Your cart
THE LAST WILDERNESS: WATCH NOW WATCH: THE LAST WILDERNESS -- OUR JOURNEY THROUGH THE PNW

the last wilderness

a sense of awakening in the PNW

the last wilderness

a sense of awakening in the PNW

the weather forecast called for low 50s during the day, with a few hours teasing opportunities of sunshine. we knew that riding to and from first-come-first-served style campgrounds throughout the Olympic Peninsula in September could turn out to be a relentless adventure. even with a well thought out itinerary, we didn’t know what to expect.

for starters, the climate in this region of Washington is known to be extremely variable and unpredictable, no matter the time of year. 100 – 200 inches of rain fall hails down annually, creating a dense landscape lined with old-growth forests, lush hillsides, and shades of green that could only be found on the paint palette of Bob Ross. it’s one thing to drive an overlander rig through this region, it’s an entirely different experience on a motorcycle. and from our perspective, it’s honestly the only way to do it..

when you ride a motorcycle through dense dawn air in the Pacific Northwest, there are moments of absolute clarity. the cold, wet, wind biting through your Kevlar lined gloves reminds you of how easily your mindset can shift. you tell yourself while the pavement blurs below your feet, “my hands are f*cking cold and I can barely feel the throttle.” that's what the definition of clarity should be: being in the moment, taking in your surroundings 100%, and realizing that not much else matters at that moment. it's purity. it's purpose. it's the suffering. it's why we do what we do. that grind. it's all worth it.

our adventure through this region of the Olympic Peninsula was a first. well, at least for our rag-tag crew. as kids, my parents would drive us in our Chevy Caprice Classic station wagon from Southern California to the northernmost tip of Oregon. we'd sit in the very back staring out the window. it's funny how the mind retains memories of logging trucks on rainy highways and giant Ponderosa Pine lining the beginning of the dense forest lines, stoking your imagination of adventure through the water-soaked windows of the car. vivid, youthful thoughts ponder during long road trips: “I wonder what’s in that forest?” “How far does it go?” amazing how those vagabond-ish trips feel like it was only yesterday.

our adventure through this region of the Olympic Peninsula was a first. well, at least for our rag-tag crew. as kids, my parents would drive us in our Chevy Caprice Classic station wagon from Southern California to the northernmost tip of Oregon. we'd sit in the very back staring out the window. it's funny how the mind retains memories of logging trucks on rainy highways and giant Ponderosa Pine lining the beginning of the dense forest lines, stoking your imagination of adventure through the water-soaked windows of the car. vivid, youthful thoughts ponder during long road trips: “I wonder what’s in that forest?” “How far does it go?” amazing how those vagabond-ish trips feel like it was only yesterday.

our adventure through this region of the Olympic Peninsula was a first. well, at least for our rag-tag crew. as kids, my parents would drive us in our Chevy Caprice Classic station wagon from Southern California to the northernmost tip of Oregon. we'd sit in the very back staring out the window. it's funny how the mind retains memories of logging trucks on rainy highways and giant Ponderosa Pine lining the beginning of the dense forest lines, stoking your imagination of adventure through the water-soaked windows of the car. vivid, youthful thoughts ponder during long road trips: “I wonder what’s in that forest?” “How far does it go?” amazing how those vagabond-ish trips feel like it was only yesterday.

“And one remembers how fascinating the most ordinary everyday things are to a child, because they see them all as marvelous — because they see them all in a way that is not related to survival and profit.” -Alan Watts

our team connected with META at Quinault Lake on the last weekend of the month in September. our plan was to spend three days wrapping all the way around the Olympic National Park. riding our bikes from camp to camp. we had a mixture of gents with various backgrounds, life stages, and overall views. you'd imagine once a campfire was lit with beers cracked wide open conversations could run down a rabbit hole (especially nowadays), but this journey felt different. we were in an area none of us had ever explored. all seeking a similar need as well. freedom. freedom from a modern-day world rattled by refined persuasion that felt like an instigator branded with fear and materialism. do this. buy that. yada yada yada. we've never been interested in all that.

when we woke the first morning at the foot of Quinault Lake, the atmosphere felt as still and dense as one could imagine. cold. quiet. pure. the type of stillness that if there were any sound or movement it would vibrate for hundreds and hundreds of feet (and beyond). a pause of tranquility that we’ve been searching for. then, as one of us slowly walked into the water, the ripples slowly disappeared off into the distance. his peaceful disturbance welcomely rippled across the Quinault Lake. we then boiled up some water, brewed some much-needed coffee, and set out on HWY 101 to find our next campsite on the coastline. the crisp, windy roads, gave us a sanctuary for our fiending needs of the salted breeze through our helmets. hell, can you name something that tops that? a pack ride planned out with no plans at all. that's f'ing killer.

“Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process, a new factor enters and takes over. A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness. A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike.” -John Steinbeck

our 45-minute ride to Kalaloch Beach was a vital start to the day. nursing our slow-moving bodies to get packed up and on the road due to the previous night’s well deserved alcohol consumption and campfire lit conversations (we’re not as young as we used to be). but hell, once we secured our next campsite, we decided to ride to the Hoh Rain Forest. this dense area sits alongside the famous Hoh River, which flows from the base of the Mount Olympus for 56 miles until it drains into the mouth of the Pacific Ocean. the road in is all-time. it winds through a forest filled with old and new growth Spruce, closely edging alongside the Hoh River. dominated by every shade of green your mind can imagine, the lush, green canopy towering above felt as though we were teleported into The Shire at Middle-Earth. it now makes sense that it is recognized as one of the quietest places on Earth. you can imagine as our bikes screamed throughout the region, there was no doubt that every other visitor heard us from miles away.

back at camp, the weather was calling for heavy rain... expected to hit sometime around 3am, we had been watching the storm throughout the afternoon, we knew it was coming. just walking about the Kalaloch Campground spot, we could tell how much rain fell there. the forest floor was spongey, the feeling you’d expect from walking on rubber mulch at some local playground. we all walked about trying to find the most level spot... wasn't easy considering the breaching roots from the towering giant Spruce above us. pretty sure a few of us thought a 45lb spider was about to come out of the woodworks and have its fun with us. nothing that a campfire, dutch oven dinner, a number of beers and conversations wouldn't fix. so the campfire talk took over the night and the rest was history. a few of us stayed up only minutes before the rain started to fall, which would pour 100% for the remainder of the final day of our trip.

our final day took us from our Kalaloch Campground northbound up the HWY 101 past Ruby Beach and through the town of Forks. we were headed through the wet weather to Lake Crescent, a deep, glacially-carved lake that sits at the top of Washington. a 45 minute break in the rain that allowed our crew for a really radical ride around the water. the atmosphere was still, cold, and visibility was all-time -- a great mixture for a much-needed ride. we found a great spot near this tucked away waterfall alongside a creek bed that gave the feeling we were in the middle of nowhere. re-upped our calories and planned for Hurricane Ridge.

sitting at an elevation of 5,242, the rain falling from the sky was at an angry 45º angle, bouncing off our waxed canvas jackets and bikes with fury. this was the last region that we wanted to explore but visibility was against us (to say the least). we were able to get a couple lines ridden on a fire road that hovered over the cliff and dense clouds. no doubt, if the weather was a bit less variable, we would have seen how far that muddy road would have taken us. but at least for this trip, we were beyond stoked.

journey taken alongside META
video produced by Daniel Fickle
photogaphy by John Ryan Hebert & Matthew Linman
words by Alan Mendenhall