The Remote Unknown | Collab Series |  Roaming the Pacific Northwest: Location 3

The Remote Unknown | Collab Series | Roaming the Pacific Northwest: Location 3

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A pulse-raising journey with 1,000-foot drop-offs gives way to gorgeous vistas from an old fire lookout in the Cascade range.

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LOCATION: THREE

ROAMING THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST

HARROWING JOURNEY TO BREATHTAKING VIEWS

When it comes to wild places, we at BEYOND are the how; working to connect you with them. The Remote Unknown is the why, demonstrating the beauty and benefits that you’ll uncover once there. Through the lush photographs and reflective words shared in each installment, we hope to inspire your next adventure.

 Washington State’s fire lookouts have been a destination for the masses for decades. Originally used for exactly what their name states, today’s fire lookouts are dwindling in numbers. There are currently only 93 fire lookouts still standing in the state, down from the 750 that once topped mountain summits around the region.

 

While the need and usefulness for fire lookouts has mostly been replaced with technology, the allure of the structures perched atop the peaks only grows with time, beckoning adventurers with sweeping views of the Pacific Northwest. We took a trip to hike a relatively short but steep trail that leads to a lookout shelter with panoramic views of the Picket Range and Canadian Peaks.

Steep snowfields on this trail usually require an ice axe well into July. The road to the trailhead is also not for the faint of heart: steep pitches and hairpin turns with 1,000-foot drop-offs must be 4x4-ed through just to get there. Due to the long approach on the road, this trail is thankfully a little less popular than it would otherwise be. Those willing to brave the rough road will be rewarded by some stunning scenery.

 

The trail was plush full of colorful wildflowers, and the views of the lakes and Cascade ranges spark your interests right away on the first half mile. No matter where you look—glaciers, tarns, blueberries, orchids—it’s safe to say this two-mile hike delivers the most skewed effort-to-reward ratio in the country. As we reached the summit, we were swimming in 360° mountain majesty where Mt. Baker headlines the blades of the North Cascades.

No matter where you look—glaciers, tarns, blueberries, orchids—it’s safe to say this two-mile hike delivers the most skewed effort-to-reward ratio in the country.

We headed into the lookout and surveyed the area, peaks in every direction. Once you’re at the summit it’s truly hard to concentrate on one tarn. Steep, exposed snow fields were still visible, and we took the opportunity for some blue-hour photos before making our way down from the top. Mount Baker and the moon started to glow as we had a picturesque view on the hike down..

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