Some years ago, deciding on the next place I'd like to call home, I turned towards the top left side of the map to the furthest reaches of Northwest America. Images of an unbound frontier, where wilderness still holds power over encroaching civilization. It was a mythical place in my mind, ripe with stories waiting to be told of habitats and wildlife usually only witnessed with the sounds of David Attenborough narrating in the background.
Since that decision to venture westward those stories have come to life in the form of backpacking trips, mountaineering excursions, long bike rides down long since overgrown timber roads, frothy crests of those northwest ocean swells, and cascades of clear frigid waters pooling into deep swimming holes. I began a list of places I have explored, and those that I've yet to tell a story about. That list grows at a pace much faster than I can work to check it away. It became obvious that a lifetime would not be enough to take in all the wild places that thrive out here. Add in the bordering states and countries like Canada, Montana, and Idaho and the possibilities become infinite beyond consideration. So I take it all as I can, one adventure at a time; each one providing a similar tingly feeling of excitement and awe, but also very unique in their own way.
Jefferson is one of many inactive volcanoes that dot the Cascade Mountain Range from California into Canada. Many hikes lead to vistas of this prominent beacon as it looms just far enough away you could almost reach out to it. This place has held a high rating on my list, yet I hadn't pursued it much over the last couple years, fearing the rumors of a popular trail filled with day hikers and backpackers alike. You see, I like my solitude where I can get it. With the short PNW summer drawing closer to an end I knew I needed to motivate for some more nights out under the stars. A couple days opened up so I jumped at the opportunity to finally take on this glaciated giant in hopes of seeing it up close.
Some highlights to mention from this trek..
1. All trails leading into the park are rocky, uphill and steep at times, and are shared with stock animals
2. Starting from a trailhead on the opposite side of the park from where you intended is not the smartest idea, but with a GPS I managed just fun. Google maps is not good for sourcing directions to a trailhead after all.
3. The park is peppered with lakes of all types, sourcing creeks that snake throughout the alpine meadows, fueling the abundance of wild flowers blanketing those meadows.
4. Rumor has it this area sees large numbers of outdoor enthusiasts on weekends so I'd recommend a weekday adventure. A thursday night provided me with 3 lakes in close proximity with no one else around.
5. Photos don't do justice, but I hope this gallery gives you some inspiration to search out your own stories in conjunction with these wild places.