Amid the pandemic, travel has been difficult to near impossible. We’ve all tried to behave and stay home and safe or whatever, but there comes a point when people just can’t take it anymore. I know I can’t. Luckily, things are changing. Restrictions are being lifted and things are opening up slowly. The biggest downside however, is the places that are opening are also packed full of people or lines miles long. Nobody likes that.
I’m all for a little hustle and bustle but not crowds. The whole point of getting out is so I can breathe again. When I’m desperate for some truly fresh air and not a crowd of strangers, I head to the mountains. So over the weekend the husband and I took off with two friends. Instead of hiking trails with ten thousand people we decided to head way off grid into the eastern part of the Cascades. No cell service, no internet, fuzzy radio stations… perfect.
We drove over Chinook Pass where snow was still on the ground and falling from the sky in wet chunks and headed east. After a quick break to consult a map, we decided to hit up some forest service roads along the backside of the rural area of Naches Washington. We go here often and I know I’ve discussed it before but there’s nothing wrong with going back to make more memories. We hit the gravel roads. I’m not 100 percent sure what those roads were called, but that’s part of the adventure. I recommend using a gps map to find the right roads if you’re going to stray off the beaten path. Also pay attention to signs, out there ‘No Trespassing’ means stay away or else, so be responsible and respectful.
If off the beaten path isn’t your thing, that’s okay. I recommend that you take a drive to the Little Naches camp area and river. It’s a great place to get a feel for the area and also not disturb the residents of the very rural town. The trails for biking, hiking, ATVs and wheelin rigs are pretty awesome. The river is a fantastic place to cool off or just lounge by and camp. Whistlin Jacks, in the town of Naches has the best burgers and a fantastic atmosphere if you’re looking for a place to eat. There’s also lots of other campgrounds and trails around the area that are clearly marked, incredibly awesome and usually not too crowded.
Just a helpful tip; bring toilet paper. Most of the camping in Little Naches is off grid. No amenities. So definitely bring the toilet paper and a shovel to this campground, but aside from that inconvenience, the adventure is pretty good. Once you reach the top of the forest service roads the views are spectacular.
Pack a picnic lunch, drive over Chinook Pass and start exploring the other side. As soon as you decent down from the pass the fun begins. Along the side of highway 410 is The American River. There are great spots to stop and take in some fresh air. Then head to Little Naches, or Whistlin Jacks and relax. It’s time to get outside again and this trip is a great way to avoid huge crowds. All you need is a full tank and a good pair of boots.
Until next time, keep them boots wandering!