I did it! I finally went camping after I can only assume is 20 years or more. The pup and I headed up to Thunder Creek and camped out in what is considered back country full of black bears and grizzlies. It was beautiful and peaceful and everything I was looking for.
Our stay was short at only one night but we were able to hike about 13 miles total once we hiked in the 2 miles to get to the area I was designated to when I checked in with the ranger station. We hiked up about 1/2 of the 4th of July Pass which is a 2000 ft ascent before I started to feel my left knee give and headed back down. I was disheartened to find out after looking at a better map of the area that had all the switchbacks mapped out that we had made it most of the initial climb up and the rest of the way was only 100ft spread out over 1 mile. I have decided it is in my best interest to come back here at some point. The other trail we hiked after that was part of the Thunder Creek Trail and we went about 5 miles in till I decided it was time to head back. I had a permit for the night to stay at Thunder Camp but this being my first Memorial Day weekend here, I decided to head back and spend some time in the city.
This was the first of what I think will be many camping trips in the PNW. I need to do some more research for more scenic places as this was a VERY dense forest which really didnt open up till you got much higher than the 4th of July camp site. All of this wouldn’t have been possible without my trip to REI and the helpful rangers that pop in there. I spent a pretty penny on what I would consider beginners gear and I have no complaints about the items I bought except the knife and the map. Both were woefully incapable of doing what they needed to and this was something Im glad I found out the first time out. All summed up, I would definitely recommend heading up the Northern Cascades National Park if only for the drive thru the winding mountain roads.
I wish I had more photos from my cross country trip but I was so busy driving and sleeping I didn’t have much time to explore. My drive took from Chicago to Omaha the first night. Then to Colorado Springs to visit a good high school friend followed by Denver to visit my brother and family for a few days. After that, I drove thru to Boise, then to Yakima and finally landing in Seattle.
My favorite states to drive thru were Colorado, Utah, Nevada(small part), Oregon and Washington. There were parts of Utah and Oregon that I felt didn’t belong in the US since they were so unique. I know that Ill be taking the time to plan some more road trips, especially to the national parks.