Throwback: A Fall Road Trip in Washington State
Some weekends are wholly about escaping--the urge to move, to adventure, to get away from it all becomes so strong that it consumes all doubts and excuses. This notion took hold of me this weekend and I got in my car with a faint idea of a destination and just went. At 9 PM a friend messages me to ask if I’ve arrived at my destination yet and I reply, “Depending on where I end up, I’m possibly still two hours away.” At midnight, I’m driving down Highway 20, with no phone service, casting my gaze about for a good place to car camp when suddenly my headlights illuminate a sign that says, “Diablo Lake Overlook.” Breaking, I pull in, and the shadowy outline of the lake below is enough to make me want to see it at sunrise. After quickly making the semblance of a bed out of the backseat of my Jeep, I quickly fall asleep.
I woke up an hour before sunrise and did some rather passionate writing about the need to write when the moment is upon you and not at a later date. Then, as the sun started peaking through the clouds, I walked over to the rim of the overlook and was rewarded with this outstanding view:
Tearing myself away from Diablo Lake, I continued a few miles up the road to the hike that I’d set my sights on, Maple Loop Pass. I chugged some Soylent for energy and Nym and I set off up the mountain. We took a little detour to Lake Ann for a quick game of fetch, then found ourselves on one of the most beautiful ridgelines I’ve had the privilege of hiking.
The amount of peaks you can see from this vantage point are innumerable, though I wouldn’t have minded sitting up there for a few hours trying to count them all. You also get spectacular views of Lewis Lake, Rainy Lake, and Lake Ann. The larches had lost most of their brightly colored yellow needles, but there were still a few clinging to life.
Back at my car I had two options, return to Seattle the way I came or continue down Highway 20 and see all the sights before the road closes for winter. When I word it that way, you can tell that really there was only one option. You can see the landscape I was driving through here (the snaking road off to the left):
Wow, right? The leaves were doing this:
And there were barns that looked like this:
Meanwhile, I turn on my third book of the trip, The Time Traveler, having already read/ listened to Animal Farm and Fahrenheit 451. Thank you WhisperSync! My mind was absolutely racing with all the theories, issues, and foreshadowing these classic books reference. Back in civilization in Winthrop, I stopped for a cup of coffee at the Rocking Horse Bakery (highly recommend, they also have gluten free items if you’re so inclined). With no time to spare, I hopped back into my car, clutching my coffee with my white-knuckled fist, and headed down to Leavenworth to see what Oktoberfest shenanigans were going on. I decided to take Steven’s Pass back to Seattle versus Snoqualmie Pass since I’d never driven its full length before.
Between the mountains and autumn leaves, I caught glimpses of a wonderful sunset, marking the end to another grand adventure. I drove around ten hours this weekend, read three books, and hiked nearly ten miles, and though I didn’t manage to run away from all the thoughts that have plagued me of late, I did put them in perspective and weigh their importance against the pure joy of exploration. The scales say that adventure carries more weight than life’s biggest problems, and all you have to do to shed the burden of those extra pounds you’re carrying around in your soul is to get out there and live your adventure.