Dehydrated Chicken

Dehydrating chicken is relatively fast and easy, and getting into the habit of making your own backpacking meals can save you a ton of money!

This is a quick guide on how to dehydrate chicken to be used in your very own backpacking meals!


Begin this process with good quality chicken breasts. They will contain the lowest amount of fat. The goal is to remove all of the remaining fat before dehydration as it can spoil the end product.

Cut off any skin or fat that may remain and chunk the chicken into squares of about 2 inches.

Boil these chicken chunks until fully cooked (about 10 minutes). Some fat will be released and float to the top of the water – that’s great!


Spread the chunks of chicken out on your dehydrator and leave for 5-7 hours, or until chunks are completely dry.



There are a few options for rehydrating your chicken.

If you don’t mind a slightly chewy texture you can throw it right in whatever recipe you’re making. When it’s time to cook the meal you’ll add the mixture to boiling water, turn down the heat, and let sit until it’s ready to eat; the amount of time it will spend rehydrating will depend on a lot of things, but you can just test a piece when you think it might be tender enough to eat (this is my preferred method).

If you want really tender chicken you’ll want to pack the chunks in their own container. On the day you want to include chicken in a meal add some water a few hours prior to cooking and let it soak.

If you choose to cold soak your chicken you can add the water when you’re packing up camp in the morning and it’ll be ready to go at dinner (it’s not required to soak that long, though)


If you have any questions about this, or anything on our site, don’t hesitate to send us a message!

Happy trails!


Kalaloch Campground

Kalaloch is a gem atop a bluff along Washington’s Pacific coast. The area is lush and green, and many of the sites have ocean views. One word of caution though: they don’t call this area rainforest for nothing.

Location: Olympic National Park
Rating: ★★★★★
Price: $22
Online Reservations: Yes,  Reserve Here!
Hookups: None
Restrooms: Flush Toilets
Potable Water: Yes

Kalaloch is one of the most visited locations in the Olympic National Park, and that status is well earned. This campground has direct access to the beach for which it was named. You’ll need to descend about 40ft on the access trail and, quite possibly, navigate over a drift log to get to the beach front.


The campground offers many of the essential amenities that avid campers look for: flush toilets, potable water, and even a fish cleaning area to prepare your fresh catch.

There are no RV hookups, but there is a dump station that can be used by paying a $10 fee.

The peak season for Kalaloch is June 13th to September 22nd. You can book sites for nights within this season, and you can make that reservation up to six months in advance.

If you’re hoping to spend a popular camping weekend here (i.e. Labor Day) you might consider trying to reserve a site as early as possible.


For those campers that prefer cooking over an open fire, there are fire rings available at every campsite; however, make sure you bring a backup method of cooking (such as a propane burner). The weather can change quickly and Murphy’s Law won’t hesitate to put a stop to your dinner plans!

That being said, this is a five-star campground. Just don’t forget your rain jacket!


Help support The Northwest Quest by donating today!


Kestner Homestead

Location: Quinault, Olympic NP
Roundtrip: 1.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Gain: 30 ft.
Rating: ★★★quinault_ranger_station_map

The Kestner homestead was originally claimed in 1891, by Anton Kestner. After serving as a homestead for many years the property came into the possession of the National Forest Service. However, despite this, it fell into disrepair.

Now there are plans to renovate the site, but it still has a long way to go. Visitors today can stroll the grounds of the homestead and, with a little imagination, can almost see right into the past.


The trail begins at the North Shore Ranger Station in Quinault. It’s best hiked counterclockwise from the parking lot; this trail is easy to follow and offers an easy grade.

After a short stroll through the rainforest, you’ll cross a bridge; from there, the homestead should be in sight. The main home is currently closed for repair, but you’re welcome to look through the windows!

Snapseed (1).jpg

You’re also allowed to explore the outbuildings on the property. There are some interesting things to see, though the history of each structure isn’t revealed through interpretive signs (hopefully one day, though!). Instead, you’ll have to make your best guess with a little help from your imagination.

Take time to snack, rest, or hide from the rain at the picnic tables under the barn – which has a new roof – before continuing down the path to complete the loop.


Are There Toilets? : Yes! As luck would have it, there are flush toilets located near the parking area.

How about Picnic Tables? : There is only one table by the parking lot, but if you trek into the homestead you’ll find plenty under the old barn.

Do I Need a Parking Pass? : No. This is likely because you’re parking at a Ranger Station along with the trailhead.

Are Dogs Allowed? : No.

Can We Camp Here? : There is plenty of camping along the south shore of Lake Quinault.

When is the Best Time to Visit? : This is a great destination year-round!



Help support The Northwest Quest by donating today!


Kalaloch Beach Clean Up

Takhlakh Lake & Takh Takh Meadow

Location: Gifford Pinchot, Mt. Adams
Roundtrip: 3 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Gain: 100 ft.
Rating: ★★★

If you’re camping at the Takhlakh Lake Campground, you’re in luck! You can leave the car there and start hiking right out of the campground.

If you’re not staying at the campground you can pass the campground’s entrance and travel about 1/4 mile farther down the road before parking where trail #132 crosses over. There is limited parking here, but doing so will avoid the $5 day-use fee for parking at the campground. Just make sure you display your Forest or Interagency Pass!

Trail Map.png

When both trails are hiked together they form something like an odd figure 8.

While on the Takhlakh Lake trail you’ll pretty much be walking through the campground, though you are set apart from the campsites. The view of Mount Adams across the lake is worth it.


Be mindful not to get mixed up between the trail and the social paths that have been cut near the meadows. It’s easy to continue along the edge of the lava formation and leave the real trail behind.

If you find yourself at a near dead-end like section of the trail that looks “straight up” you’ve gone too far. Only extraordinarily nimble trekkers will brave scrambling this hill – but it is doable.


If you caught the right junction the trail should hug the meadow a bit before crossing back over the road. You’ll spend the next section of the loop traversing a lovely forest before returning to where you began, whether that be the road or campground.


Are There Toilets? : Yes. There are vault toilets available in the day use section of Takhlakh Campground. If you’re not staying at the campground and you didn’t pay the fee you’ll have to let it way on your conscience though.

How about Picnic Tables? : Yes, they can also be found in the day use area.

Do I Need a Parking Pass? : Yes. If you park on the road you’ll want to display a Forest or Interagency Pass, but if you park in the day use area you’ll need to pay the $5 fee.

Are Dogs Allowed? : Yes.

Can We Camp Here? : Yes! This trail runs through the Takhlakh Lake Campground.

When is the Best Time to Visit? : Late spring and summer are the best times to visit. Keep in mind that the campgrounds typically close the first week of September.


Help support The Northwest Quest by donating today!


Steamboat Mountain

Location: Gifford Pinchot, Mt. Adams
Roundtrip: 2 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Gain: 700 ft.
Rating: ★★★★★

Steamboat Mountain is, surprisingly, not an overused trail; despite its short length and amazing views, you’re not likely to see more than a few other hikers.

I have two theories as to why this trail seems to lack the popularity it deserves: the first of which is the road to the trailhead.


The road up to the Steamboat Mountain trailhead has its fair share of gravel and dirt. That being said, it is passable for vehicles with only 2WD and a lower clearance. There is a drainage ditch that runs along the right side of the road for a bit, but if you keep to the left you’ll be able to make it through.


My second theory as to why this trail isn’t more popular is the gain to length ratio. You’ll be climbing at least 700 feet within the span of a mile – which is a moderate hike in its own right. However, the bright side is that this trail hosts an abundance of thick huckleberry bushes.

Visit this trail in the late summer and you can plan on stopping often to snack on some of the best huckleberries in the Cascades. This is a wonderful distraction from the elevation gain. Just don’t forget to bring a bucket!


Once you make it to the end of the trail your hard work will be rewarded with wondrous views of some of the largest mountains in Washington state. The most prominent of which will be Mt. Adams, but if you’re lucky you’ll be able to see Mount Rainier and Mount Saint Helens as well. Make sure you hold on to the little ones as you peek over the edge and back down at the parking area to take a look at the car!



Are There Toilets? : No. Make sure to stop at the Mt. Adams Ranger Station on the way!

How about Picnic Tables? : Nope. Eat at the car before heading up the trail or bring snacks. Just remember, if you pack it in you should pack it out!

Do I Need a Parking Pass? : Yes. You’ll use your Discovery Pass here.

Are Dogs Allowed? : Yes! Be considerate of others and make sure your pets are always nearby and under control.

Can We Camp Here? : Peterson Prarie, Takhlakh Lake, Lower Falls, and Adams Fork are all great options.

When is the Best Time to Visit? : mid to late summer.


Help support The Northwest Quest by donating today!


Takhlakh Lake Campground

Takhlakh Lake Campground is one of the best-kept secrets in western Washington. It boasts some amazing views of Mt. Adams, a lake that’s perfect for water play, and is remote enough even for the pickiest of stargazers.

Location: Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Rating: ★★★★(.5)
Price: $18 Single, $30 Double
Extra Parking: $9 per Vehicle
Online Reservations: Yes,  Reserve Here!
Max Length: 22 ft.
Hookups: None
Restrooms: Vault Toilets Only
Potable Water: No

Be warned, the last few miles to the campground consists of one lane and gravel roads. While this can be a touch rough, its accessible for almost all vehicles; even considering this, the trip will be well worth the drive!


There is no potable water anywhere near the campground. Forgot to pack some? If you don’t have a filter handy that’s going to be at least a 45-minute drive to the nearest town (Randle).

The campground host will occasionally have firewood for sale ($6 per bundle), but this should be a backup source of wood. They often sell out and there’s no guarantee they’ll be selling.


There are plenty of vault toilets available and they’re surprisingly clean…. for vault toilets that is. Please remember to help keep them that way by lowering the seat and closing the door when finished!

There are drains throughout the campground that are designed for the disposal of wastewater from cooking and general clean up but don’t expect any accommodations for RVs. There are no hookups and no waste stations; in fact, the sites have a maximum length of 22 feet (including the car) so it’s a great place to bring the tents.


Fire rings with cooking grates and sturdy picnic tables are included with every site, and many sites even have direct access to the lake via a walking path.

Don’t expect to get lonely! This campground books early and fast. If you don’t get an early reservation keep an eye out for cancelations.


Help support The Northwest Quest by donating today!


Harmony Falls

Location: South Cascades, Mt. St. Helens
Roundtrip: 2.4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate – Easy
Gain: 650 ft.
Rating: ★★★(.5)

Trail Map

Harmony Falls is a short, moderately steep, trail that offers expansive views. You’ll traverse a lush hillside and cross a small field before making the final descent to Spirit Lake. The shore of the lake still contains the remains of trees that were snapped off the mountainside in the famous eruption.

You’ll have to make your way across the logs if you want to wade or swim in the water; be careful!


The water is cool and the view of the mountain from the end of the trail is spectacular. Harmony falls, on the other hand, was almost entirely buried when the lake level rose after the eruption. ‘Harmony Falls’ today is more like a short cascade of water as opposed to its previous impressive stature. That’s ok though, this hike is still very much worth the trek.



Are There Toilets? : There are vault toilets at a few trailheads along National Forest Road 99, but that does not include the Harmony Falls trailhead. If you need to use the bathroom stop at the Cascade Peaks viewpoint.

How about Picnic Tables? : Nope. You can eat at the car before heading down, pack in some lunch, or head down to the next viewpoint (Smith Creek).

Do I Need a Parking Pass? : Yes. You can use your Forest or Interagency Pass. If you don’t have one of those you can purchase a day pass for $5 from the Cascade Peaks viewpoint.

Are Dogs Allowed? : No. Pets are prohibited within the monument.

Can We Camp Here? : Campgrounds near this side of the monument include Iron Creek and Tower Rock, though they are a bit of a dive. There are no campgrounds within the monument itself.

When is the Best Time to Visit? : This area is closed in winter; check the area’s status here if you’re visiting late-season. Summer is the best time to visit.


Help support The Northwest Quest by donating today!


Franklin Falls

Location: North Bend, WA
Roundtrip: 2 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Gain: 400 ft.
Rating: ★★★

Franklin Falls Trail2

The Franklin Falls trail is a wonderfully scenic route that trails the Snoqualmie River between the East and West branches of I90; although, you might not even know that if it weren’t for an unobtrusive overpass near the falls area.

Parking for the falls can be found a little farther down the main road from the trailhead (if you’re old like me you’ll remember the old parking area right by the trailhead – this has recently been designated as handicap-accessible parking). To get to the new parking area continue down FR 5800 until you see the signs for Franklin Falls parking. There is a short, easy trail from there to the trailhead.


This trail is a wonderful option to consider when hiking with children or if you’re new to hiking, but there are a few things to consider. The elevation gain of 400 feet is almost completely within the inbound section of the hike. This means that you’ll be going mostly uphill on the way in and downhill on the way out.

If you’re bringing children younger than three or four-years-old you might want to be prepared to carry them out as the trek in can be tiring for little ones. Likewise, if you or someone you’re hiking with has mobility concerns you’ll want to keep this in mind. Most people can complete this trail, even if they have to stop to catch their breath a few times.


If you’re so inclined you can turn this into a loop trail via the old wagon road. This route won’t add any significant length or gain to your hike and it will end a little closer to the parking area.

This is quite an enjoyable and very popular trail; don’t expect to be alone out there!


Are There Toilets? : There are vault toilets at the trailhead, but, with the trail being so popular, there’s a good chance that they will be out of toilet paper (I always bring my own).

How about Picnic Tables? : Nope. If you’re not camping nearby you’ll likely want to chow down at the car before or after the hike.

Do I Need a Parking Pass? : Yes. You can either use your Forest, Discover, or Interagency Pass. If you don’t have one of these you can purchase a day pass from the Franklin Falls parking area.

Are Dogs Allowed? : Yes! They’ll be required to stay on a leash, and of course, you’ll need to pick up poo.

Can We Camp Here? : If you’re really lucky you might be able to nab a camping spot at the Denny Creek Campground, which is located near the trailhead, but if you don’t have a reservation it’s a loose bet. The campground is small and only has 3 walk-in spots (2 of which are for RVs). There are other less popular campgrounds nearby though. If you haven’t already done so, you should give Tinkham a try!

When is the Best Time to Visit? : This route is best taken when there is no snow or ice left on the ground. The area near the falls becomes inaccessible if icy. It is, however, a great summer hike! It’s almost completely shaded and the falls cool the area close by.


Help support The Northwest Quest by donating today!


Snoqualmie Tunnel

Location: Snoqualmie, WA
Roundtrip: 5.3 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Gain: 0 ft.
Rating: ★★★★

Trail Map Pic.png

The Snoqualmie Tunnel was opened in 1914, and it was originally used as an underground section of “The Milwaukee Road” (a railroad that ran between Chicago and Seattle).


The railroad no longer travels this path, which now stands as part of the Iron Horse Trail. The trail is available for hikers as well as bicyclists and offers a unique experience to those brave enough to trek inside. The trail is nearly a straight shot from one end to the other and lacks any significant elevation changes. This makes it the perfect place for a spooky early fall stroll (or bike ride!).

*Please note that this trail is CLOSED from November 1st to May*

Make sure to display your Discover Pass when parking along the trail, and don’t forget to bring lights and a jacket! There are flushing toilets and picnic tables at the trail head. You’ll hike a little over 2 miles before reaching the next good stopping point at the other end of the tunnel, which also has picnic tables and a vault toilet.


If you have an adventure pup that won’t be bothered by the new environment feel free to bring them along! Do be mindful that many people enjoy this trail so make sure to be polite, and safe, by moving right for faster travelers.

If you’re feeling good once you exit the tunnel you can always add some length to your trip by continuing down the Iron Horse Trail a bit farther before turning around. There are some great views this way!

Above all, stay safe and have fun! If you decide to give this trail a try do let us know what you think!

If you happen to have any questions that were not addressed in this post feel free to comment or shoot us a message as well.


Help support The Northwest Quest by donating today!


Naches Peak

Location: Mount Rainier, Chinook Pass
Roundtrip: 3.2 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Gain: 600 ft.
Rating: ★★★★

Naches Loop Map - Highlighted Route.png

Best hiked between late spring and early fall, the loop is approximately 3.2 miles roundtrip with an elevation gain of 600 feet. The Naches Loop is the perfect trail for families and those hikers looking for a quick, easy trek with awesome views.


The Naches Peak Loop is located on State Route 410 in the Chinook Pass area of Mount Rainier. The loop itself straddles the boundary between the Wenatchee State Forest to the north Mount Rainier National Park to the south. This means that if you’re bringing Fido you’ll only be allowed to hike about half of the trail in an out-and-back route starting from the northern parking lot.

Both of the parking areas, one at Tipsoo Lake as well as the parking for the Sheep Lake trailhead to the north, have vault toilets, but only the Tipsoo Lake parking has picnic tables. If you park at the Sheep Lake trailhead you’ll have to backtrack just a bit to the south to join the trail, but, either way, don’t forget to display forest pass!


This week we began at the Tipsoo Lake parking area.

From there you’ll want to head around the back side of the first lake and up the hill to the north. While there is no swimming or wading in Tipsoo Lake, there will be opportunities for water play later on the trail!

After hiking up this small hill you’ll join the Pacific Crest Trail to complete the northern half of the loop.



Here you will find a nice bridge that crosses over State Route 410 below. After crossing the bridge you’ll continue along the northern flank of Naches Peak. This part of the trail is actually part of the PCT and gently climbs up as you traverse the beautiful landscape.


After just over a mile of hiking, you’ll come to a tarn that serves as a perfect spot for either a nice break or as a wonderful location to splash around with Fido and the little ones.

From there, its only about half a mile to the Dewey Lake Viewpoint, which is the best place to stop for a quiet rest and a snack as you look out across the mountains.


If you’re hiking with a pup this viewpoint will be your turn around spot, but if you’re continuing along the Naches loop you’ll progress south from the viewpoint and into Mount Rainier National Park- be careful to keep right at the junction of the Naches Loop and the trail down to Dewey Lake! A trip to the lake would add about 800 feet of elevation gain and two miles to your hike, though if you’re up for it the lake is a beautiful place to visit!


The southern half of the Naches Loop boasts wonderful views of Mount Rainier as the trail slopes downhill through beautiful mountain meadows. If you catch this area at the right time of year it will be bursting with wildflowers. Make sure to help preserve the meadows by staying on the trail!


After a mile and a half on this section of the trail, you will cross back over State Route 410 and re-enter the Tipsoo Lake parking area. There is no crosswalk so make sure to check the road carefully before crossing!


That’s it for the Naches Loop Trail!

Thanks, everyone! Happy trails!


Help support The Northwest Quest by donating today!


Road to Paradise