Backpacking Washington's Most Iconic Landscapes in One Week
35mm film captures a dreamy exploration of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and Olympic National Park
Canon F1, Minolta Himatic AF2
Kodak Portra 400, Ilford HP5
We loaded up on backpacking gear and decided to spend a week in Washington. That’s about as far as we got in terms of planning. Once on the ground at Sea-Tac we huddled up and searched for trails, eventually agreeing on The Enchantments, a well revered section of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness of central Washington.
We woke up before the sun to snag backcountry permits from the nearest ranger station. While waiting for the station to open, we met a few other hikers with similar intentions as us—one was named Tamrin, and we got to talking.
Tamrin, or Tammy, was in his mid 30s, originally from Israel, and currently living out of and traveling around the Pacific Northwest in his car. While in line we found that we were planning on backpacking the same trail, so we decided to join forces and hike together.
Tammy turned out to be quite the talker, and was full of wisdom he’d acquired over the years. Throughout the next few days he essentially told us his life story. He spoke of Israel, of his experience with organic, sustainable farming, and of his past travels, stopping every once in a while to point out the flora we were passing by. Listening to Tammy’s stories, his values were clear—appreciation over exploitation.
After finishing the trail, we grabbed lunch and said our goodbyes to our new friend, Tammy. None of us got his contact info, but I doubt he really had any, either. He didn’t seem like much of an Instagramer.
"The outdoors seems to prove an exception to the 'don’t talk to strangers' rule."
We still had a few days left in Washington so we shot out to Olympic National Park and did a quick overnight trip along Rialto Beach. Tammy was a frequent topic of conversation and we all agreed that it was a blessing to have him join us through The Enchantments.
The outdoors seem to bring together interesting people from all sorts of backgrounds and tend to prove an exception to the “don’t talk to strangers” rule.
I don’t expect to ever see Tammy again, but I keep him in mind whenever I’m out taking photos or simply enjoying the outdoors. His values and perspective are worth considering. There’s nothing wrong with going out and shooting some hot steamers for your Instagram feed, but remember that the Earth is not here for our exploitation, but for our appreciation (looking at you Poppy Stompers). Do what you can to help sustain the natural beauty of Mother Nature because, as we all know, not everyone does.