Overland: WABDR Section 2

A couple of weekends ago, a buddy and myself took our trucks and went exploring in the southern Cascades. To say the trip was more than I was expecting would be an understatement.

We met up in Packwood Saturday afternoon, then headed to a secret dispersed campsite for the night. This was my first time dispersed camping so it was great to truly get away from civilization.

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Sunday morning we hit the dirt, aiming to complete Section 2 of the WABDR from Packwood to Ellensburg.

For context, the Washington Backcountry Discovery Route, or WABDR, is a route across Washington state from the Oregon border to the Canadian border, almost exclusively on dirt roads. It was originally mapped out by adventure motorcyclists, but can also be completed by ATV’s and full-size trucks. Consisting of 6 sections, the route takes about 6 days to complete if done continuously, but it’s common to do sections individually as we did with Section 2.

The first part of the drive is a climb up to Bethal Ridge. Along the way, you must traverse across the side of a mountain, with a beautiful valley below. There is one spot in particular that offers an incredible photo opportunity.

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The high point of our trip (literally) is Bethal Ridge at 6200 feet of elevation, offering stunning views of the surrounding valleys and Mt. Rainier in the distance. This is the best view I’ve ever had while eating lunch.

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You can see the rest of the pictures in the slideshow below. This route was moderately technical, but my stock F-150 (including running boards!) with good tires was able to complete it with a bit of thoughtful tire placement and some spotting through the narrow spots.

If you do the WABDR, or any backcountry exploring, make sure you travel with a buddy or have lots of experience before venturing out alone. In the latter half of the trip we helped out someone on an adventure bike who had crashed and was struggling to re-orient his heavy bike on a steep grade. If we had not showed up, his options weren’t great as I don’t think he had communication options while he was far away from cell service.

This was arguably my first true overland adventure and I can’t wait to do more. It was revitalizing and a ton of fun.

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