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Beers at the Bottom, enjoyed Day Hike Summer Ale along Cutthroat Pass for #TwoBeersInTheWild! We’ve so enjoyed reading their reports and drooling over their photos. Follow their adventures as we share them on our blog, FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. As summer winds down grab another 6-pack of Day Hike Summer Ale and head outside!

Cutthroat Pass via PCT
Region: North Cascades
Difficulty of Hike: Medium
Distance Round Trip: 10 miles
Did you encounter any of the following on your hike? Wildflowers, Edible berries/plants, Wildlife
Road conditions to trailhead: Road suitable for all vehicles
Bugs: Bugs were not too bad
Trail Condition: Trail in good condition
Distance from Seattle: 157 miles

We’ve had a great summer as Day Hike Ambassadors and can’t believe this is our final hike! Despite a summer of 70+ degree weather for weeks at a time, it took until the last few weeks for some of our favorite high-country trails to be fully hikeable. That just means we’re saving our best hike for last!

We took a camping trip out to the North Cascades and made sure to keep a few Day Hikes on ice for our first trek to Cutthroat Pass. While day hikers typically hike to the pass from Cutthroat Lake, we actually decided to get there via the iconic Pacific Crest Trail. An awesome thing about the PCT, is that since it was originally graded for stock, it’s rarely very steep and the trail is wider. While you still gain 2000 feet from the forest to the pass, it’s done gradually over a 5 mile stretch.

Even though it was mid-week, the parking lot was busy, and it was easy to pick out thru-hikers and section hikers on their way to Canada. But once we hit the trail, it was easy to find solitude. The first 1.5 miles of this hike are forested, and known for high-running creek crossings. But for us, even the notorious Porcupine Creek was easy to rock hop across. After that, we came out of the forest to the rugged terrain of the North Cascades. We switchbacked up rocky slopes to the pass above through huckleberry bushes and larches–still sporting their summer green.

When you crest the ridge to Cutthroat Pass, the views will quite literally take your breath away–spin around and all you can see are jagged peaks, some with patches of snow clinging to their rocky faces. We pulled out our Day Hikes and map to try and name the mountains around us. After drinking in our fill of the landscape, we headed back down to the parking lot. Then it was time for Two Beers at the Bottom back at camp!

Even though our Ambassador Summer is coming to an end, this year’s hiking season feels far from over! Cutthroat Pass is an especially great hike for early to mid fall as the Larches turn gold. The hillside that for us was dotted with lush emerald will ignite with bright gold and red in mid-to-late September. Happy Hiking, and Cheers!


Day Hike Brand Ambassador, Christina continued to enjoy Pacific Northwest splendor during August! Bugs and tough road to the trailhead weren’t going to stop her and we appreciate her tenacity! Where did you get out to over Labor Day weekend? Enjoy #TwoBeersInTheWild at your next summit and share with us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Hidden Lake Lookout
Region: North Cascades
Difficulty of Hike: Medium
Distance Round Trip: 8 miles
Did you encounter any of the following on your hike? Wildflowers
Road conditions to trailhead: High clearance vehicle recommended
Bugs: Bugs were an annoyance
Trail Condition: Trail in good condition
Distance from Seattle: 2.5 hours

I’ve wanted to do this hike for more than two years, which is when we attempted to make it up the road in our Prius and had to turn around. This time I was in a 4WD truck and we did great, even though some spots were still tricky. We saw some smaller SUVs parked on the road before a particularly big divot in the road, presumably because they couldn’t make it up.

Once at the trailhead (we arrived at about 11:30am), the bugs were definitely out but not as worse as they had been on hikes the previous two days. The first part of the trail is in a nice covered forest with some fun boardwalks. After this, prepare for no consistent shade the rest of the trail. Next you weave through switchbacks through fields of wildflowers, which was magical, as were the views, which were definitely obscured by smoke but still sweeping views. You gain some elevation quickly here and it’s quite hot in the afternoon sun. Every once in a while you catch a tree or boulder to crouch under. Eventually the trail flattens but heads over a rocky boulder field where you have to cross over some streams and around some patches of snow.

You switchback again and then head up a ridge. From here, you enter a huge boulder field area, and I didn’t actually know where the trail was. There were various cairns and trails… I waited until I saw folks coming down… and now I know why I couldn’t see the trail! It’s still a snow field to get up the lake overlook, but it is very easy without any gear (though a bit steep, not dangerous at all). After this you reach a great stopping point for those who want to. You can look down over the lake and around at surrounding peaks (obscured partially on this day by smoke, again). We eventually rambled up to the right to the look out tower. It is a series of steep switchbacks on sandy terrain–use caution! You eventually scramble over some big boulders to get to the look out. There was already a couple set up in there, at around 2pm on a Sunday. I didn’t stay in too long because it was smelly from recent paint. The views are even more dramatic here. Can’t wait to go up on a clear day. Apparently going to the left at the overlook will lead to to the true summit of the Hidden Lake Peak. Will do that next time too!

Also, some may look at the this hikes stats and think it is comparable to something like Mount Si… it isn’t. Though nearly identical, this hike is more exposed and has steeper sections with more varied terrain that can be a little more difficult to manage.


Going outside doesn’t have to mean nights deep in the backcountry. Our brand ambassadors, Beers at the Bottom, enjoyed Day Hike Summer Ale at Little Si for #TwoBeersInTheWild! Follow their adventures as we share them on our blog, FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Grab a 6-pack of Day Hike Summer Ale and head outside!

Little Si
Region: Snoqualmie Pass
Difficulty of Hike: Easy
Distance Round Trip: 4.7 miles
Did you encounter any of the following on your hike? Edible berries/plants
Road conditions to trailhead: Road suitable for all vehicles
Bugs: No bugs
Trail Condition: Trail in good condition
Distance from Seattle: 35 miles

We had a Sunday afternoon free to do some hiking, so we sought a shorter hike that would still get some elevation gain. We settled on Little Si— a hike these two native Washingtonians had surprisingly never done before. We stopped to pick up a couple sandwiches and prepared ourselves to battle for a parking spot at this incredibly popular trail. Brandon actually laughed when he saw the sign posted “USE OTHER TRAILS” discouraging the hordes of hikers that flock to both Mount Si and Little Si over the weekend.

We were pleasantly surprised though at how much peace we were able to find while on the trail. Politely passing large groups of ill-prepared visitors sans-daypacks (or in many cases even water), we greatly enjoyed the middle section of the trail as it winds beneath the canopy of trees past moss and fern-encrusted boulders. The tree cover provided shade, giving us a cool respite from the muggy weather of the day. During a few water/snack stops, we watched climbers scale the sides of Little Si.

The last 0.75 mile push to the summit was the only real challenge this trail offered up, but as it was relatively short, the payout views for this trail are worth it. The summit was unsurprisingly crowded, families and groups covering nearly every inch of available bare rock at the top. We were able to find a rocky outcrop a bit away from the summit where we had lunch. Then we cracked open a couple Lima Loca, enjoying the crisp, lime-infused refreshment. Plus, the can matched the landscape perfectly.

Little Si was a pleasant surprise to us— we were prepared to be underwhelmed by its trail-to-hiker ratio and views. I think we would still choose to hike on a weekday or during the shoulder season if when we go out again. But we’ll leave you with this: it’s possible to hike Little Si on a sunny weekend and still find some peace and quiet on the mountain.


Day Hike Brand Ambassador, Christina, escaped to Mount Rainier to visit Camp Muir. While snow is still speckling trails near and far, it’s hard to beat these views no matter the condition (as long as you’re safe)! Enjoy #TwoBeersInTheWild at your next summit and share with us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Camp Muir
Region: Mt. Rainier
Difficulty of Hike: Difficult
Distance Round Trip: 8.5 miles
Did you encounter any of the following on your hike? Snow
Road conditions to trailhead: Road suitable for all vehicles
Bugs: No bugs
Trail Condition: Trail buried under snow
Distance from Seattle: 3 hours

Everyone should really do this hike once, for many reasons, whether it be for the awesome views, bragging rights, or getting as up close and personal with Mount Rainier as one can get without summiting. That said, once may be enough for most.

This hike starts from Paradise. Normally you just take the path behind the visitor’s center to Panorama Point and then follow the signs up to Camp Muir. However, as of last Saturday when we did this, there is no path because all of the area is still completely covered by snow. This means you will be hiking all 8 miles in snow, instead of half that, which is usually the case. Prepare accordingly. This hike requires solid preparation, physically, mentally, and gear-wise.

We were camping relatively close by off of 410, but the drive was still 1.5 hours. We arrived around 5am to the first light making its way into the sky. We used the restrooms and then started a little before 530. *note: ideally, you should start more like 4:30. By our descent, we wish we had, due to the ice cream-like texture of the snow…* We took awhile contemplating where to be start and where to go. We assumed that on a perfectly clear Saturday, we would have others to follow, but we were the only people around. We followed some boot prints (which were hard to distinguish because of dimples in the snow from melting) in the general direction that we remembered the trail to Panorama Point to follow. Though we had no cell service, we still could see the route on Google Maps and saw we were on the right path. As we continued, things got a little easier to navigate.

As the sun rose, the light started to illuminate the tip of Mount Rainier ahead of us. We stopped a lot to look at Tatoosh Range behind us turning pink and orange. The first mile or so isn’t too strenuous. Just before Panorama is a super steep section. Crest that and continue on a couple more steep sections. We finally could see one person ahead of us in the distance and another behind us. It felt kind of neat to have a place like this almost to ourselves. The benefits of alpine starts! Once at PP, you can walk out to the Point or just continue past the restroom. We stopped frequently for water and to have snacks. We found that constantly fueling a little bit kept us going. After Panorama Point, it’s just one big undulating snowfield for the last two miles. Just keep slogging away! Eventually, you will see the huge rock formation on the right that is around 9,000 ft and with that you know you are almost there… If you have to answer nature’s call, there aren’t too many places with privacy. There are some rocks at first about 30 feet from the main “trail” but they don’t provide much height. You kind of just have to time things right between climbers, who mostly likely will not be looking at you as they struggle up the snow. And don’t forget to turn around! We had a crystal clear day. We could see Mount Adams, Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens perfectly.

The last 1,000 vertical feet isn’t the steepest but you will begin to feel the elevation kick in. For me, my heart beat faster with less exertion. We kept looking for the Camp, but didn’t know what we were looking for, so by the time we saw it, we were only 300′ vertical away! Yippee! We made it and watched summiteers mill around camp and  sat with some other day hikers on a mound overlooking it all.

We didn’t spend too much time at the top for the fear of the melting snow. Turns out it didn’t much matter. At first going down was fun because, the snow was more solid at the top. But a thousand feet down, you were just kind of sliding and by the end it was like skiing. It made it hard to stay upright–I fell probably 20 times but it’s more like toppling over the side into a snow pile. It doesn’t hurt and at least my joints didn’t ache like the normally do from the downhill pounding on solid ground. There are also some glissades that we didn’t really feel 100% comfortable because we didn’t have ice axes, but we saw lots of folks do it without. The snow was slushy enough to not go too quickly. The very steep section after PP though, is a steep glissade. I regret not going down it. My partner did. I struggled down the slushy steep part we had climbed up earlier and started my own glissade by slipping and falling and sliding, but this was not as fun as there several boulders in my path. Eventually I made it down this part and the end couldn’t come quick enough.

It took us longer to ascend than we thought, about 5 hours, but we took several water, food, and bathroom breaks. It took about 3 hours to descend and we spent about 40 minutes at the top.

Some tips:

  • Sunscreen every exposed section, especially under your chin and nose. Wear a Buff if you have one to cover your face and a hat. We kept our long sleeves on the whole time except when we stopped at the top.
  • Spikes and gaiters helped on the way up, but your boots and socks will get soaked on the way down. Bring poles.
  • Drink a ton! It’s easier to dehydrate at higher altitudes and in the sun! Remember to replenish
    electrolytes. Drinking too much water will cause hypoxia which can be just as dangerous. nuun tablets in water and Gu gels are great. Hydrate a ton the day prior as well.
  • Be prepared for wind. The forecast said calm to 5mph wind, but we encounter 15-20mph at our faces from Paradise to about 8-9,000 feet (ironically no wind at Muir). It certainly slowed us down and made things semi-miserable.
  • Eat often!
  • Be familiar with the signs of altitude sickness and know when to turn around if you start feeling it. The camp will always be there for you to come back.
  • Arrive early.
  • Check the weather for both Paradise and the Camp. The temp is about 15-20 deg different between the two. Layers are key.
  • Have fun and take lots of photos

Our brand ambassadors, Beers at the Bottom, had a can of Day Hike Summer Ale at Point Whitehorn for #TwoBeersInTheWild! Follow their adventures as we share them on our blog, FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Grab a 6-pack of Day Hike Summer Ale and a Discover Pass at The Woods before heading outside.

Point Whitehorn
Region: Puget Sound & Islands
Difficulty of Hike: Easy
Distance Round Trip: 2 miles
Did you encounter any of the following on your hike? Wildflowers, Edible berries/plants
Road conditions to trailhead: Road suitable for all vehicles
Bugs: No bugs
Trail Condition: Trail in good condition
Distance from Seattle: 109 miles

To celebrate Memorial Day weekend, a day considered to many to be the kick-off of summer, we hit the beach! Having grown up here in Washington state, I think both of us can count on one hand the number of non-rainy Memorial Day weekends we remember from our childhoods. Which is what made this sudden stretch of 80+ weather so surprising— but very welcome.

We are itching to get out on some of our favorite trails; but after a harsh winter, it’s going to take a few more weekends like this one to melt out all the snow in the backcountry. We decided to take it easy instead, with a 1 mile (one-way) hike out to the beach and a cookout after!

Just south of Birch Bay, Point Whitehorn is a great little day hike that combines a shady forest walk with tidepool exploration and sandy beaches at low tide. The 54-acre park was acquired by Whatcom Land Trust and turned into a Marine Reserve that offers 2 miles of public beach— plenty of room to throw out your beach towel.

The hike itself is as easy as they come: the ADA accessible trail is well maintained, flat, and scenic as it winds for 0.8 mile through mature forests. There’s interpretive signs along the way with information on the local flora and fauna. On our hike we spied plenty of bleeding hearts, and berry bushes in bloom including thimbleberry and blackberries. The toughest part of this hike (and the end of ADA access) is the stairs leading down to the beach— it get a little steep here, but nothing too strenuous.

The tide was low when we visited, leaving plenty of sandy beach for us to relax on. We walked about a half mile beyond the trail to get away from the Memorial Day weekend crowds, watching a sea kayaker pass by; the gorgeous outlines of Lummi and Orcas Islands on the horizon as a backdrop. With the tide out, little pools had also formed and we were able to observe sea anemone, crabs, sand dollars and a couple of flatfish all waiting for the tide to return and take them back out to sea.

One part of drinking responsibly is making sure you adhere to the rules and regulations of the public lands where you hike. Most city and county parks do not allow alcohol without a permit, and state parks allow it only in campsites and designated picnic areas. Since Point Whitehorn is a Whatcom County park, we left the beers in the cooler during our hike, and later headed down the road to Birch Bay State Park for a cookout on the beach!

Birch Bay was packed for Memorial Day weekend, but we found an ideal picnic table by the bay to enjoy our dinner and #TwoBeersInTheWild. With San Juan Island and snowy Canadian mountain views, it was the perfect end to our little adventure. Until next time, happy trails!


 
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