Overland Central Washington

First mud on the tires – Central Washington Exploring

Drip. Drop. Drip. Drop.

That was the sound Nick and I woke up to on a rainy September morning in the middle of the Cascades. It was our first night in our new rooftop tent and it was the best sound in the world.

When Nick came home and told me he was thinking about getting a rooftop tent for his 4 runner I was beside myself with excitement. Growing up in Alaska with two adventure enthusiast parents, I feel most at home in the woods. When I met Nick, our mutual love of nature and traveling drew us together and we couldn’t wait for our first camping trip. Nick did some research and decided on Adventure Ready, an epic company based out of Seattle. Nick started chatting with Tom and before we knew it, we were ready to roll.

Tom hooked us up with a James Baroud rooftop tent, a Rhino Rack awning, an Engel fridge/freezer, a Partner stove, two Jet Tent pilot chairs, and an Oztent table. We threw our blankets in the back of the truck and some food in the fridge, and, to be as corny as possible, we were ADVENTURE READY!

We started out on a Friday afternoon and drove east on i-90 to meet up with our friends who were gallivanting around somewhere in the Cascades. We drove out across Snoqualmie pass, then turned north on a forest service road up towards Summit Chief Mountain. The sun was setting and as we drove up into the mountains on the rocky road I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for our beautiful state and a life that allows me to explore it.

We came around a bend and the perfect campsite was waiting for us. Right off the road, with tall trees providing some reprieve from the now pouring rain. Setting up our campsite was a breeze – the tent popped right up and we were lounging in our chairs and cooking dinner in under 15 minutes. We whipped up a feast on our camp stove – a Norwegian Betta Suppe stew, with summer sausage, meatballs, potatoes, carrots, celery and onions with bacon grilled cheese on the side! The perfect comfort food next to the fire. The awning kept us dry from the rain as we chatted and laughed with good friends – it was a pretty special evening. We crawled up the ladder into our cozy comfy bed and dozed off to the unparalleled sound of raindrops right above our heads.

Nick Noren - Overlanding

The next morning we made some hot tea and a delicious breakfast then packed up camp (which literally took 10 minutes) and headed east to find the perfect camping spot for the next night. It was still completely pouring, but we kept completely dry in our tent and under the awning – it was perfect!

We drove east for a while then headed north to a spot Tom actually recommended to us called Lion Rock. There is a special place in the Wenatchee national forest that suffered a devastating forest fire several years back, the baby trees are just now starting to reach up among the tall burnt hollows that serve as a reminder of the brutal flames. Driving through this region was stunning, I’d never seen anything like it before.



We drove up through the forest and Nick rallied through the huge puddles from the night before, getting plenty of mud on the tires :)

Nick Noren - Uncommon Adventurer Overlanding Central Washington

We found a beautiful campsite in an open meadow on a plateau looking over the mountains and we were the only people in sight. We set up camp, made a fire and were just getting ready to start dinner at dusk when several cars started pulling up. We were a little irritated as more and more cars started pulling up and they were closer to us than we would have liked. We finally realized that the bulky things they were pulling out of their trunks were huge telescopes, tripods and cameras to shoot photographs of the stars from the meadow. As the dusk turned to dark we realized why this spot must be so popular – it was a perfectly clear night and I’ve never seen the Milky Way so clearly. As we sat there, enchanted under the millions of stars, we reflected on the enormity of our universe and the beauty of our earth. The stargazers got their photos, and as they drove us and left us on the peaceful plateau, we climbed up the ladder, full and happy, and slept blissfully in our tent under the stars.

Nick Noren - James Baroud Nomad 160 rooftop tent 4Runner

Until next time,

Helen & Nick

One Response to First mud on the tires – Central Washington Exploring

  1. chris October 18, 2016 at 11:20 am #

    lion rock is cool. we made the mistake of trying to camp at the top of the mountain and the wind picked up like crazy, then we retreated to some cover and it was all good.

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