(BRANDON HANSEN/The worst columnist in the state. This is a satire article. Do not take it seriously.)
The thought that North Face jacket wearers live in Chewelah is ridiculous!
When somebody asks about Chewelah, a common response is “it has so many outdoor activities” which is true BUT let’s be honest: outdoors in Chewelah is referring to flannel, big pickup trucks, hunting, seeing if we can set something on fire, backwoods parties, going to the lake and going “hold my beer” all the time. Being a rural area does not mean we’re an area with latte-sipping yuppies walking through a mountain meadow, smiling at their significant others and making a GoPro video of all their outdoor adventures.
A recent bill make it through the house that would put a tax on outdoor gear, causing some people to freak out over the sudden incurred cost. Since the state needed more money, they were going after the REI/North Face peeps. This makes me laugh because none of these types of people live in Stevens County. We can’t afford REI or North Face, we’re more of a “hand-me-down camping gear” or “I got this at Goodwill and don’t care if it rips” kind of outdoorsy people.
And thank goodness. Do you see the kind of outdoor ads they put out for these designer brand outdoor people?
Literally nobody camps like this. Those socks are clean, her hair is in perfect shape and the guy is smiling despite probably being eaten alive by insects. I don’t think those backpacks have been taken outside before this photo was snapped. Real camping in Stevens County looks like this…
The only time you’re having fun camping in Stevens County is if there is Alaskan Amber involved. Otherwise you’re: 1) trying to round up the kids. 2) avoiding the not rare NE Washington mosquito, which is silent and itchy. Those things might as well be the scarabs off of “The Mummy.” 3) trying to round up the kids. 4) Trying to get the blinkers on the camper to work. 5) Hoping there are no bears. 6) Trying to start a campfire with wet wood. 7) Not starting a campfire because burning restrictions are in. 7) Hoping whatever bit you doesn’t give you an allergic reaction. 8) Hoping whatever plant you walked through wasn’t poison ivy. 9) Wondering why your camping neighbors are hippies trying to recreate Woodstock one site over. 10) Realizing you forgot the most important camping stuff at home.
And let’s talk about hiking. Hiking is fun in Stevens County at all, but you almost never look like this after hike.
First off the kids are standing right beside the hikers. Kids almost never stay close. I was shooting senior photos the other day, and the senior’s little brother managed to run off and cause a rock slide onto a residential road. He was gone for only two minutes. Secondly, they look to be genuinely enjoying their walk instead of being made of their significant other for walking to slow or fast. Heck they’re holding hands. After like 20 minutes of hiking, a married couple might just really decide to end it right there and hope the other person gets lost.
“This is nice.”
“OH IS IT? I wanted to go to the Columbia River.”
“OH HERE WE GO AGAIN, MR. WE ALWAYS HAVE TO DO IT MY WAY.”
Also they’re hiking on the road. WAY TO GO OFF ROAD GUYS.
In reality… hiking in Stevens County is like this…
One time, my friend and I got lost hiking IN MY BACKYARD. Seriously. We wandered around for hours until finding a road and realizing we were 20 minutes from home.
And then there is the hunting. Everybody likes to talk about how they’re such an outdoorsman. How they wait out in fields for hours for that perfect buck, how they climb the highest mountain peak for that trophy elk. How they bring bow and arrow to take down the most dangerous predators. STOP YOUR BS. This is Stevens County. This is how an average hunting trip goes.
9 p.m. the night before – planning on waking up at 4 a.m. to get the early hunt going.
7 a.m. the day of the hunt – when the hunters actually wake up.
9 a.m. – Breakfast time for the hunters at Zips or the Rusty Putter. Never know how hungry you can get while hunting.
11 a.m. Drive around some logging roads.
12 a.m. Walk down a hill. It was horrible. Some of the brush scratched the hunters arms.
1 p.m. See a deer. Can’t get a good shot.
2. p.m. Drive around some logging roads.
3 p.m. Beer break.
4 p.m. Sit in a farmers field waiting for something to show up.
5 p.m. Naptime.
6 p.m. Deer walks by but hunter is asleep.
7 p.m. Too dark to hunt, take potshot at deer. Don’t mention it to anyone because it’s past hunting hours.
Basically if you want a deer in Stevens County, just wait until they show up on your yard. Deer do this quite often and it’s not like they’re afraid of humans. Instead of rarities they’ve become kind of the Stevens County lawn gnome.
Also don’t let the outdoors recreation industry trick you into thinking you’ll see this…
Nope. Not unless you plan a 15 mile hike around Mt. Rainier (which I have done), in which case, you’re not thrilled at the view, you’re just hoping you packed enough water and hope you can make it back down the mountain.
And there are no ALPINE LAKES in Stevens County. You’re more likely to see nudists hanging out at a lake as opposed to wide sprawling vistas into a river canyon. You’re more likely to see gates and hope the farmer owner of the gate doesn’t have a gun.
Stevens County does have some great hikes, and great viewpoints. Just don’t think you have to become the second coming of the guy from “Man vs. Wild” to get to them. Don’t be afraid to utilize logging roads, pack an accordance of beer and snacks and overall just have fun. It’s not going to look like one of those outdoor ads, but being out in nature around Stevens County is something realistic and amazing. It’s also business casual out there…