Jun 13, 2013 at 5:10 pm #1304182
My new bride and I are leaving the politicians behind in DC to relocate to Seattle. We've got two or three months to drive across country and want to do a lot of backpacking on the way out. It's going to be the best trip we've taken so far.
So I'm looking for wisdom on great places to visit, some that are off the beaten path. Here's the rough route we're thinking of, by national parks in the area. I plan on hiking for a week in an area, and then driving on to the next stop.
I'd like to see places apart from national parks, too.
So if you had the time, what would you do?Jun 13, 2013 at 5:43 pm #1996418
When are you planning on leaving? Seasonality will dictate some of the advice as well as what type of terrain and landscapes you like? Tell us about your experience. The more specific the questions here the better the response I find.Jun 13, 2013 at 6:52 pm #1996447
Congratulations on reaching escape velocity from the gravitational pull of the center of the universe, politically speaking. We just uprooted ourselves from DC after more than 15 years there and relocated to Seattle. Best thing we ever did and not sure why we waited so long (well, I know, careers, etc.). Y'all will love at the range of outdoor activities in every direction here. We have a few of us from BPL doing the Wonderland Trail this year as well.Jun 13, 2013 at 7:26 pm #1996452
@nedjursekgmail-comLocale: Pacific Northwest
We moved from Ohio to Seattle 15 years ago and love it here. We did some backpacking on the way and, much to my surprise, I was blown away by Badlands National Park. The backcountry was like nothing I had ever seen. I was there in early October.Jun 13, 2013 at 9:11 pm #1996470
Drop the N Cascades and Olympics. They're going to be your new 'backyard'. Badlands are cool as said above, Banff/Jasper are spectacular! I might add Arches/Canyonland area if it isn't mid summer, because it's a nice contrast to what you're going to be experiencing on the shores of Puget Sound.Jun 14, 2013 at 4:12 am #1996524
We're leaving June 27, so I'm figuring there will still be snow at the higher elevations in Wyoming at the beginning of our trip.
I like a lot of off-trail hiking above treeline and have some experience doing that in Alaska and the Sierras. (I wrote about a trip I did with Andrew Skurka last year: http://andrewskurka.com/2013/hardcore-hiking-yosemite-adventure-skurka-associated-press-pain/
My soon-to-be wife isn't a big fan of hiking in snow though. And while I like doing 25-30 mile days, but she prefers 10-15.Jun 14, 2013 at 4:13 am #1996525
Oddly enough, neither of us is in politics. Glad to hear you're enjoying it out there. When are you doing the Wonderland Trail?Jun 14, 2013 at 7:36 am #1996564
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
For what it's worth snow across the west seems to be in early retreat. It'll still be there, but perhaps less than usual.
One thing to worry about in early July is mosquitos.
I'd do a swing through southern CO and perhaps northern NM before hitting southern UT and heading north. Yes it'll be hot, but stick to high elevations and you'll be fine. Do an overnighter to the summit of Pikes Peak and back. See the sand dunes. Hike a few peaks and maybe some of the CT. Get into the Weminuche. Swing south and visit Chaco (which will be really hot).
In Utah, the Needles, Natural Bridges, perhaps Grand Gulch, the upper Escalante, Bryce, the north rim of the Grand Canyon, and Zion should be on your list. Call now and see if you can snag a reservation to do the Narrows as an overnight. It makes for short days, but it's a really cool place to camp.
Head north and hit the Tetons, Yellowstone, and perhaps the Winds later. Hopefully the bugs will be calmed down. Yellowstone especially will be crowded, but drive late or early and do some backpacks. Frontcountry camping in Yellowstone is a pain during August, so plan accordingly.
Glacier, Waterton, and the Canadian Rockies will be coming into fine shape by mid-August. Driving around Glacier will be a headache, and you'll have to do walk-in BC permits. You can get these on the morning before you start, and if you're flexible you'll be able to get something good.Jun 14, 2013 at 2:49 pm #1996713
David just described my dream road trip. Maybe when the kids are teenagers….
John (iceberglake), we are doing the full 93 mile circuit Wonderland 14-19 Sept. Got lucky with a permit lottery. I hear it is sort of a highway with all the demand. But I figure it is a right of passage for backpackers in the PNW, so why not do it your first full summer here.
Our permit is full, but we could probably add one more person if we called the NPS and asked. They probably would not let us add two more people.
You should have had your fill, though, with your road trip. If you do make it down to Santa Fe or Albuquerque, check out Anasazi Fields Winery in Placitas. Tell Jim, the owner, Michael sent you. Jim knows all the hidden gems of the NM backcountry and can hook you up. I would race straight from DC to NM, then roughly bounce up the path of the CDT then cut along the path of the PNWT over to Seattle, using David's specific points as a guide.Jun 14, 2013 at 3:59 pm #1996736
It seems like Dave gave you the West's greatest hits. If you need a place to break up the drive through the Great Plains, you could always stop and snag a burger at Wall Drug, in Wall, SD. You know, pick up your bumper sticker, have a malt? Then there's always the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. You could fill up your schedule doing tacky things in the Dakotas.Jun 14, 2013 at 7:19 pm #1996788
Thanks for all the tips! Lots of rethinking of plans going on now because of the ideas. The way I feel about it is that we really can't go wrong where ever we go.
Michael, it looks like we'll probably be settling in to life in Seattle when you're on the Wonderland Trail, but I look forward to meeting up with other BPLers out in the PNW.Jun 14, 2013 at 7:25 pm #1996790
Feel free to PM me when you get to town and we can coordinate on some hikes.
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