Skyline Divide / by Kai Jacobson

Late August of last year, Andrew and I tackled the Skyline Divide trail. It was one of the most epic overnight hikes I've done to date. Roughly 15km round trip and 2500ft elevlation gain, the trail takes you up a steep, knee crushing incline that makes you want to turn back after the first 5 minutes. Following switchbacks for a couple hours through the forest with a few water breaks and snacks, we ploughed on to the ridge to make it for sunset. I thought Hank was going to perish on us a few times because his pig-like anatomy is not ideal for steep hiking BUT he trekked on. 

We made it to the ridge, soaking in sweat, with mosquitoes buzzing around any uncovered skin. The view was breathtaking. As you reach the treeline and the forest opens up, you're left with jaw dropping views of Mount Baker. As we walked along the ridge, the wind picked up, temperatures dropped and fortunately the mosquitos dissappeared. We packed light so quickly set up camp anywhere we liked and took in the views while the dogs guzzled water and food. 

As the sun set, we spun in circles taking in the 360 views of the of the North Cascades and ocean far off in the distance. Not another soul in sight, we had the place to ourselves. This was the one time we forgot to bring whiskey or beer, instead opting for lighter packs, only to immediately regret that decision as we settled in for our canned chili dinner. After the sunset, we were pleasently surprised by one of the most incredible night skies I've ever witnessed. Hanging our heads out the back of the tent staring into the sky, we quickly dozzed off after the day's tough trek. It's night's like those that really make you love the outdoors.

We raced down in the morning to get breakfast and a well earned cold beer. Driving down in my old 1987 BMW on a 21 km potholed logging road was not the best idea...We parked at the breakfast joint only to have someone sprinting after us saying every drop of oil in the car had empited in the parking lot...let's just say a cracked oil pan in middle-of-nowhere Washington is not an ideal way to end a hike. Needless to say, it's all part of the adventure!

Side note: DRIVE SLOW AND CAREFULLY. It's a 21km logging road (one way) and it ain't pretty. There is no cell service. So tell someone where you're going before you leave, bring enough warm clothes and water to last an extra night or two and drive a vehicle equipped for a logging road. Towing a car from Glacier, Washington to a junkyard in Chiliwak is not cheap.