A SOBO Family Reunion Along the Pacific Crest Trail

Gallery Mode

Author

Graham Hiemstra

Camera

Contax T2

Film

Kodak Portra 400, Ektar 100

Back to article
Fallback
Fallback

A SOBO Family Reunion Along the Pacific Crest Trail

Four old-timers trade city life for a few days in truly remote country in the heart of the Great Northwest

A SOBO Family Reunion Along the Pacific Crest Trail

Author

Graham Hiemstra

Camera

Contax T2

Film

Kodak Portra 400, Ektar 100

https://www.fieldmag.com/articles/family-backpacking-mt-rainier-william-odouglas-wilderness

It has become a tradition in my family for myself, my father, uncle, and cousin to get together each summer for a family backpacking trip. No one can remember how or why we decided to hike into Oregon's Mount Jefferson Wilderness together four summers ago, but we are all glad we did.

Each trip takes a similar shape—we begin at lesser known trailhead in a lesser known wilderness area in either Washington or Oregon, hike a handful of miles to join up with the well known Pacific Crest Trail, tack on a similar number of miles to a body of water, then make camp.

Sometimes we establish a base camp and do day hikes from there. Other times we break camp each morning and log more miles with full weight. Either way, after a few days of fly fishing, huckleberry picking, book reading, and joke cracking we hoof it out, head for the nearest burger and beer, and begin planning the next trip.

Hiemstra-Hike-Rainier

This year, we covered a solid 20 some miles along the eastern border of Mount Rainier National Park, hiking SOBO (south bound) on the PCT.

Due to conflicting schedules, we were forced to push our hike well into September. And though concerns of bad weather and alternative routes were discussed at length, we lucked out and wound up with exactly the opposite. A few cold nights for sure, but beautiful sunshine and blue skies otherwise. Plus a welcomed lack of smoke—something that has sadly become a part of summer recreation along the whole West Coast in recent years it seems.

As the photos show, we found some serious wilderness this year. It felt more remote than years past. And I for one welcomed it with open arms. After living in New York City for nearly a decade these moments have become increasingly valuable. To trade living among nearly nine million people for a few days of lakeside camping in a truly remote landscape with no modern distractions nor noise—save for the occasional elk bugle—is an experience well worth the effort.

Now to decide on where to next...

Hiemstra-Hike-Rainier-15

Hiemstra-Hike-Rainer-hardstyle

Hiemstra-Hike-Rainier-Split-3

Hiemstra-Hike-Rainier-8

Hiemstra-Hike-Rainier-9

Hiemstra-Hike-Rainier-2

Hiemstra-Hike-Rainier-1

Hiemstra-Hike-Rainier-13

Hiemstra-Hike-Rainier-11

Hiemstra-Hike-Rainier-10

Hiemstra-Hike-Rainier-art-fly-rod

Hiemstra-Hike-Rainier-17

Hiemstra-Hike-Rainier-32

Hiemstra-Hike-Rainier-16

Hiemstra-Hike-Rainier-End

Fallback
Related articles
Zenbivy Offer Campers a Cozy Solution to Restrictive Sleeping Bags
These Two-Piece, Modular Beds Offer a Cozy Alternative to Restrictive Sleeping Bags

The upstart brand's two-piece sleeping bag alternatives are ideal for restless campers and shifty sleepers—and function in every season

Desolation Wilderness Backpacking Guide: Lake Aloha & Endless Views
18 Stunning Film Photos from California's Desolation Wilderness Protected Area

Hard earned tips, gear suggestions, and beautiful film photography from 5 days hiking in California's famed El Dorado National Forest

A Modern Guide to Ethical, Sustainable Foraging
How to Be an Ethical, Sustainable Forager

Learn how to become a responsible forager with expert advice and actionable tips on both finding mushrooms and respecting your environment

Patagonia Goes Ultralight With Untethered Kit for Backcountry Camping
Patagonia Joins the Ultralight Movement With "Untethered Kit" for Backcountry Camping

The progressive kit of overnight hiking essentials includes a lightweight sleeping bag, fuel-less cook system, and pack for simplified exploring

20 Sun-soaked Film Photos of Seven Gables in the John Muir Wilderness
Taking the Trail Less Traveled in the Sierra Nevada's John Muir Wilderness

Trip report and dreamy photography documents a long weekend spent exploring deep within Northern California's iconic Sierra Nevada range

Seven Lightweight Camping Cots for a Better Night Sleep
The 7 Best Cots for Backpacking and Lightweight Camping

These highly-packable designs make getting a good night's rest under the stars easier than ever, without the noise and feel of an air pad

More articles
Fallback
Fallback