If you’re into wilderness backpacking and you have not been to the Goat Rocks Wilderness of Washington State, you’re missing out. It is potentially the best backpack I have ever been on (and that includes the one I did in Patagonia, Argentina!). Here, you’ll find long-distance hikers trekking along the Pacific Crest Trail, endless mountain vistas, vast expanses of alpine wildflowers that seem endless before your eyes, and incredible views of glaciers, snow-capped peaks, and even frozen lakes.
Time of Year: Due to the elevation of the Goat Rocks Wilderness, it is recommended to begin your backpack in July. Otherwise, many mountain-side traverses will still be covered in snow and additional safety equipment will be required.
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I know I was, and I did. But what really makes a good campsite? Is it the gorgeous once-in-a-lifetime evening light views? Is it the view of the hidden city-lights as they pop-up all over the valley like fireflies in the distance when the sun goes down? Or is it the fact that you’re simply looking for a spot on the mountain, perched up high on the ridgeline so that you can overlook everything below while thinking, “One day, all this will be mine…” in a voice that sounds eerily like Mufasa’s from The Lion King?
Here I sit at the airport in North Carolina, fully-bearded and probably smelling like clothes that have not been washed by means other than becoming dampened by the rain or the slightly polluted river, and re-sun-dried while climbing an open rock face again and again and again for the past 50 days.
Living simply in the woods for so long with nothing on my mind and not a moment’s care for the chaotic happenings of the “real” world still driving forward around me has been an incredible experience yet again.
Wayna Picchu (sometimes spelled “Huayna”) is the name of the mountain that towers above Machu Picchu. Many people don’t know that you can hike to the summit of this mountain. I didn’t know until I happened to stumble across it somewhere on the internet, and contacted the company that I hiked the Inca Trail with to find out about the permit required to do this.
On the morning of Day Three, the porters woke us up at 6:00am, a whole half-hour later than previous days, as a reward for completing Day Two. That morning, we did the usual packing of our bags, drinking coca tea, eating breakfast, and talking about what was yet to come for the day ahead of us.
They call Day Three “the most beautiful day on the Inca Trail.” Snow-capped mountains, beautiful vistas, brilliantly colored flowers with hummingbirds constantly hovering over them, and dense jungle, will all be encountered during this hike. But as a trade-off, this day is also the longest day on the Inca Trail.
My trip to Peru is just around the corner, and boy could I use it. I’ve been planning this trip for a while now, or well, I guess you could say I’ve had the trip planned for a while. These days, I find myself sitting at my corporate job behind my corporate desk daydreaming about the adventure I’ll encounter while on this trip.
Speaking of corporate jobs and corporate desks, do you remember my old post called My Next Step? Well, after what seems like a long dragged-out wait and working at a job that is really only meant to “pay the bills,” what I wrote about in that post is finally happening. But that’s a story for another day…
In just a couple of weeks now I’ll be heading to Peru where I’ll be hiking the Inca Trail, exploring the cities of Cusco and Lima, and quite possibly sand-boarding or dune-buggy driving at a desert oasis called Huacachina. I invested in a new Canon DLSR camera and a trusty little wide-angle lens to help document the trip, and I’m really excited to share the stories and photographs with all of you.