Backpacking in the Cascades – Spider Meadows

Photo by: Bryn Fluharty

I love mountains and here in Seattle our backyard is abounding with peaks waiting to be explored. Backpacking is one of the best ways to escape into the mountains for a few nights and be reminded of all of the beauty that the world has to offer.

In the beginning of September three friends and I decided to go on a quick backpacking trip to Spider Meadows in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, an easy drive away from my home in Seattle. The weekend was filled with fresh, clean mountain water, night skies full of stars and some amazing views of the mountains which make this area one of my favorites in the world.

Arriving at the trailhead I already felt as though I was far away from civilization. Barely a person was to be seen as we hiked through the dense old-growth forest. After a couple of hours of hiking along a relatively flat trail, the trees gave way to a large expanse of green above which tower snow-speckled peaks reaching high into the brilliant blue sky. Waterfalls spring from the sides of the mountains to join Phelps Creek, which winds its way through the meadow.

While hiking it is important to stay hydrated and there is no better way to do this than drinking water right from the source! Once settling into our campsite further up the trail in an area called Phelps Basin we were able to dip our water bottles into the cold water coming from a nearby snow field. The water was so crystal clear that we only had to treat it with my trusty SteriPEN before drinking in the fresh mountain water.

Night brought with it a warm campfire and an unforgettable view of the stars. In the city, light pollution blocks out all but the strongest of stars. Far away from civilization, looking up at the sky I could see the dark shadows of the jagged peaks all around. Beyond the dark silhouette of mountains, the sky was illuminated by billions upon billions of stars blinking into the darkness. The only movement to be seen was an occasional shooting star. Sitting in the cool, silent night air I could not help but marvel, not only at the beauty of the planet, but the entire universe.

Backpacking is a great way to escape into the wilderness but it is not the only way! Check out National Wildlife Federation’s Be Out There campaign for more ideas on how to get out and explore your world!

What are some of your favorite places to explore? Share your favorite places to get outside!