Western Washington is the ultimate outdoor playground. But, if you want to try something new, explore somewhere different, it can be tough to know where to start. That's where Compass Outdoor Adventures comes in.
"The idea is you'd come to me and say 'Hey, I've got this idea' or conversely 'Hey, I just want to get my friends out. It's a beautiful day. What do we do?'" said Luke Talbott, founder and CEO of Compass Outdoor Adventures. "I'll find out what your goals are, what you're really trying to do. We'll look at your timing and then we'll build out the program from there."
Talbott is a former 5th grade teacher, who initially started running summer camps for kids. Soon after, parents started asking if they if they could tag along too.
"In a lot of ways adults are almost more timid than kids are," he laughed. "They don't really want to get out and try something new, or they do - but they don't know how and they don't want to look silly while they're doing it."
Kids don't care.
"[They'll] get out, go mountain biking, they'll crash and they'll get up and do it again," said Talbott. "An adult typically wants to know the logistics behind it. 'How am I going to do that? Will I be safe? Where am I going to have my food? And where is the beer afterwards?'"
Now Talbott is focused solely on getting adults outside. Compass has a full fleet of mountain bikes available to rent, they operate a bar and community space in the heart of North Bend and they organize custom adventures and corporate events. Those adventures can be anything from a scavenger hunt through downtown Seattle to a scenic bike ride, like the one I took part in.
After getting a quick tutorial on our bikes from guides Karin and Thomas, we were off, peddling along gravel trails in the shadow of Mount Si and through lush forest with the Snoqualmie River roaring beneath us.
"I loved it" said one member of my group. "It was amazing seeing all the beautiful trees and having fun with everyone."
"This is paradise," added another. "We love getting out anytime we can."
After all that peddling, we had earned some refreshments. Luckily, our final stop was Convergence Zone Cellars, where we got the chance to do some wine tasting.
"Convergence Zone Cellars is a small, family-owned winery," said owner Scott Greenberg. "I would call it a boutique winery, about 750 cases per year. [We] started the winery in Woodinville in 2008 and moved to North Bend in 2016. The natural beauty of this area is just phenomenal. You're so close to the city, but it just makes you feel like you're in a whole different world."
Sipping on Convergence Zone's Squall Line Red Blend and enjoying bites from Snoqualmie's Heirloom Cookshop was the perfect way to wrap up this unique Pacific Northwest adventure.
"We're out here on this beautiful day. Would you rather be at your office right now? This is fantastic," said Talbott. "The idea is building community through adventure whether that be on the trail, at a winery or outside your office."