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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!


Day Hike Brand Ambassador, Christina, enjoyed an early summer day at nearby favorite and calf-burner, Lake Serene/Bridal Veil Falls. The views are well worth the effort, especially when you enjoy #TwoBeersInTheWild at the summit! Keep following our ambassadors adventures on our blog, FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Lake Serene/Bridal Veil Falls
Region: Central Cascades
Difficulty of Hike: Medium
Distance Round Trip: 8.5 miles
Did you encounter any of the following on your hike? Inedible berries/plants
Road conditions to trailhead: Road suitable for all vehicles
Bugs: No bugs
Trail Condition: Trail in good condition
Distance from Seattle: 54 miles

We decided to take advantage of the amazing weather… and so did everyone else. Luckily we arrived at the trailhead relatively early to beat the heat and bigger crowds.

We started on the trail just after 8am. The lot was probably already 3/4 full. I was happy to see the short road to the lot from Highway 2 had been recently graveled and the huge potholes there in fall were mainly filled in. The trail starts wide and flat, and narrows into some salmonberry bushes that are flowering, and will make excellent snacking later this summer. You pass over and through two water crossings and then continues gradually uphill. Shortly after the split in the trail is the fork to continue to the lake or to head up the Bridal Veil Falls. I always do this first because I know I won’t want to do it on the way down. The 1/2 mile up features lots of stairs, a sneak peak of what you will get for the second half of the hike.

There was a tiny patch of snow to either climb over or around. I chose around with my short legs, but my partner has long limbs and he just climbed up and over. It will probably be melted by next weekend. The falls are gushing right now, making them a real treat. The blowing mist felt so good after working up a bit of a sweat.

After the falls, we started the 2 mile trek from the fork to the lake. It feels like longer, because this is where the majority of the 2,000 feet of gain comes in, mostly in the form of stairs. Before this, you meander down into some lush growth and a huge rock formation that has its own waterfall coming from it right now. In the summer, it dries to a trickle. You cross over big wooden bridge just before this, and can catch some views of the waterfall.

Then the story is switchbacks and stairs. It’s a little bit of a slog with a weighted bag. It flattens for a bit and you think the stairs are done, but not quite. The second long stretch of mainly flat you hit is when you know you are on the final push. It’s still a bit to the lake but it’s a gradual rocky ascent. When you break out of the trees, you get views of Index straight ahead and below to the river further away peaks. This will be the sunniest part of the trail. When you see a sign, you are very close. Walk down a bit more and then the lake comes into view. Today it was mostly frozen still, but definitely breaking up with the heat. We continue past the first stopping point to get away from the crowd and enjoyed a snack in the sun.

A couple of notes about the trail: it’s very rocky. Watch your step. The rocks can be slippery too. The trail is very muddy right now. Try not to wear nice sneakers–they will get muddy. Try not to where sneakers at all. Boots are the best option for this hike. A couple other notes: pack out your dog poo. Please refrain from blasting music from your backpack. This trail is utilized by all hiking levels (including lots of families). Be patient; not everyone is familiar with Leave No Trace principles but there could be a great educational experience hidden in all the frustration!

When we left at around 1:30pm, the lot maxed out, the overflow area was full, people were parking all the way down the road and even on Highway 2. It is POPULAR. If you go on a weekend, go early. You’ll be very glad you did.


Beer and outdoor fans everywhere say “hi” to Loomis Hamilton! He’ll be joining us this summer for #TwoBeersInTheWild adventures! Follow our ambassadors 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.

Mount Washington
Region: Snoqualmie Pass
Difficulty of Hike: Medium
Distance Round Trip: 8.4 miles
Did you encounter any of the following on your hike? Wildflowers
Road conditions to trailhead: Road suitable for all vehicles
Bugs: No bugs
Trail Condition: Trail in good condition
Distance from Seattle: 37 miles, ~45 minutes

We arrived at the trailhead around 11 a.m. and spent the first two miles of our trek in the rain. It was the perfect way to spend a Saturday after the beautiful winter we’ve had! This trail does not provide much cover from the rain, so if you are looking to stay dry on a rainy Puget Sound day, I suggest continuing to the east side of the Cascades.

Most of our time on the trail was spent under clouds, with a few sun breaks. The trail was fairly wet, especially after the first 2.5 miles, but did not pose any real difficulties. The last mile and a half were pretty snowy, and micro-spikes made a world of difference. We made it up to the top in time to get a few pictures of the lake views. While we turned our backs to hide from the wind and look at the pictures on our phones, the clouds rolled in and then we could not see a thing. This was a great training hike for backpackers, as it is pretty empty and provides a good challenge with some solid views on a clear day.


 

Our final Day Hike Brand Ambassador is Loomis Hamilton! We’re thrilled to have his native Seattle perspective on old stomping grounds and new favorites!

From Loomis:
Having lived here for my entire 28-ish years, I wish I could say that I have been exploring for just as long, but I started a couple of years ago. I actually started hiking to take pictures of beer! I was able to make it to the top of Mount Si thanks to the help of a kind lady who gave me some of her energy beans and a granola bar. That kindness and feeling of achievement from reaching the top got me hooked. I have since found that the nicest people in our state are hikers. I would guess this is due to the fact that any time with nature is better than the best day at a desk. I have long appreciated the beauty of Washington state, but never knew what I’d take away from exploring it up close. I am now obsessed with finding obscure places that look like they should be on postcards and sharing them through the lens of my camera.

I firmly believe that every hiker needs a beer or three at their final destination. I will never consider myself to be an ultralight backpacker, because beer is a necessity. My girlfriend and I have spent the better part of the last year getting out to any hike-able mountain lakes and peaks that we can find. We started backpacking late last summer, and I have spent every moment since the weather turned bad in October like a guy in a full-body cast just itching to get out.

We have a big trip through the Enchantments to start the summer, and then we will be bouncing all over Washington and Oregon in search of new places. My Summer 2017 bucket list includes the Ozette Triangle, Cascade Pass and Sahale Arm, and Enchanted Valley out on the Olympic Peninsula.


 
Two Beers Brewing Company

life is just a little more honest after two beers

4700 Ohio Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134
(206) 762-0490
info@twobeersbrewery.com

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