Trekking The Marmot Pass Solo
Christa from Expedition Wildlife says While I had experienced traveling solo on multiple occasions, going on my first solo, overnight backpacking trip opened up a whole new meaning to spending time introspectively and enjoying the world around me.
After moving to the Pacific Northwest from the east coast of the United States, I was still working on getting my bearings in this new, unknown place. The stunning mountains, strewn with alpine streams and flowers, and vistas filled with views only dreamt of in storybooks, called to me. Soon, day hikes weren’t enough and I wanted a challenge - to truly immerse myself in nature.
My friends either didn’t have the time or the desire to go into the mountains overnight, so I had to take it upon myself to continue alone.
The Marmot Pass hike in the Olympic Mountains National Park is the perfect solo overnight destination for a first-timer. The trek was beautiful, stretching through fir forests, past brooks, and up to the rocky, high-mountain habitat that marmots and mountain goats call home.
The mountain lion I scared up from its nap under a boulder gave me a nice startle, and that voice that sits in the back of everyone’s head asked just what I had gotten myself into. After making camp and looking out at the clear view towards Mount Rainier, I felt triumphant at my success, which was, however, dampened somewhat by a terribly tasting camp dinner. I’ve since improved drastically in my ability to cook on the trail.
Sunset stretched out in a rainbow of colors throughout the alpine meadows and peaks, a scene more beautiful than anything I’d ever seen. Just enough people camped overnight nearby, yet even on a crystal clear, perfect summer evening, there were only a handful of others within a quarter of a mile.
The miles of hiking into the mountains couldn’t make me tired enough to forego considering all the sounds of the night, and my mind bounced back to the mountain lion I’d seen earlier in the day. Soon enough, as happens in summertime, the sun began to crest over the valley, and, I breathed a sigh of relief, realizing I’d accomplished my goal.
Since then, I’ve continued my journey by taking at least one solo backpacking trip each year, the last of which was trekking the GR20 in Corsica. John Muir wasn’t wrong when he said “the mountains are calling, and I must go” – I feel that same pull and it continually draws me back.