For the first of many long road trips, Colin and I spent a week in the North Cascades National Park. While this style of trip is what we envision for our future van days, we also considered our first road trip a bit of a vacation. So we splurged… on booze, mainly. We learned a lot of good lessons and took in some breathtaking views. And when we got home, we realized we had only spent $395 between us. What can you do with $395*? A whole lot!
Friday, August 18: Grocery shop ($126) and food prep for the week ahead. This right here is the money saver.
Saturday, August 19: Fill up the van with gas ($48), drive to the national park, hike Heather Maple Pass Loop (7.2 miles, 2000 ft elevation gain), stay overnight at Klipchuck campground ($12).
Sunday, August 20: Hike Blue Lake Trail (4.4 miles, 1050 ft elevation gain), enjoy an incredible cider tasting at Methow Valley Cider House ($20), “enjoy” an off-roading adventure (some more than others), nail a secluded dispersed camping spot in the middle of nowhere, stargaze to the heart’s delight.
Monday, August 21: Solar shower! Pull out the camp chairs, read, and enjoy the (partial) eclipse! Load up on some local cider at the Mazama Store ($26 – because vacation), go rock climbing, drive up to Hart’s Pass campground ($8), camp under the stars.
Tuesday, August 22: Explore trails, see an old log cabin, trail run to the Ross Lake dam (2.2 miles, 500 ft elevation gain), drive to all the overlooks and act like tourists (which we were).
Wednesday, August 23: Hike up to Hidden Lake Lookout (8 miles, 3300 ft elevation gain). Exhaust thyself by making it a day hike. Sleep overnight in the parking lot after enjoying well-deserved chili mac and booze.
Thursday, August 24: Explore unmarked roads in the North Cascades National Forest, settle down alongside a creek and take a well-deserved rest day with 2 hour naps (no vacation is complete without some solid napping), lots of reading and solar showers. Fill up the tank with gas ($59), spend an inordinate amount of money on one can of propane from the awesome Goat’s Beard Mountain Supply Store ($8), and pick up ice and chapstick from the Mazama Store ($11).
Friday, August 25: All squeaky clean and well-rested, hit the road to tackle the Sahale Glacier (12.25 miles, 4000 ft elevation gain). Set up camp and sleep at the base of the glacier.
Saturday, August 26: High-tail it out of there upon waking up and hit the road for home! Enjoy amazing burgers (and a rootbeer float!) at Mondo ($50) before leaving the area.
*For those keeping track, I can only recall $368 worth of charges, but I know it’s $395. When I figure out where that extra $27 went to, I’ll update it. Probably booze. Because vacation.