Maple Pass Loop — PNW Living // Methow Valley Photographer

Maple Pass Loop.

I didn’t really plan to go hiking the day after Natalie & Sam’s wedding. But when I asked them at the rehearsal dinner about a couple good Methow Valley hiking spots, they both recommended the Maple Pass Loop. So much so, that they told me H shouldn’t do the hike on Saturday, but we should go together on Sunday.

They promised it was easy, and even though it was 7.2 miles long, it was worth it.

I felt like I was going to die. At least a dozen times. We started early to “beat the crowds” — spoiler alert: we saw less than a dozen people during our hike — and to beat the heat. We also started early so that we wouldn’t be too late checking out of our hotel.

What I learned on my first hike after at least a decade:

  1. European hikes are better, because Europeans put little cafes on the top of mountains. Hiking = cake. Awesome.
  2. After about a mile, I started telling Hubert about the breakfast I wished I’d eaten: bacon, eggs, pancakes and a side of fruit. I’m always hungry the morning after a wedding, but wedding hangover + hiking resulted in me craving a diner breakfast.
  3. H is the best. He hauled my camera around so that I wouldn’t have to carry anything. And he kept encouraging me.
  4. I’d forgotten how amazing it is to be completely along, with no one around (at one point, H went ahead of me to scout something out) and without any devices to amuse me. It’s so peaceful.
  5. Climbing a mountain, hiking 7.2 miles, and doing it all before noon leaves you feeling pretty accomplished. Doing so the day after a wedding, then sitting in a car for 4 hours to drive home, leaves you sore enough to swear you’d never move again.

Maple Pass Loop is amazing. Even in the fog, when you can’t see the mountains in the distance, you’ll love it. The last three photos were taken by H, on his phone.

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