Luksea Travel Diaries: Exploring the Pacific Northwest USA
Luke Dutton, Luksea's USA Ambassador, has recently been exploring the Pacific Northwest region of the states. In this blog he shares with us first hand his experiences to this breath-taking part of the world and why we should remain flexible while travelling. Thank you Luke for sharing and we hope this blog and it inspires you to get out into nature!
This past week, I had the opportunity to explore the Pacific Northwest, namely northern Washington State in the United States. This was a part of the world I hadn’t had a chance to explore before, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I decided to keep my mind open and remain flexible for any adventures that came up along the way. Over my many years of travelling, I’ve discovered this to be the best way to get the most out of new and unfamiliar places. My plan was to speak to locals and form a loose plan for the week, keeping my options open if something came along that peaked my interest.
View from Glacier Point.
The first local recommendation was Mount Rainier, which is as dramatic up close as it is from miles away in downtown Seattle. A snowstorm was projected for the following day, but I had a window of nice weather, so I decided to make the three-hour drive, keeping my trail options open due to recent snowfall and uncertain trail conditions. Skyline trail was the main objective, an exposed six-mile loop with stunning views of Rainier, however, upon arriving, it was clear there was far too much snowfall to safely attempt the trail, so I quickly decided to move to plan B: Nisqually loop with a connection to Glacier Vista Trail. This trail allowed me to avoid the icy incline of skyline trail, with many of the same views. The trail exceeded all my expectations and the view was unbeatable. I even had some extra time to check out a couple nearby waterfalls!
View of from the top of Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park with Vancouver Island in the distance.
The second recommendation was the Olympic Peninsula, home to towering mountain ranges, lush rainforests, and striking Pacific coastline. The goal was to make a counterclockwise loop, starting at Hurricane Ridge and finishing at the Hoh rainforest before taking the southern route back to Seattle. Unfortunately, icy road conditions upon arrival at Hurricane Ridge (which hadn’t been updated online) caused a small hiccup and required a quick reorganization of my plans. I drove straight through to Rialto Beach, and then onto the beautiful Hoh rainforest on the first day and tested my luck again on day two at Hurricane Ridge, which proved to be not only successful, but I enjoyed nicer weather with an even clearer view all the way to Vancouver Island! The flexible planning even allowed for a beautiful ferry ride across Puget Sound, which would have been impossible with the first itinerary. I was even able to catch a glimpse of my first destination —Mount Rainier, with the Seattle skyline in the foreground.
My itinerary on the last day was still up in the air that morning. I decided to stay local and explore Snoqualmie Pass. I had no plan other than drive until I find something interesting, and I did just that! While taking a drive up a forest road, I stumbled upon a little inconspicuous trailhead called Cold Creek Trail which led off into the snowy woods toward a lake called Twin Lake. This short trail ended up being the one of the highlights of my trip. The trail meandered through a series of drainages with trickling streams of snowmelt, snowy clearings, and lush protected rainforest. There wasn’t a soul on the trail, and at the end, I had the serene lake all to myself. It was the perfect end to a successful trip!
Twin Lake It’s definitely important to know something about your destination before you visit. Interesting points, trails, and places to find typical trail and road conditions all allow you to stay safe and make the best of your time. I love to get many of those recommendations from locals who know the area well. However, I’ve found that staying flexible and open to new ideas has led me to some of my greatest adventures and most memorable moments while travelling, and I’d recommend this style of exploring to anyone. You never know, maybe you’ll end up overlooking a glacier, or enjoy a lake all to yourself!
Follow Luke's adventures! @lucas_a_d