On our way back to Seattle we were bundled under a blanket on the bench seat of the van, smelling like campfire and coffee. A yellow raincoat was draped over the back of the passenger seat. The windshield wipers were swishing.
We had decided to get away to the woods for a weekend, despite the notorious Pacific Northwest gloom having erased the last traces of summer. The plan was simple: wrangle some wool socks and playing cards, fire up Buttercup and Shelly (the vans), and once everyone was off work Friday, head toward the Olympic Peninsula. After we changed our mind about sleeping in a grim looking parking lot, we found a wooded area close to the nearby lake to park the vans for the night.
The next morning, post-coffee, we felt like a scene from a music video, striding through parking lot puddles to a convenient store for snacks—each of us donning a vibrant Ember and Earth rain jacket.
The drizzle from the night before had carried into the morning, but we were dry. We set out on a hunt for the Vance Creek Bridge. It took a couple detours and harmonica sessions, but finally we found what we were looking for. This retired bridge is the second highest railway arch bridge ever built in the United States, soaring 347 feet above a wooded valley.
A few of us scrambled up for a birds eye view, and in an instant, the entire trip was worth it.
Our weekend wasn't without mishap: a car broke down, a pair of hiking boots melted by the fire, and we had a grumpy dog on our hands, but it was a weekend none of us will forget. We laughed until we cried, stayed up until the campfire was nothing but embers, and left the woods with inside jokes and refreshed spirits. We had decided the only way to get through winter was to pretend it was still summer—and we had the perfect gear to do just that.
Written by Madison Frambels