasons. It was important to learn about the virus and how to keep ourselves and others safe. Staying home meant flattening the curve, lessening the pressure on hospitals, and stopping the spread. These factors are important if we want to get back to a “normal” way of life.

I was stoked when Pyramid Brewing reached out with a project idea to go on an adventure and write a blog about it. It provided an opportunity to share my current outlook on safe ways I have been getting outdoors and making sure to not take the small moments for granted.

Views from Snowqualmie Pass

Initially, I had planned for my trip to be based on the coast, but after some research on the availability of both wilderness permits and campgrounds, I decided to change the location to a closer and more secluded area. Having a backup when a place is overcrowded or closed is a smart and ethical way to travel right now. I have been lucky enough to meet some incredible people while living here that have shown me some hidden gems.

The Snoqualmie Pass area has many easily accessible hikes and beautiful lakes to visit, however, it can take a bit of research to find the less populated areas. Having fallen in love with backpacking over the last two years, I thought I'd share this trip that involved a bit of both.

dirt roads near the Snoqualmie pass region in Washington

Once we took the exit off the freeway, it was only a short drive until we made it to dirt roads. The views were almost immediate as we rose above the surrounding tree line.

Mt. Rainier view from camp site near Snoqualmie Pass

After a bumpy half hour cruise, we landed at our home for the night and were blown away by the view of Mt. Rainier. With the weather being so good recently, we could see for miles in all directions. It was time for some cold ones to appreciate the view properly.

Drinking Pyramid Hefeweizen craft beer at Snoqualmie pass The perfect hiking trail beer - Pyramid Hefeweizen Cooler full of craft beer at camp site

After unloading the car and setting up our camp, we ripped into the ice chest and passed around our preferred brews, planning to head up to a peak just above where we parked for sunset.

Drinking craft brews and soaking up the sun and views Lake views along the Snoqualmie pass

The view of the valley below as we waited for the transition from harsh midday light to the soft glow of golden hour.

Camping and drinking beer Outburst Imperial IPA Surreal view of campsite with mountains in the distance

The surreal view of our campsite amongst the grand layers of mountains in the distance.

Enjoying the views of Mt. Rainier while drinking craft beer

After sunset we hiked back down to camp, started a fire, and looked up at the stars. Although it was only a brief time, we were truly able to recharge, both literally and metaphorically, and get a breath of fresh air.

car camping along Snoqualmie Pass car camping along Snoqualmie Pass Stars and a view of Mt. Rainier while camping at night

It is important to remember that having the ability to venture into the mountains is not just a good time but also a responsibility. Have fun, venture, but remain safe and responsible along the way.

Joey Maclennan