For a lot of us in the Pacific Northwest (PNW), the Cascade Mountains are one of the reasons we found our way to this region. With over 350 notable peaks and mountains, this range has every natural beauty there is. From Multnomah Falls, the second largest waterfalls in the US, to Mt. Rainier, the most prominent mountain in the contiguous United States.
For outdoor enthusiasts, this mountain range has become our place to recreate, find refuge, and call home, and I undeniably fall into that category. After a short stint of living in Los Angeles and working as a Creative Director for a human rights non-profit, I discovered an insatiable thirst for nature, from wild greenery to snowy peaks. Having grown up in Western Pennsylvania and being surrounded by nature, it became obvious while living in LA how much I needed that scenery to be happy and stay sane. For me, the experience not only provides fresh air, exercise, and solitude, but a personal connection to our environment. Seeking a city that could offer these elements for sustainable living, I turned to Portland, OR.
I heard it rained a lot in the PNW, so I decided to take a few trips to Portland just to see how bad it was. Driving north on I-5, I slowly started seeing the presence of these massive peaks in the distance, starting with Mt. Shasta, then Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Hood, and Mt. St. Helens. I remember being completely enthralled by them and my mind running crazy with thoughts of climbing them. I had never experienced mountains like this in my life before, so big, steep, and lurking over everything. I just couldn’t wait to get back! And I promised myself I’d embrace them as part of my life. Four years later, I feel I’ve kept that promise.
I’ve focused my free time on becoming an outdoor photographer and telling the stories of those that find their escape in the mountains too. This need to be outdoors has also led to a love for rock climbing, backcountry snowboarding, mountaineering, and freshwater speed snorkeling. All of which, the Cascade Mountains have provided for me.
So if you’re looking for an escape and crave some fresh air, come spend some time in the PNW and see what all the rain [snow] is about.
Author: Mountain Hardwear Athlete Ambassador, Jesse Hambley