For this week’s adventure, I had the pleasure of backpacking Mount Pilchuck with new friends. I recently moved to Seattle from Texas for my full-time job and as exciting as a new chapter in your life can be, it can get lonely but I’m determined to explore and adventure just as much as I did when I was solo abroad. Last summer I heard about the amazing lookout on Mt. Pilchuck from my roommate (thanks Anna) but never got the chance to do it. Once I settled into my new home, I became determined to finally cross it off my list with or without company. As usual, I asked around if anyone was interested and surprisingly six lovely individuals joined in. Our game plan was to get there before sunset, camp the night, and wake up to watch the sunrise.
Here is how my backpacking Mt. Pilchuck trip went:
Hike: 5.4 Miles RT Gain: 2300 ft Drive: 1.5 Hours Base: 3000 ft
Accommodation: 1/2 group hammock camping & other 1/2 tent camping
Food: One pot camping meals (thanks Konrad) Parking: Northwest Forest Pass
What I packed for my trip in my favorite backpack
- Sleeping Bag
- Hammock with XL Straps
- Down Jacket
- Rain Jacket
- Long Sleeve (avoid cotton – hard to dry)
- 3L of water using a Reservoir
- Head Lamp
- Food -> more specifics to come
- Pair of underwear pants
- Tooth brush, tooth paste, contact solution, case, & face wipes
- Sunscreen and bug spray
The hike was brutally amazing.
It took us three hours to hike to the lookout with a nice snack break in between. The hike was beautiful and the views were stunning. Even the PARKING LOT had a nice view. Most of the hike isn’t shaded and bugs were ferocious so sunscreen and bug repellent are your best friends. Also, I would recommend wearing hiking boots but two of my friends managed in running shoes. This hike is not easy but 100% rewarding. The views from the lookout are simply breathtaking and every ounce of energy returns to your body as you indulge in a yummy snack and feel like a total badass. Just when you think you’ve made it to the lookout and it’s over, you have to climb about 50 ft of boulders and engage every muscle. This part is exhausting and I felt like the boulders and I were getting way too close haha. They lead to a staircase that is attached to the lookout. My advice is if you’re exhausted from the hike, take a short break to recover before tackling the boulders. When you’re ready, take your time and go slow. Overall, the boulders didn’t feel unsafe – just exhausting. It was 100% worth it.
Immediately after arriving and taking a moment to soak in the wonderful views we claimed our spot inside the lookout (by claimed our spot I mean we put up our hammocks). Since it was a Saturday, we were concerned that there wouldn’t be enough room, but since we got there around 6:30 pm (two hours before sunset) we were good. I would say that a maximum of six-seven people can hammock inside and another six-seven can fit outside, but this would be extremely tight. Inside we had four hammocks, one person on the floor with a dog, and on the outside, there were six people hammocking.
Afterwards, I just relaxed and enjoyed the sunset…
YES, the pup did try to eat our victory hostess cupcake.
Half of our group did not have hammocks so they brought tents. They set up two tents minutes (instead of minutes, say about 100 ft below the gazebo/viewing area there is a clearing where they were able to set up camp and where we cooked and ate our meals) within the big boulders. It was the PERFECT location. I was low key jealous, but sleeping in the lookout was an experience itself. They woke up to a perfect view of the sunrise, so I will definitely be camping at this location in the future.
When I think of car camping, steaks, smores, and a camp fire immediately come to mind but with backpacking, I’m concerned about the weight so I go for the lightest load possible. One of my new friends, Konrad, changed my life.
ONE POT CAMPING MEALS -> AMAZING
For dinner, we had beef stew and for breakfast, we had this amazing thing called Mountain Woman. Here are the ingredients: served plenty for seven HUNGRY backpackers
- 2.5-3 lbs of stew meat
- chopped carrots and celery
- 4 potatoes
- 1 large onion
- spices – Rosemary & Parsley mixture plus salt and pepper
- hash browns
General cooking supplies:
- 1 Butane 220 grams
- 1 pot
- Backpacking Stove
- Utensils and bowls
Process for stew: boil potatoes – >add carrots/celery ->pour out to the side in a bowl -> sear onions -> add stew meat – >mix in spices -> pour potato/veggie mixture back
Process for Mountain Woman: Layer pot in this order hash browns (until browning) – >onions – >sausage meat/bacon-> pour over with eggs and decrease heat
Note: The bottom cooked faster in our pot because it didn’t distribute heat well
During the cooking process we played a fun game I learned from one of my favorite travelers (Thanks Hernan). Each person takes a turn to ask a question to the group of who would be most likely to do something.
For example: ” Who in the group would be most likely to get plastic surgery?” Everyone: Raises their hand once they have somebody in mind…and on three they point at that person… According to Hernan I would be most likely haha
After an amazing evening, it was time to crash. We headed up to our hammocks with our head lamps. This time, climbing the boulders without a heavy pack on was definitely easier. Although my evening was successful, I was a bit cold at night. I made two mistakes.
1) I should have brought up a sleeping pad for my hammock. The sleeping pad provides insulation which keeps you warmer.
2) I needed one more layer of clothing for additional warmth and gloves.
The next morning…
We watched the sunrise from inside of the lookout and it was breathtaking. Afterwards, we ate an amazing breakfast followed by a nap while enjoying the view and I thought, “life is good.”
Backpacking Mount Pilchuck was PERFECTION.
Thanks guys, ❤ ash
P.S. Be on the lookout for my Top Apps to Use for Travel and 72 Hour Guide for a Perfect weekend in Seattle.
I’m coming for you Mt. Rainier… Summer 2018!
Have any favorite backpacking trips or tips? Or better yet any favorite backpacking meals?!? Comment Below ⇓