Exploring Washington - Part II | by Taylor McNelis
There’s this Ford commercial that I see on TV every once in a while, I think for a new truck or maybe their entire 2022 lineup. But the commercial has a beautiful drone shot over a curved bridge as the truck is driving across; showcasing the mountains and tall trees in the background. It’s a good ad and that one shot is on screen for only a couple seconds. That location is actually a road nearby Baker Lake in the state of Washington. How do I know that? Because I also have a beautiful drone shot of that same bridge over the river with the same mountains in the background.
Driving around Washington is an adventure itself, and you need to come prepared that just because two points are right next to each other doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a quick drive. Half the time you find yourself driving around entire mountains (yes plural) just to get to the other side of the same mountain you started on. It reminds me of West Virginia in that sense, it’s very remote, mountainous, and there’s never a direct path where you’re trying to go and you spend most of the time just winding around mountains to get around.
Baker Lake is in the northern part of Washington and nestled in-between Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and the North Cascades National Park. Covering over 11 square miles, this lake makes a home for many people stopping by to fish, camp, hike, canoe and anything else you can think of. Much like Mount Rainier, Baker Lake and the surrounding area is another destination where you need about 4 or 5 days to completely check out. We only had a day so we had to make due and unfortunately we did not find a camping spot along the water. You can park and set up tent along the lake but it’s first come first serve and we arrived much too late in the day to do that, but luckily there was a KOA nearby and we set up shop there.
If you’re looking for food around here, I hope you packed it because in between the towns of Concrete, Rockport, and Marblemount there isn’t much except for an overpriced diner and a couple other spots that don’t have great hours. So if you’re heading in that direction, once you pass through Burlington onto HWY 20, just keep in mind it’s very remote the further east you go. And the diner is just okay, 4/10, nothing to write home about so I won’t even name drop them in here but it’s nothing compared to Log Cabin Diner in Klamath, California.
Baker Lake is an awesome spot and I wish we were able to spend more time there, but the way I look at it now I have another spot to travel back and check out another time. We didn’t do much hiking during the time period from Snoqualmie Falls to Baker Lake and eventually Sahale, but it’s like I said earlier it takes a long time to travel anywhere on the eastern portion of Washington. This stretch of highway is jam packed with things to do outdoors and all you need is time. We also camped out at Ross Lake which is even further East towards Diablo which is another picturesque area. We met these dudes on the beach who are from the area, pretty redneck, but we had a good time throwing the football around and talking about anything. Ross Lake is another one of those places like Baker Lake where you could spend an entire week exploring the area. I wish I had taken some photos but to be honest I was so busy getting in the frigid water and throwing the football and drinking that my camera didn’t even cross my mind.
So far the state of Washington has been full of surprises and more beauty than I imagined. I always thought it was just a state of tall trees and rain but little did I know it had so much to offer and we’ve barely scratched the surface. It’s a blessing to explore this section of the country and see places I would’ve never considered checking out before all thanks to some new friends.
Coming soon is part 3 on ‘Exploring Washington’! We hike up Sahale mountain for epic views, a surprise engagement, and the greatest bathroom in the world? Stay tuned and find out!