“Northern Exposure was filmed here,” he found himself saying.
The expanse and beauty that sidelines Washington’s patch of Interstate 90 (a crazy straw of a road with intricate squiggles on the western side and pronounced bends to the east) erupts along the western stretch of pavement through all seasons, leading Seattleites, and all those who call Western Seattle their home, up through Snoqualmie Pass and the eastern beyond. So beautiful and wondrous are the tall coniferous behemoths and carbuncular terrain, that the off-ramps and small pockets of humanity recede from view in deference to evergreen and peaks. Snoqualmie Pass’ surroundings represent getaway Mecca for Seattle outdoorsy types with lifetime memberships at REI, or a convenient spot for those determined to learn how to ride down a mountain without paralyzing fear and hefty lift ticket prices. Camping, hiking, snowshoeing, trail running, mountain climbing, bouldering, kayaking, escaping the digital snare, etc. thrive in the cooler mountain air, making the pass a popular destination for the hordes of pasty heliophobic programmers teeming the streets of greater Seattle.
Nestléd toward the end of the mountain pass is an off-ramp shared by Roslyn and Salmon La Sac. Miss it, titter at the name Salmon La Sac, then u-turn miles later to catch the exit. Welcome to Roslyn, WA, the home base of TV series Northern Exposure.
Roslyn notoriously adheres to not giving a rat’s patoot. It’s one of those hamlets inhabited by wealthy ex-hippies without the New Age mindset that prospers in nearby Suncadia. The enclave of corporate hippies that call Roslyn a second (or third, fourth, etc.) home endow a sense of lawful lawlessness to the area. Self-policing is the norm. The credo of the town can easily be summarized as “Don’t be an a**hole.” While many people might find this sentiment a pedestrian observation, a chronisseur smells the implications in the herbally-enhanced breeze. Cannabis is welcome here.
Nature, nature all around us. One fine day in Roslyn involves three components: cooking giant meals; meandering and exploring the wilderness; and congregating at the town’s one, locally famous bar: The Brick. While ‘wake and bake’ and baking may not be on the docket (unless there’s a long day of cooking ahead, then it’s a necessity), it’s hard to resist enjoying a nice evening or nightcap chief before concocting or preying upon a delicious meal. And getting high before traipsing snow-laden terrain to find the perfect Douglas Fir for Christmas or leaping a flawless summertime gainer off the bridge into the mercifully cool river below, well, that’s a given. The day, like most great days, ends at the Brick, dancing and drinking with the locals. Save a joint for the walk home, as it’s the only way to observe the infinite constellations with proper reverence.
Roslyn is an all-seasons destination, but the month of November (esp. around Thanksgiving) comes heavily recommended. Something about the crisp mountain air and slippery roads brings out cheer and esprit de corps in the townsfolk. Stay in the town, explore the terrain, roll some joints for some serious man vs. nature contemplation and don’t be an a**hole.