This group is for people who want to day hike and backpack on week days or weekends into some of the most beautiful places in Washington, to make new friends who love the outdoors, and to be active outdoors all year. There are hundreds of really spectacular places in the Cascades and Olympics that we can get to with day hikes or with an easy or moderate, one or two-night backpack trip.
Hikes we will take will usually be limited to a round trip distance of 4 to 7 miles and an elevation gain of under 3,000 feet. Some backpack trips we will take are short and easy and will fit for everyone, including those who have never backpacked. They involve short hikes with a backpack before setting up camp and exploring.
Other backpack trips are moderate rather than easy. We’ll backpack to beautiful lakes or peaks or rivers on maintained trails with one-way distances of five to seven miles and an elevation gain of approximately 1.500 to 2,500 feet. We can take our time getting there and enjoy the beauty of the trip and then really experience the place by setting up camp, exploring, radiating out into the wild on day hikes, and not just hustling out and back.
HIKING VS. BACKPACKING, AND WHY WE DO BOTH When we only have one day or only a few hours, a hike is perfect. But backpacking is great too, and it opens up more possibilities.
I’ve taken pictures of the Cascade Mountains from an airplane; it’s a nice view.
Better yet, I’ve often hiked into the wilderness among spectacular mountains, lakes, and streams.
But, as much as I love hiking (and I hike as often as I can), it can sometimes be a little like being in a tour bus taking pictures out the window. Places to go, a schedule to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.
I’ve found that the best experience of all isn’t just hiking past the natural beauty but adding additional elements by setting up camp in a scenic place and letting it gradually fill my senses.
I can live out in the wild for two or three days, soak it all up, and radiate out from base camp on day hikes to experience more than I could on a non-backpack day hike.
After a while, I begin to see what I missed when I hiked past here last year. The deer, chipmunks, squirrels, picas, marmots, and a variety of birds gradually get used to my presence and I both hear and see them resume grazing, shredding pine cones, eating berries, singing, whistling, chirping, screeching, or curiously coming closer to check out their newest neighbor. A chipmunk darts closer to see if I’m going to drop any food. A scratching on a nearby massive fir that was growing here before Columbus was born makes me turn my head to see a squirrel climbing around the trunk to check me out. I smell the faint, sharp scent of pine needles and the musty smell of skunk cabbage from the nearby creek bed. I take pictures of the harlequin ducks and a great blue heron by the river. Later I feel a long, feathery, grey-green strand of old man’s beard moss hanging from foot-thick branches to see if it’s dry enough to use for fire tinder. Soon I’m happily breathing in the mouth-watering smell of the golden-brown, chocolate-filled marshmallow I’m roasting on a stick to make a s’more. A black-tailed doe gradually circles closer, munching on grass while watching me eat, joining me for supper. A Canadian jay brazenly bites through the little bag of graham crackers I left for a moment within arm’s reach. My friends arrive and drop armloads of dry limbs by the crackling fire as they excitedly tell me about seeing a martin. I toss them a bag of hot dogs and a bag of marshmallows. Next morning I walk over to the lake to take pictures as the rising sun paints the jagged, snow-draped mountains in shades of orange and peach.
As great as hiking is, day hikers don’t usually get to sit around a camp fire with friends roasting hot dogs and s’mores and stirring tiny marshmallows into their hot chocolate.
We’ll both day hike and backpack, and we won’t just sit on the couch and wait for summer.
MEMBERSHIP DETAILS (HOW TO JOIN, ETC.)
If there is room to add more members to our group at the time, almost all adults who apply for membership are accepted by our membership committee (children are accompanied by parents).
For each person who asks to join the meet-up group, the membership committee makes a guess as to whether the group is a good fit for the person.
To assist the committee in making these decisions, please include the three parts of the standard meetup.com profile: Your picture, the list of your meet-up groups, and your interests.
If the group gets so large that members are often left out of events due to lack of space to accommodate everyone, we will stop adding members until openings are created by some members dropping out. Members who RSVP "Yes" to events but find they cannot come should cancel their RSVP 48 hours or more before the event. Members who fail to do this three times are dropped from membership.
We welcome event organizers and event suggestions from members; we want to have lots of activities scheduled all year so that everyone can find activities that interest them at times and dates that are convenient for them.
Let’s get off the couch and get out there!
WE’RE NOT A GUIDE SERVICE; YOU GO AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Remember that the Weekday Hikes and Backpacks meet-up group is not a guide service. Members just decide to meet up and do something together. Members make their own decisions on what to do, where to go, and what risks they are willing to take. Going out in nature is not as safe as staying on your couch. There are wild animals, poisonous creatures, lakes, rivers, cliffs, falling trees and limbs, lightning, freezing temperatures, and other potential dangers out there; and you could fall and hurt yourself, sustain a serious injury, or worse. You go at your own risk.