Washington Fire Lookout Hike: Elopement Style Vow Renewal
It’s no secret around here that I will fan-girl about how incredible the mountains are. I always love getting to educate my clients about different mountain peaks, types of pine trees, and (my personal favorite) fire lookouts. But, before I get ahead of myself with the story of this epic fire lookout vow renewal hike, we’ve got to back up the timeline by a couple of years.
Did you know Between the Pine began as a food blog? I started Between the Pine in my kitchen, camera and wooden spoon in hand. It wasn’t until almost a year had passed since I began my food blog that I felt brave enough to put humans in front of my camera lens. Curious who my first couple to photograph was? Meet Cortlyn and Collin, my sibling-in-laws! I got to photograph their engagement (click here to see a photo of it!) in the Snoqualmie National Forest and, truly, the entire trajectory of Between the Pine changed! I began photographing couples, then began capturing weddings, and, now, I’m adventuring to the most beautiful locations to document mountain elopements.
So, now that you know the back story, you get why this vow renewal was such a sweet, full-circle moment for the brand of Between the Pine and for me as an adventure elopement photographer. Cortlyn and Collin had just celebrated their first wedding anniversary, so I was so pumped to get to capture their love as they renewed their wedding vows to each other at a Washington fire lookout. I asked Cortlyn to write a little blurb about why they chose to do an adventure elopement style shoot to renew their vows, and I’m so pumped to share it with you.
“Almost two years have passed since my (now) husband and I had the privilege of standing in front of Mollie’s camera lens as one of her couples. It’s been such a privilege to watch Mollie grow and develop Between the Pine into what it is today. Mollie is one of the strongest, passionate, brave and caring women we know (we scored majorly in the in-law game!). Even as her brand, editing technique and personal style have developed over the past two years, these rooted character traits of who Mollie is have only grown deeper. It was an honor to be photographed by her again to celebrate our first year of marriage!
Marriage is not for the faint of heart. Marriage is messy, hurtful, prideful and challenging. But, marriage is also a place of deep joy, compassion, humility and strength. Marriage is quite the juxtaposition. When two people choose to believe for the beauty and growth marriage can cultivate, life is full. It is the glimpses of fullness that make the difficult challenges of marriage worth the choice of surrendering your mess, hurt, pride and challenges to accept the same from the other. Marriage is quite the powerful partnership. It’s this power that led us to want to renew our vows. These vows are representative of the actions that are required to move from the flame of the challenge into the beauty of the refinement in a strengthened unity. There was no better place to re-promise our covenant to one another than in a physical representation of the glory that awaits at the mountaintop and that is worth hoping for in the darkness of the valley. Marriage is such a stunning journey. I’m so thankful to be on my adventure with Collin. And, we are so thankful to have had this moment of glory captured by Molls.”
Cortlyn and Collin got ready together along a trail leading to the fire lookout at the top of the mountain. Cortlyn wore a beautiful, boho wedding gown from The Dress Theory in Seattle. The dress had amazing lace detail with incredible bell sleeves that moved so beautifully in the wind. Before hiking up to the fire lookout, Cortlyn and Collin ate a bohemian style picnic, complete with their favorite pretzel bread from Trader Joe’s (yes, please!).
As the sun began to set, we made our way up the mountain to be met by one of the most stunning sunsets I’ve seen. Thin clouds were rolling through and the gusts of winds were no joke! These two forces of Mother Nature created such incredible depth and texture to these mountaintop photos. As the sun continued to dip lower, the winds became cooler and the temperatures dropped significantly (classic PNW mountains). Whether you are family to me or a new client friend, my first priority is to care for the couples I’m photographing! So, we climbed back down from the fire lookout on a trail lined by wildflowers to find shelter from the winds. Here, Cortlyn and Collin renewed their vows, popped champagne and danced in classic Adams family fashion.
So, obviously this elopement style vow renewal was special to me because I get to go on family vacations with this rad couple (lol!), but it was also so fun for me as an adventure elopement photographer because I love fire lookouts! I believe fire lookouts are one of the best locations to elope in Washington. Truly! Lace up your hiking boots, friends, I’m switching to total mountain nerd-mode.
The History of Fire Lookouts
Following the devastating series of forest fires in 1910 that swept across Idaho, Montana and Washington, early fire protection became a priority to the Forest Service. That is when fire lookouts began to be built across the country to help with forest fire detection. Because of the high location of these fire lookouts, the views from these mountain tops stretch as far and wide as your eyes can see! The fire lookout we hiked to for Cortlyn and Collin’s elopement style vow renewal has panoramic views of Stuart Range, Teanaway Ridge, Mount Rainier and even Mount Adams!
Fire Lookouts you can Reserve for your Elopement
After reading the history of fire lookouts, are you thinking about eloping at a fire lookout? Great! Because I think you should elope there, too! There are specific fire lookouts you can rent and stay overnight. Backpacking elopement, anyone? Click here to view the list of fire lookouts available for rent. Other fire lookouts are first come, first serve. These fire lookouts are perfect for weekday backpacking elopements that I offer. Reach out and let’s plan your fire lookout elopement!
My Favorite Fire Lookouts for Elopements in Washington
Clearly, I’m just a tad heart-eyes, crazy about fire lookouts! Because of my crush for these mountain staples, I’ve made a list of my top three favorite fire lookouts for elopements in Washington.
North Cascades National Park: Park Butte Fire Lookout
Mountain Loop Highway: Mount Pilchuck Fire Lookout
Mount Rainier National Park: Tolmie Peak Fire Lookout
Think this list sounds like a winner? Contact me to find out more details of what your elopement could look like at these locations!
ready to explore more elopements, weddings and adventures? wander away below!
Between the Pine is an adventure elopement and wedding photography brand created by Mollie Adams. Based in the Pacific Northwest, Mollie travels with her camera in hand to document “I dos” in epic landscapes including Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii.