As a PNW native and avid adventurer, I thought I would use my experiences throughout the state of Washington to bring attention to the part of home that is often overlooked by us working in real estate.
Within a couple hour drive of the Greater Seattle-Tacoma metro areas, there sits a lifetime worth of peaks, valleys, lakes, rivers and forests to explore. These areas are full of some of the nation's best opportunities for hiking, backpacking, camping, rock climbing, mountaineering, skiing, fishing, kayaking, and many other outdoor activies.
Below are three beautiful and fun places to go explore. This will be the first post in a series where I will showcase some of your backyard gems and the adventures to be had in them.
#1 Enchanted Valley
This here is a well known backpacker destination that takes you miles through a rain forest and into a deep green valley surrounded by rugged peaks that roar with continuous avalanches on a warm day in the Spring. This backpacking trip resides in Washington's prized Olympic National Park. It is a special place to me because it is where I got engaged to my fiance. I have traveled here twice and both times seen an abundant amount of fauna, including dozens of black bears.
The distance is long, an approximate 15 miles from the trailhead to the abandoned Chalet, now used only by the park rangers, that sits in the middle of the valley. The 30 mile round trip sounds much more daunting than it is in actuality. The terrain is relatively level and the trail is well-maintained making the distance the only really difficult variable of this excellent adventure. However, due to the length of the haul, a beginner may want to break this backpacking trip into more than two days, camping at one of the handful of spots along the way. Advanced backpackers can easily make it into the valley in one single push, but make sure to stay at least one full day to explore the valley or hike further up to Anderson Pass, you won't regret it!
A gorgeous place crawling with fauna, a canopy of almost neon green flora, a large humming river, all engulfed by massive avalanching peaks... This is a place you cannot miss!
#2 Mission Ridge Ski Hill
On the eastside of the Cascades, right outside the town of Wenatchee, WA, sits a ski hill known as Mission Ridge. Every Pacific Northwesterner is familiar with the big resorts like Crystal, Snoqualmie, and Stevens, but Mission Ridge is often overlooked as a destination. This ski hill, however, often offers better quality (colder) snow with less crowds than its peers. It also has a "Ma and Pa" style vibe that departs from the commercial one at some of the other more commercialized resorts.
This hill has a little bit of everything for all skill levels. In fact, it's where I learned to ski when I was a mere lad pizza-ing down the beginner slopes. However, as I've grown older and more keen to difficult terrain, there has been plenty of it to explore, including, but not limited to, the Bomber Chutes that frame the northern edge of the resort. Get ready for some fun and when your legs are completely fried head down to the base to grab some good food and a wide selection of delicious beers on tap at the Chair 5 restauarnt. Cheers!
#3 Mailbox Peak
Close to Seattle, only a couple miles off of I-90 Exit 34 in North Bend, sits a right of passage for those adventurers who are keen on punishing themselves. Mailbox Peak is not the most signigicant peak, but the trail is hard enough to be used as a training ground for Mt. Rainier and other mountaineering excursions. If you can do it twice back-to-back with a 40 lb pack, you're not only an absolute bad ass, you're also in prime shape to climb the state's highest peak. If your objective is training for that Rainier summit day, well then, on a clear day you will be happy to see your majestic objective waiting for you just to your south.
Depending on the route you take, Mailbox Peak totes an impressive 4000+ feet of elevation gain in either 2.5 or 5 miles. Enough said. The Old (and much more difficult) trail is very steep, so be careful.
Anyways, go do it and earn your badge of honor, you'll hate and thank me later in the same exhasperated breath.
If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, I would love to apply the same intensity and love that I have for the outdoors to your real estate goals. Contact me today to set up your free buyer/seller consultation.
~Your PNW Real Estate Advisor