WA Coast Backpacker Highlights
A backpacking immersion camp on Washington’s Olympic Coast - nature girls living wild and free in the backcountry!
DatesAug 02 - Aug 09, 2020
Ages14-16 (enter 9th-11th)
Tuition$1565 (airfare not incl.)
- Coastal backcountry camping
- Beach backpacking in WA
- Lavender farm start and end
- Organic and local food
- Outdoor skills focus
- Tidepool and forest exploration
- Campfire and beach time
- Nature immersion programming
I returned home from my GREAT summer with Alpengirl and on the first day of school, I noticed I was much more confident and felt SO much better about myself. Thank you for the boost!
Girls Summer Camp Backpacking Adventure on the Washington Coast
This 8-day backpacking camp emphasizes connection with nature, group living, and wilderness skills during a point-to-point hike along the beaches and over the headlands of Olympic National Park. With limited driving and front country camping, it offers a unique opportunity to leave distractions behind and focus on the unparalleled beauty of the Pacific coast, the simple joys of beach backpacking, and the delight of connecting with friends at camp.
During this camp, girls develop confidence in backcountry skills such as cooking, shelter creation, and hiking in an environment shaped by tides and weather. The intermediate-level backpacking itinerary offers some physical challenge but leaves plenty of time for fun and games on the beach, campfires, splashing in the surf, exploring tidepools and old growth forest, and more. High quality, organic and/or local foods and camper-lead cook groups make each meal a delicious adventure. With tents as back-up, girls will construct tarp shelters for sleeping and protection from the elements. You’ll fall asleep each night to the sound of the waves, greet each day with Alpenyoga, become a pro at packing and comfortably carrying everything you need on your back, and discover your inner power!
This Alpengirl “Backpacker Camp” is unique from our other multi-adventure camps:
- More hiking days, less driving days. Only 5% of our time at camp is spent in the van, 95% of our time is spent in nature traveling by human power - our strong bodies and healthy feet!
- Our smallest group size. Only 8 girls in the group allows for even more outdoor skill building. Each Leader of the Day camper will read and navigate with a tide chart, each 4-person cook group will learn how to use and maintain their own MSR Whisperlite stove and fuel, and will do their own cooking, and each camper will pitch in to build tarp sleeping shelters and learn new water purification methods such as using a Platypus GravityWorks Water Filter System or UV SteriPen.
- Checking out to check in. We’ll be focusing on living small on the land and traveling light...so, we’re leaving behind some of the front country extras we offer at our other camps. There will be no care packages, no phone calls home during camp days, no end of camp pizza party or souvenir shopping, no camp store (although each camper receives a “2020 Alpengirl WA Coast Backpacker” commemorative hat), and limited blog posts. Our communication will consist of satellite device messages for parents to see our location and small tidbits of happenings from the field.
- Organic and local foods. We’re aiming for at least 75% of our food to be organic and/or local during this camp session. These are backcountry meals for the most part, so they will be simple and light weight as backpacking foods are, but high in quality with plenty of variety! The few front country meals we have will be focused on FRESH as well as local and organic ingredients.
- Specialized packing list. The packing list is unique for this camp; we have cut back on as many extra items as possible and are suggesting light weight, high quality options that function without worry on an extended backcountry expedition. Registered campers will receive their packing list via email soon after registering.
Day 1: Arriving at SeaTac International Airport in Seattle, WA, your Alpenguides will greet you and introduce you to the rest of your group. Icebreakers, name games, and get-to-know-you fun abounds before you and your new expedition mates hop in the van and drive to our first campsite.
We’ll be camping at an organic lavender farm near Sequim, WA. Once we arrive, we’ll learn how to set up our tents for the night overlooking the fragrant purple fields. Then we’ll get into cook groups and Alpenguides will lead stove use and maintenance lessons so girls can begin cooking their own food. We’ll enjoy a gourmet dinner of fresh local, organic ingredients and discuss our backpacking trip route and get excited to hit the trail tomorrow!
Days 2-7: Waking up refreshed and renewed, to the rooster’s crow, you’ll grab your sleeping pad, and head outside for your first daily yoga session. After a strong morning stretch overlooking the fields, we’ll fill our bellies with a yummy Alpengirl breakfast of fresh, high quality ingredients: perhaps Rainbow Hash served with organic eggs and local berries. After breakfast, your experienced Alpenguides will teach you how to properly pack your backpack, lift it safely onto your back, and adjust and carry it throughout the expedition. You’ll be carrying just the essentials for this trip, choosing your gear wisely as you learn how to keep your backpack lean, with lots of space for the week’s food!
Knowing that we’ll be back at this sweet farm for our last night of camp, maybe we’ll leave a note or treat for ourselves before we depart. Then we’ll drive to the trailhead, leave our van behind until the end of camp, and hit the trail!
Our six-day, five night backpacking trip will take us 24 miles through the coastal section of Olympic National Park. We’ll hike on boardwalks through an enchanting old growth forest, along sandy beaches guarded by towering sea stacks, around rocky peninsulas, and even over a few headlands where we might use ropes or cables to get up and over the steep rocks. We’ll use tide charts as well as maps to plan each day’s hiking, so that we can navigate the changing beach and skirt areas that are submerged at high tide, and cover between 3 and 6.5 miles per day at a steady pace.
Backcountry skills will take front and center as we settle into our backpacking rhythm. We’ll cook in small, camper-lead groups, with each group creating their own meals from pre-selected, predominantly organic ingredients, and we’ll have a campfire on the beach to cook on one evening.
Our campsites will be a combination of woodsy clearings and beach sites, several of which are located at historic shipwreck memorials. We’ll practice Leave No Trace ethics and try to leave each spot better than we found it, becoming stewards of the park and the incredible coastal ecosystem. We’ll learn to pitch tarp shelters in a variety of ways, and perhaps sleep out under the stars one night.
During our hiking days, we might see bald eagles and brown pelicans fishing, mink or otters scampering on the giant driftwood logs at the top of the beach, or deer peering out from the salal. Maybe we’ll find a whale bone or a blown glass float as we hike the beach! In the evening, we’ll watch for the mysterious “green flash” as the sun disappears into the Pacific, and we might hear owls calling to each other as we snuggle into our sleeping bags for a well-deserved rest.
On our rest day, we’ll have time for tidepool exploration, beach art, splashing in the waves (if we’re feeling brave), driftwood forts, and more - we’ll let nature be our teacher and our playground. We’ll also hold Alpenolympic events, learn trail games, sing, or maybe choreograph some beach ballet...who knows?
Day 7: Today we’ll arrive at the end of our coast hike and our van. We’ll shower and change into clean clothes, but in keeping with the spirit of our nature immersion, we’ll head straight back to the lavender farm rather than into town. We’ll close our trip with a fresh gourmet meal together, reflecting on our experiences, celebrating our triumphs and recognizing each camper during end-of-camp awards ceremony during a magical evening at the lavender farm.
Day 8: It’s time to go home! Exchanging hugs with your friends, you’ll depart from SeaTac International Airport in Seattle, WA, knowing that you’ve had a ton of fun and accomplished great things as an Alpengirl and will be a part of our fantastic community for life. See you next summer!
PLEASE NOTE: This is a sample itinerary. Alpengirl reserves the right to cancel or alter any aspect of our program, including program itinerary, trip dates, activities or location, as a result of unforeseen circumstances, including weather, environment, or health hazards. To the best of our ability, substitutions of activities will be comparable to, or better than the original activity. Parents will be notified by email if there are any significant itinerary changes.
Trip Campsites & Amenities
Two nights are spent at a private “front country” campsite with running potable water, and a private outhouse or flushing toilet.
Five nights are spent in tents in wilderness “backcountry” areas where we will purify our water before drinking and learn and practice basic Leave No Trace camping skills such as how to select a campsite, how to go to the bathroom, and how to keep clean outdoors. Some backcountry campsites in this itinerary have an outhouse available to us.
Why Choose This Trip
Girls who are looking for an adventure focused on the backcountry experience without the bells and whistles will love this Olympic Coast Backpacker session. This trip will have any outdoorsy girl empowered and excited to plan her next backpacking trip when she gets home. She’ll be nourished with high quality food, able to cook for herself in the backcountry, prepared to make a shelter, and best of all, she’ll have experienced all of this with a group of girls who share her excitement for nature. If you like leaving cars and grocery stores behind, soaking up the beauty of your surroundings, and living in the wild, this is the trip for you! Limited to 8 girls in the group.