PNW Hiking in the Midst of a Pandemic
This blog post is part of our Discover the Northwest story series where we work with some of our favorite local explorers by asking them to go on an adventure, take over our Instagram Stories and create a blog post about the adventure life. This post was written by Joanna Genovese.She's a mom to three boys in addition to running a small business and working with kids with special needs. Due to her busy lifestyle, nature has become her therapy. Her addiction to adventure has taken her to Scotland, Iceland, London, and Paris, but the mountains of the PNW will always be her home.
My partnership with Pyramid was one of the highlights of my year. Pyramid first approached me to do a takeover in September, however a wrench was thrown into our plans as the Pacific Northwest experienced a devastating stretch of wildfires. I was disappointed, but I knew I’d have another opportunity in December. As my takeover date approached, I grew fearful of my plans falling through yet again due to the pandemic restrictions increasing. Luckily for me I didn’t have to travel too far as my backyard, the PNW, offers some of the best and most breathtaking natural landscapes in the world. The result was a spectacular trip full of amazing memories (in a safe and socially distanced manner), that once again reminded me of the power that nature holds to provide a peaceful respite and wash away the stressors of our busy lives.
My name is Joanna, and I don’t have a lot of freetime. I’m a mom to three boys, a business owner, and I have a full time job working with autistic children. While these occupations bring me happiness, they don’t come without their own set of challenges . Luckily, I’ve got the therapeutic advantages of nature to escape to whenever I need it.
2020 has definitely taught me to roll with the punches and have a plan A, B, and C. It’s mandatory to check road conditions, the risk of avalanche, and of course the weather.
I visited Skyline Lake located only an hour and a half away from Seattle. The weather early in the week predicted heavy rain but I was blessed with a bluebird day. I read all of the recent trail reports so I’d be prepared with all of the appropriate gear for my adventure. Aside from my ten essentials I made sure to bring along my gaiters, microspikes, snowshoes, trekking poles, a mask and of course some Pyramid beer. I’ve always enjoyed the peace of an empty trail, and now with the pandemic it became even more important to me to avoid the rush.
I arrived at sunrise. The trail started off with compact ice and snow, which was perfect for my microspikes. However, when I got into the last half mile, it became snowshoe territory. I strapped up my snowshoes and trudged through the trail. When I arrived at the lake, I unpacked my Pyramid Blazing Bright Juicy IPA. Luckily, Mother Nature provided plenty of snow for me to chill my beer in. When I opened up my ice cold beverage, even the birds wanted to join! After enjoying my frosty beer, I managed to make it back down the mountain before the crowds appeared. Upon arriving home, I placed my gear in front of the fireplace so that it could dry out in time to be ready for the next day's adventure.
The next day I visited a trail that truly holds a special place in my heart—Heather Lake Trail. As I previously mentioned, I do have three boys, and when they were young, I juggled the jobs of running a business and being a stay-at-home mom. They went everywhere I went, so I didn’t have much me-time until my youngest started first grade. Often after I dropped the kids off at school, I’d hurry to Mountain Loop Highway, hike up to the lake, set up my hammock and have lunch with a gorgeous view, and then relax until it was time to head down the mountain to pick up my kids from school. Fast forward five years, and the trail is still my favorite backyard trail.
My gear I packed along for Sunday’s hike was a little different. I swapped out my trekking poles and snowshoes for my waterproof coat and boots. The weather forecast predicted a 90% chance of rain. I had about 30 minutes of dry beautiful weather before the sky opened up and drenched me. Despite the torrential downpour and freezing temperatures, I still found myself soaking in the lake views with a Pyramid beer in my hand. I wrapped up the weekend with a beer, a bubble bath, and a clear head ready to tackle another week. Nature has been my escape for years now, and I’m sure it will be for the rest of my life.
Even though my life is busy and the world is crazy right now, the Pacific Northwest wilderness remains my happy place from the very first time I saw the endless evergreen forests, the sky-scraping mountains, and pure teal lakes. Everyone needs their happy place, and I’m glad to say that this is mine.