The Pasayten Wilderness is an amazing place. It is located east of the Cascades between WA 20 and the Canadian border. If you like solitude, this is the place to go. FYI, Harts Pass is the highest point you can drive to in Washington (about 6900 feet). The views from there are spectacular!
Because it's at least a 5-hour drive from Tacoma, the only sensible way to do this is to camp overnight.
Originally, I was going to hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, but there isn't much water available. Instead, we'll hike to Silver Lake on trail #498 (Buckskin Ridge trail). That is a 5.5-mile (one-way) trail that is moderately difficult (3 on a scale of 5). There is plenty of water, and campfires are even allowed!
For more information, see http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/silver-lake-1
Weather update - 8/16/13: The weather is looking favorable. There is a 30% chance of showers on Saturday, and Sunday will be mostly sunny. It will be cool though. Saturday has a high of 56 and a low of 40. Sunday will have a high of 56. See http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=48.7337925&lon=-120.6751729&site=all&smap=1&searchresult=National%20Forest%20Development%20Road%205400%2C%20Winthrop%2C%20WA%2098862%2C%20USA#... for details. We will definitely have a campfire!
Mileage: 11 miles, round trip (we do this in two days).
Elevation gain: 2800
Max elevation: 6950
Parking: Northwest Forest Pass (not the Discover Pass)
Chuck's cell: [masked]
Chuck's car: Grey Land Rover LR4 (an SUV)
This is an overnight hike, so you will need a sleeping bag and pad. Some things, like tents, can be shared, so try to make some arrangements with somebody (it's less weight to carry!). I am already sharing my tent, but I can lend a one-person tent to someone.
REI has a checklist at http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/backpacking-checklist.html. This list is way too comprehensive, so bring only the things that make sense. For instance, you won't need an ice axe or winter clothing, but a light jacket would be good. Let me know if you have any questions.
Directions to Federal Way Park & Ride:
Take I-5 north to Federal Way, and get off the freeway at exit 143 (S. 320th St.)
Turn left on 320th St.
Turn left on 23rd Ave. S. (the corner with the McDonalds)
Go one block and turn left into the Park & Ride.
My Grey Land Rover should be right in front of you.
Disclaimer: Trailside is not a professional guide service. Our leaders function, as facilitators only, to enhance your outdoor experience. Reports of trail and weather conditions are based on best available information, are subject to change, and are no guarantee of fitness for any particular purpose. You may join us on this hike at your own risk. Keep in mind that hiking involves risks and weather changes quickly in the mountains. You are responsible for your own safety and the more prepared you are, the better the chance you will remain safe.