A 12:30am trailhead soiree, mud-splattered rings, a 12-mile round trip hike, and a vow exchange overlooking some of the most spectacular mountains Washington has to offer – sounds like a pretty damn great Central Cascades adventure elopement to me if I’ve ever heard one.
📍Land Acknowledgement: Taken on the stolen ancestral land of the Yakama peoples.
This elopement in the Central Cascades could not have been the more perfect example of what adventure elopements are truly all about! I left my apartment in Seattle at 10pm to make the 12:30am meet time we’d planned – yes, you read that right – a 10pm departure and a midnight meet time. If that’s not the definition of the beginning of a sunrise hiking elopement, I’m not sure what is!
Vanessa + Josh chose the Navaho Peak hike for their big day, so meeting that early in the morning (or late at night?) was crucial in making sure we had ample time to complete the hike up in time for sunrise. Once we were all at the trailhead near Roslyn, I lent out some of my extra trekking poles + headlamps, we double-checked our backpacks, and then we were on our way!
In classic Pacific Northwest fashion, the weather was a little fickle at first, so we prepared ourselves for a rainy hike and cloudy skies potentially blocking our views. We crossed our fingers, hoping for the best, and continued the challenging trek up this trail, all the while I was having a blast getting to know the four of them. I wasn’t surprised that Vanessa + Josh were up for this trek, because they’re also avid climbers & love all things adventure – they have a van that they took to British Columbia for climbing + exploring on their honeymoon! Absolute goals.
The 12-mile Navaho Peak hike is not for the faint of heart, with a difficulty rating of “Hard” on AllTrails thanks to the 4,000+ feet of elevation gain and lengthy route. I definitely recommend checking out the hike on AllTrails for recent reviews & up-to-date information before you go to make sure you’re fully prepared for weather & trail conditions!
We ended up making great time thanks to our uber-early trailhead meetup, and somehow Mother Nature gifted us with the best weather we could ask for at the time – overcast skies, but still nearly full views of the Enchantments in the background, which is exactly what Vanessa and Josh wanted! As glorious as sunrise elopements are, it’s important to remember how dang cold it is in the mountains before sunrise, and not to underestimate the layers you’ll need to withstand the temperature + winds you might encounter.
As the ceremony unfolded and Vanessa & Josh held hands, with their friend Austin officiating, fog rolled in and it started to rain. Nobody was bummed though, because the rain hit mid-vows, as Vanessa and Josh were feeling their peak emotions – it was beautiful, magical, and seemingly serendipitous!
We quickly got moving after the ceremony to do our best to avoid any incoming worse weather. The rain stopped for brief moments here & there, and the sun even peeked out a bit on our descent down. We stopped a few times throughout the scenic trail to take photos in front of the crazy picturesque backdrops, one of which somehow looked like it was in the middle of Alaska, and one that had some red rock in the background – which is super rare for WA.
As if I hadn’t already had a ton of fun celebrating Vanessa + Josh, and getting to know their friends Meg + Austin, we even got breakfast in Roslyn after the hike at my favorite spot – Basecamp Books & Bites. I can’t recommend this adorable little cafe/bar/bookstore in the heart of historic downtown Roslyn enough!
So thankful that I was lucky enough to not only document this magical adventure for Vanessa + Josh, but that I was also able to have a blast hanging out with the whole crew, from our meetup in the total dark all the way to grabbing some delicious post-hike bites. This incredible morning in the mountains with some pretty dang incredible people was one I truly won’t forget!
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