Olympic Mountain Dreams day 3

Written by robert on September 1st, 2017

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 3 - Water through the moss

patches of moonlight
wavering through branches —
watering an ancient tree

I awoke a few times through night to an exultation of stars peeking through the canopy and very late a thin moon made it over the valley walls. After a my nights sleep with the ever present white noise of the river, I woke to a grey morning with mist streaming down the valley walls.  Over the course of a morning spent in contemplation down by the river and making breakfast in camp, the mist burned off to mostly clear blue skies. While I was breaking my fast a volunteer ranger came by and gave me the skinny on day hikes in the area. He also let me know that most of those washouts I had to clamber over one the way here were from this year.  It had been the rainiest winter on record in Washington State and it brought down a lot of rocks.

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 3 - Crossing Station Creek

I lingered in camp until after lunch and then hoisting my daypack I set out to checkout the local trails.  Past the campground is the old ranger station and then past that begins the trails.  There is a the remnants of an old nature trail which does the traditional loop, with a branch off of it into the broader trail network.

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 3 - Money Changers in the temple

The trail heads off up the river valley to the Dose Forks campground. This is a true backpackers campground, a few miles from the Dosewallips Campground, which was the furthest in you could have driven back before the washouts.  There were a few people camping at Dose Forks though I didn’t seen any of them there.  I was continuing up to what the ranger had described as the High Bridge at the West and North Forks of the Dosewallips.

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 3 - Wasp

Between the two campgrounds I was up the valley walls a ways and primarily hiking in the woods.  There were numerous creeks to cross — Station Creek, Pass Creek and named trickles — but I was far enough away from the Dosewallips that it was only a very distant rushing sound.

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 3 - Looking back

At Dose Forks Campground I was back right on the river and had to cross it to continue on the the High Bridge.  The character of the hike there was subtly different.  It was more rocky and I was clearly on a sort of spit of land between the two forks of the river.  There were a couple more little stream crossings which the trail often descended to cross and then had to climb back out.

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 3 - Flowing water

This part of the Olympic National Park, cut off from the car campgrounds, seems to be slowly returning to nature.  Rangers have to hike anything in and the old car campgrounds are slowly deteriorating.  Nobody is going be be packing in a replacement picnic table!  Out here though it is the trail crews that keep falling logs off the trails, bridges from collapsing and the trails generally clear.  Past the high bridge there are trails deep into the Olympics and it hooks up to the cross park — and state! — Pacific NW Trail.

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 3 - High Bridge

There was sign of these trail keepers all through these hikes, cut logs, repaired bridges and general trail clearing.  This corner of the park feels pretty abandoned. I’m sure it was never was the draw that the Hoh, Hurricane Ridge, Lake Quinault etc have been, but with no car camping now, it feels pretty remote.  The High Bridge is well named, a solid wood bridge on a rocky promontory crossing the West Fork of the Dosewallips.  Looking east you can just see where the North Fork cascades in and merges with the West Fork.

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 3 - North and West Forks of the Dosewallips River

I spent some time on the bridge and around the branching trails just past it. I rested, ate a sandwich and just existed.  A wind had picked up and there were ragged trails of cloud reaching into the piercing blue sky. I just sat and listened for a spell until finally I retraced my steps back to camp.

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 3 - Blue skies over green valley walls

the tiger swallowtail
returns again and again
dancing over flowing water

&nbsp
Photos from this day: Olympic Mountain Dreams day 32
All photos from this tour: Olympic Mountain Dreams

Posted from Brinnon, Washington, United States.

 

Olympic Mountain Dreams Day 2

Written by robert on August 30th, 2017
Olympic Mountain Dreams Day 2 - Onward into the woods

NFE in Olympic National Forest

out of the dense green canopy
the sound of a lively stream

I awoke to a sunny and clear day in the woods outside of Port Townsend.  On this day I planned to ride all the way to Dosewallips Campground in Olympic National Park but I also wanted to spend a little bit of time in Port Townsend. So I quickly packed up and rode down the Olympic Discovery Trail, through the marina and into downtown to my favorite PT coffee house: Better Living Through Coffee. There I enjoyed sumatra pour-over and broke my fast.  I had a few more errands I wanted to take care of and so I ended up staying in PT through lunch. It was nearly 1pm by the time I finally rode out of town.

Olympic Mountain Dreams Day 2 - Pirate Ship in Drydock

Clearly a pirate ship here in dry dock

I had about fifty miles to do this day, but this included a pretty long climb into the State Park and about 16 miles on trails, so I felt I was leaving pretty late.  It was also all backtracking for the first 15 miles (and then on pretty familiar roads) so I mostly just pedaled through it.  I couldn’t resist a quick stop at Finn River Cidery once I was back on Center Rd. I’ve ridden past them many a time but I’ve always been pushing through to PT and never stopped.  I figured on this day, with long summer nights and no riding planned for the next day, though I could spare the time.

Olympic Mountain Dreams Day 2 - Finn River view down Beaver Valley

The view from Finn River looking down Beaver Valley

I’m glad I stopped — good cider and a lovely locale with long views up Beaver Valley. But after leaving I knew I had it maintain a steady pace to get where I was going by nightfall.  The wind was with me as I rode down Beaver Valley and through the hillier section the lies beyond the intersection with 105.  There is a good climb up into hills above Quilcene followed by a long descent to the intersection with Hwy 101.  I stopped in Quilcene at the market there where I bought a Blackberry Ice Cream cone where they must have put near a pint of ice cream on it.

Olympic Mountain Dreams Day 2 - NFE at sea

NFE in Quilcene

The next stage was a stretch on Hwy 101 from Quilcene to Brinnon.  This includes crossing Walker Pass, which at 741′ barely qualifies as a pass climb, but it is a gap between Mount Walker and you do climb up for most of the five miles between it and Quilcene.  Once you descend there is a stretch along the coast a few ups and downs and then you come onto Brinnon.  Right before you cross the Doeswallips River is the turnoff to Dosewallips River Road, which begins my journey into the National Park.

Olympic Mountain Dreams Day 2 - Dosewallips River Valley

Dosewallips River Valley

It was stretching into late evening now and I was hoping that I could make this last 16 or so miles in relatively short order.  At first the road was paved and it climbed steeply nearly immediately. I was following the Dosewallips River, which was pretty active with sections of rapids, but also these beautiful coves and pools.  There were houses and then farms and what kind of appeared to be a cult compound before the paved road ended and became gravel.  I was in the National Forest now and after a mile or two the road ended at the washout.  There were a number of cars parked here for those hiking in to the campground, day hikers and dog walkers.

Olympic Mountain Dreams Day 2 - Dosewallips River road after a car has passed

Dosewallips River road after a car has passed

I walked the bicycle through this first washout and then it was just like the gravel road had continued on. The trees were a little closer and the road was less washboarded and of course there were no cars. So pretty nice.  Then I came to the second washout.  This one was as if an entire hillside had washed down into the Dosewallips River.  There was a goat path on it, clinging to loose rock on the hillside and also a path that steeply wound above it.  I park my bicycle and explored along the hillside route first.  That clearly became impossible to push  bicycle through so I returned and checked out the path above.  It had a series of switchbacks and was pretty steep but seemed passable.  So I pushed my bicycle up which I have to say was pretty difficult. At the top it was like I was on a hiking trail for a spell until it descended in a similarly steep set of switchbacks.  Then I was back on the gravel road.

Olympic Mountain Dreams Day 2 - Dosewallips Trail 2

Dosewallips Trail

Past the second washout the trail narrow and was a lot more overgrown. This was really great riding, as it was fairly flat, empty and yet deep in the woods near a rushing river.  There were several more rocky washouts, but these were small and I just had to dismount and pick my way over them.  But I was pretty tired and hungry now and ready to reach the campground.  When I came to the Elkhorn Campground, the first of two, I was really tempted to stop.  I gone a long way, it was right on the river and looked nice.  But since I planned to spend the next day exploring the area I knew that the Dosewallips Campground would be better and it was my destination after all. So I pressed on.

Olympic Mountain Dreams Day 2 - Further up Dosewallips Falls

Dosewallips Falls

The trail immediately began to climb at this point and was much closer to single track.  Apart from the multiple washouts and a couple of bridge crossings, it pretty much was uphill the rest of the way.  I could ride most of this, but I was pretty hard work.  There were numerous washouts, again usually of the big rocky types.  I passed a couple of hikers during this stretch, one couple commented they had passed me riding on the road a ways back. “I managed to catch up!”, I quipped.  The highlight of this stretch was Doswallips Falls, which was a rock falls with a short free fall section. The road alongside was super steep and there was an old sign informing vehicles that they shouldn’t stop on this section.  Apart from all the washouts it was pretty hard to imagine cars ever driving this road.  I had to push the bicycle up this section and I was pretty close to bonking. It was after 8pm and I was tired and hungry.  Happily it wasn’t too much further from the top of the falls and it was a flatter stretch with only a couple more washouts.

Olympic Mountain Dreams Day 2 - Dosewallips River Valley walls at sunset

Sun sets behind the valley walls

Finally I arrived at the campground which probably half a dozen of the sites — all along the river — were occupied. I pretty quickly settled into the last really viable site at the north edge of the park. The river was an all encompassing presence here and looking up above the trees, the high valley walls were golden with the magic hour light. I filtered water, cooked dinner and setup.  As I was about done for the day one of the hikers I passed on my way in stopped by and told me he had forgotten a key part of his water filter.  I was using my new gravity filter that I bought after my stint on the Sierra-Cascades where I found I needed to filter a lot of water so I was able to filter a gallon or so of water for him in short order.  It was fully dark now, so after he departed water bags in head I retired to the tent and a well earned nights sleep.

Photos from this day: Olympic Mountain Dreams day 2
All photos from this tour: Olympic Mountain Dreams

Posted from Brinnon, Washington, United States.

 

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 1

Written by robert on August 27th, 2017
Olympic Mountain Dreams day 1 - NFE on the stoop

NFE on the Stoop: Ready to Ride

a blue dragonfly
flies backwards down the path
watching

When a retreat that I was going to take part in fell through I suddenly found myself with five free days in mid July. Within a couple of days I worked out a trip I wanted to take that would maximally use those days and take me to a place I hadn’t been to before. I had found out that a road had washed out on the eastern side of Olympic National Park cutting off two campgrounds, but that you take your bicycle on the old road.  This was technically within a days ride, but would, I thought, be a pretty long hard day. I planned to ride to Dosewallips State Park, on hwy 101 which is around 20 miles from Dosewallips Campground, in the Olympic National Park.

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 1 - Ferry terminal to BI

Ferry to Bainbridge Island coming in

My touring setup is pretty much set in stone these days, all kept in one bag in a closet. I can pull it out and be pretty much ready to tour within a couple of hours.  Buying and packing some food and selecting appropriate clothing is about the only variables not preset.  Of course I do have several options depending on length or type of tour and for this one, where I’d be camping and then day hiking in the woods, I adjusted things accordingly.  I swapped out my Rando bag for my basket and put on my old Baggins Hobo bag for the rear facing pockets.  This gave me enough space for the supplies needed for time in the woods.

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 1 - In which we leave the city behind

In which we leave the city behind

I made it to the ferry terminal by 10am which is pretty good time for the first day of one of my tours.  But I had just missed a boat and when the next one came in there was a crew change and the hauling off of a dead motorcycle.  When we finally departed it was about a quarter to eleven.  I was in the cafe buying a coffee when the woman next to me in line asked: “Is this the bar?” It’s happy hour somewhere… At one point during the crossing the boat slowed and the engines stopped. There was an announcement over the PA for a crew member to come to ‘Fan Room 2’.  Was this going to one of those trips?

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 1 - Coming up on Bainbridge

Crossing the Puget Sound

As I made the crossing I contemplated my preparations and realized I had neglected to bring my headlamp.  That a bit of food I still needed sent me to the little town of Winslow on Bainbridge Island where I also was able to get lunch.  I found my forgotten supplies and proceeded to ride across the Island a bit after noon.  Now his route is one I’ve done several times: Bainbridge to the mainland via Hood Canal.  There are several options and several highways but of course the goal is to stay on backroads.  However right after crossing Agate Pass off of Bainbridge I failed to take a turn and thinking Google Maps had just put me on a different crossing of the Kitsap Peninsula I continued on the hwy.  As I came up on Pouslbo I knew I was off route but I also knew this busy road would get me where I was going. I peeked at Maps on my phone and found an alternative backroad option that I didn’t have to backtrack to.  This road, Big Valley Road, turned out to be just top drawer country riding.  Much flatter then the normal cross Kitsap route I’ve taken, but equally low traffic and scenic.  Nice.

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 1 - Waiting on the bridge

Waiting on the Hood Canal Drawbridge

Big Valley Road intersected with Hwy 3 at Four Corners and from there it wasn’t too much further to Hood Canal Bridge. As I climbed up the last hill before I’d descend to the bridge, cars were backed up — the bridge must be open.  I was able to easily wend my way down to the bridge and along the nice shoulder all the way to the barriers.  The drawbridge was indeed up, but for no discernible reason.  There are long views both north and south of the bridge and there was no sign of any boats. Even when submarines come through here — which is often — there are jamming boats along with them.  So perhaps just some sort of test or safety check.

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 1 - Clouds over the Canal

Dark clouds down south

There was a stiff wind blowing south, which happily was the direction I was going. But things were dark and forbidding that way whereas the wind was blowing the clouds away from the north.  Once the bridge finally opened I continued west, mainly on Hwy 104 but taking side roads when I could.  Once you climb up from Hood Canal to the north is Beaver Valley which I’ve ridden many time to and fro Port Townsend.  All the sudden I felt a pang of desire to go to Port Townsend. It was almost cold now under dark clouds and there was even the slightest of sprinkles.  As I crossed Center Road which goes north up Beaver Valley to Chimicum and then PT and South to Quilcene where it intersects with Hwy 101 I saw a handprinted mural that read 24 miles to Brinnon. Brinnon was just outside of Doswallips State Park, my destination.  PT on the other hand was 14 miles to the north up Beaver Valley.  To the south was Walker Pass (not an epic pass, but a couple mile climb) and dark menacing clouds.  To the north it was blue skies, easy valley riding and PT with restaurants and pubs.  I went north.

Olympic Mountain Dreams day 1 - Mount Rainier looms beyond Marrowstone Island

Mount Rainier looms beyond Marrowstone Island

There are three roads that run down Beaver Valley: one on the west wall, one down the center and one at the foot of the east wall.  I was on the middle way, Center Rd. which is the easiest of the three (the west wall is the hilliest fwiw) and the valley protected me from that northerly wind. So I made good time to Chimicum and then to Fort Townsend State Park. This park sits about 5 miles south from PT proper and it is a favorite of mine to camp at. Olympic Mountain Dreams day 1 - At the PourhouseThe Hiker/Biker site is a bit away from the rest of the campground and is basically a clearing in the woods. Of the half-dozen plus times I’ve camped there only once has there been another touron there.  Once!  It is about a mile from the Olympic Discovery Trail so you can easily ride into PT which after setting up I did. I had dinner at a very busy (and just okay) Thai joint and then retired to the Pourhouse for an after dinner pint.

As I rode back to the campground, the sun had set and a light purple glow lit up the Cascade mountains far to the east.  A truly lovely evening.  It was dark in my wooded campsite when I arrived, but I only had to lock up my bicycle and retire to my tent for the evening.  I was happy to be here.

Photos from this day: Olympic Mountain Dreams day 1
All photos from this tour: Olympic Mountain Dreams

Posted from Port Townsend, Washington, United States.

 

Back, just in time to leave

Written by robert on July 13th, 2017

After myriad technical issues, the blog has finally returned. Just as I’m about to set out for five days of bicycle camping.  I’ll be a ways into Olympic National Forest at an old closed campground.  Sure to be free from cellphone-telephones and the like. What a relief!  So reports of the trip will have to wait upon my return. Check back late last week for the news.  In the meantime, checkout out some new(-ish) photos on Flickr.  If I manage any updates from the road, it’ll be uploading some photos there.

Posted from Seattle, Washington, United States.

 

SIR Spring Populaire 2017

Written by robert on March 13th, 2017
SIR Spring Populaire 2017 - A wet section of the BGT

A typical stretch of Spring Populaire 2017

This was the third Populaire I’ve done with the Seattle International Randonneurs and the third one where it rained. This was the rainiest of the bunch though.  The ride started 9am at Woodland Park in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle.  It started drizzling a few minutes before the start and was a good steady rain by the time we reached the Burke-Gillman Trail (BGT) heading toward Golden Gardens State Park.  By around mile 15 my cue sheet had completely disintegrated. By mile 21 my bicycle computer konked out.  I pretty much relied on the fact that the route was mostly a there and back to Redmond on the BGT and trying to stick with a group of riders.

SIR Spring Populaire 2017 - Pre-ride announcements

Pre-ride announcements

The downside of that though was that most of the ride was on rail trails.  We rode a stretch of the BGT to Golden Gardens, did the climb up to Loyal Heights, cut across to the Interurban which we rode north to the BGT Connecter.  The Connecter – which is a newly “signed route” – was one of the routes I’d worked out back when I lived on the eastside.  It features a long descent down to Lake Washington in Lake Forest Park.  A soaking wet descent on this day. Then it was pretty much the trail to the Redmond Whole Food Plaza which was a control and place for food/coffee/drying out.  I changed my socks there and grabbed some produce bags to try to keep them dry for the ride back. I also downloaded the route to my phone, but it being so wet I wasn’t sure I could really rely on the phone.  But since it was 11 miles back on the BGT I knew I was set for a while.

SIR Spring Populaire 2017 - Randos disppearing ahead

Randos disappearing ahead on the BGT

It was a slog back on the BGT, though there was a good 20 minutes without rain.  The fresh pair of socks in their shopping bags did a good job keeping my feet dry.  I was alone most of the time, once passed by about 8 randos who’s pace was definitely outstripping mine.  The next group that overtook me, I made a point of sticking with and was able to take advantage of their surviving cue sheets and GPS to get to the finish. This last bit climbed up into Ravenna, made it’s way under I-5 and then the final climb to Phinny Ridge.  As always the ride ended at Zeek’s Pizza where I had my usual Veggie Thai pizza and a couple of pints.

SIR Spring Populaire 2017 - Pumpkin Orange XO-1 at the finish

Pumpkin Orange XO-1 at the finish.

The rain had stopped when I left but a brutal wind out of the south (the direction home of course) had picked up. So I rode to UW and took the Light Rail to Beacon Hill. So good times all in all. Character was built.

Spring Populaire 2017 Route on RideWithGPS

Spring Populaire 2017 Route on RideWithGPS

My Photos here: SIR 2017 Spring Populaire
Ride info here: Spring Populaire
Map here: Ride with GPS map

Posted from Seattle, Washington, United States.

 

Tourus Interruptus day 3

Written by robert on January 29th, 2017
Tourus Interruptus day 3 - NFE at Salmon la Sac

NFE at Salmon la Sac

Day 3 dawned clear, cool and sunny. It was wonderful being in the midst of the mountains along the talkative Cle Elum River.  I made breakfast and packed up and then enjoyed a second cup of coffee sitting on a rock in the river. The plan today was to ride a trail to Cooper Lake which wasn’t many miles away. There I would setup camp for a few days and hike around the area and spend time in the mountains.

Tourus Interruptus day 3 - Looking north on the Cle Elum River

Looking north on the Cle Elum River

In no particular rush I meandered up the Salmon La Sac road along the Cle Elum River. Stopping frequently to take pictures, checkout trailheads and to monitor the river.  Stopping at the bridge pictured above looking down into the river I spotted bright red spawning salmon! Truly a glorious time in the mountains.  A bit further up the road was the Salmon La Sac Campground, which was a quite large and quite empty campground.

Tourus Interruptus day 3 - Little Salmon La Sac River

Little Salmon La Sac River

From the campground there was a short stretch on a dirt forest road before I reached the Salmon La Sac trailhead.  I stopped for lunch at this point during which time a barefoot woman in a bikini walked out of the trailhead.  Seemed a little casual for hiking into the mountains. However after a short stretch on the trail along the Cooper River, there was a wide bend in the river that created a deep turquoise swimming hole where there was a number of college kids sunbathing, Mystery Solved.

Tourus Interruptus day 3 - Swimming hole on Cooper River

Swimming hole on the Cooper River

The trail along the Cooper River to Cooper Lake was billed as a “mountain bike” trail, but it clear was a horse trail that had been opened up to mountain bikes. I assume that very technical riders with a fully suspended mountain bike and no load could navigate this trail, but it was not rideable on a fully loaded touring bicycle.  Rocks, roots, short super steep sections, torn up trail and so on made for a surface that I pushed the bicycle on more than rode.  After some time of this I decided that several more miles of this wouldn’t be a good time.

Tourus Interruptus day 3 - Horse and Mountain Bike Trail to Cooper Lake

Nice easy stretch of the horse and Mountain Bike Trail to Cooper Lake

Luckily there was an alternative route to the Owhi Campground on Cooper Lake. There was a forest road that took you to the south side of the lake and then you could hike around the lake to the north side where the campground is. I decided to take this, most likely less scenic, but certainly easy to negotiate route.  So I rode back to Salmon La Sac Campground and then Road heading toward that bridge where I was looking at spawning salmon just  few hours earlier.

Tourus Interruptus day 3 - Killer Pothole

Killer Pothole on Salmon La Sac Road

Rounding a corner on the road, gaze on the river or mountains, I glance at the road and spot the above pothole moments before my front wheel entered it. I tried to ride around it, but was two late and I dropped into it and nearly immediately slammed into the far edge.  I popped out, wobbling and miraculously didn’t fall.  My tire had popped of course and the wheel was way out of true. I figured I’d popped a few spokes. I pulled over and noticed how mangled the wheel was.  Taking it off at a picnic table I discovered that I had completely bent the rim at the edge and this wasn’t roadside serviceable.

Tourus Interruptus day 3 - Destroyed front wheel

Destroyed front wheel

There was a woman walking on the road right when I hit the pothole and she came over to see if I needed any help.  As I pulled off the wheel and inspected the damage I allowed as I did.  Her husband was off riding trails on a trials bike (something I was completely unaware of) and she said that after he came back they would haul me into Rosyln which had a bicycle shop. If it was unfixable she offered to take me back to Seattle when the left the next day.  Really generous and friendly I gladly accepted her offer. As we waited, we walked down to the Little Salmon La Sac River which was shallow and rocky at this point.

Tourus Interruptus day 3 - Last view of the Little Salmon la Sac River

Last view of the Little Salmon la Sac River

This would turn out to be my last encounter with the rivers and mountains in the Winatchee-Okanogon National Forest.  Back from the trails, Julie’s husband made some attempts to pound out the dent (but just look at how severe it is) and failing that we loaded my bicycle into their van and drove into Roslyn.  They walked around the town while I took it into the NW Bicycle Improvement bicycle shop. Nice helpful guy there but as I suspected they didn’t have a viable replacement rim in stock.  So I was prepared to return to the campground and stay overnight and return with Julie and her husband tomorrow.  But while I was in the shop they talked it out and decided to just haul me back right away, cutting short their weekend camping.  That was super generous and of course while I said I’d be happy to return the next day, I gladly accepted.  So back into the van with the bicycle and now it was a reverse trip down I-90 back home. I had them drop me off near the Bellevue Transit Center where I was able to take a bus home.

So this is the first tour I’ve been on that got cut short due to mechanical issues.  I’ve had many mechanicals on tour and have fixed most of them in situ, for at least long enough where I could get professional help. But this was unfixable by anyone on the road.  While I was lucky with there being people willing to help immediately on had I have to say at no point was I worried or scared.  To me handling the unexpected is part of what you are training for in each tour.  Just up the road from the accident was the camp host for one of the campgrounds and I knew I could get a ride into Roslyn from them. From Roslyn I could either wait out a replacement wheel, or work out a bus back to Seattle.  So while there definitely would be some much less fun effort involved I never felt that I was stuck.  Too me the biggest downer was that my mountain camping was cut short right at the point I was really interested it: hiking in the Alpine lake regions.  Well I know for sure that I will be back!

Photos taken today: Tourus Interruptus Day 3
Complete Tour photoset: Tourus Interruptus

Posted from Ronald, Washington, United States.

 

Tourus Interruptus day 2

Written by robert on January 23rd, 2017
Tourus Interruptus day 2 - NFE at Keechelus Lake

NFE at Keechelus Lake

I awoke to a clear, cool morning in the midst of the Cascade Mountains. After making breakfast and breaking down camp I discovered that the outhouse at the Cold Creek Campground was locked.  This didn’t bode well. I wasn’t too far from the Hyak Trailhead so I rode back up there to use the facilities. While there my rear tire went flat. This was not a great shock as the rear tire was quite worn with at least one hole in it which had led to this flat. I patched the tube, booted the tire and ended up having lunch at Hyak.  So it was after noon before I was back on the trail heading east.

Tourus Interruptus day 2 - Second tunnel on the IHT

Second tunnel on the IHT

Just past Snoqualmie Pass you are in the midst of the Cascades on a high plateau surrounded by mountains.  There are a number of reservoirs up here which feed Seattle and other Western Washington cities.  So for several miles the trail winds around Keechelus Lake and is quite level.  The east side of the mountains is dryer, but up this high, it isn’t a drastic change. The underbrush thins out, things are less green, there are more pines than firs and so on. As one travels further and further east the flora changes a lot more dramatically. The valley opens up and there are dry, brown grassland, sparse stands of pines and much less shrubbery. In contrast to the tans, browns and yellows is the deep blue of Lake Easton, the turquoise of the Yakima River and as I left the trail, the rocky green Cle Elum River.

Tourus Interruptus day 2 - Looking east on the Cle Elum River

A dog playing in the Cle Elum River

I left the trail and headed north toward the small town of Roslyn. Best known as the setting of Cicely, Alaska in the TV show Northern Exposure, the town has had a recent resurgence as a hub for mountain recreation.  Getting there by bicycle was pretty straightforward though there was a nice stiff climb up the valley wall.  These are all roads that aren’t designed to accommodate bicycles but generally there were good shoulders. Due to my late start I arrived in town around dinnertime and finding the Roslyn Brewery closed I settled on The Brick Saloon. It was taco night at The Brick, which I didn’t indulge I did partake of a Roslyn Brewery Pale Lager which sure helped wash away forty kilometers of trail dust.

Tourus Interruptus day 2 - The Brick

The Brick, in Roslyn, WA

The sun was low in the sky once I left Roslyn and rode out to Cle Elum Lake. There are campground all around the northern end of the lake (the boundary of the Alpine Lakes wilderness) and I basically planned to just ride until it was near dark.  The road along the lake was all ups and downs and until I entered the Wenatchee National Forest it was pretty dense with upscale “cabins”.  It was pretty deep gloaming by the time I reached Red Mountain Campground and it was a few more miles to the next ‘ground, so I deemed it prudent to stop for the night.

 

Tourus Interruptus day 2 - Cle Elum Lake

Dry end of Cle Elum Lake

There was only one other group of campers on a Tuesday night in Mid-September.  A group of college age kids they were definitely having a good time. I camped as far away from them as the ‘ground allowed and only heard the occasional exuberant shout.  But it cools right down once the sun is gone and soon enough all of us were in our respective domiciles.

Photos taken today: Tourus Interruptus Day 2
Complete Tour photoset: Tourus Interruptus

Posted from Roslyn, Washington, United States.

 

Tourus Interruptus day 1

Written by robert on January 16th, 2017

Tourus Interruptus day 1 - Iron Horse State Park

In 2016 I undertook three tours, the last of which end abruptly. This is the tale of that tour. My plan was to take the bus up to North Bend and then ride to the Iron Horse Trail which I would then take nearly to Cle Elum.  From there I’d ride to Roslyn, Cle Elum Lake and then to a campground on the very edge of the Alpine Lakes region.  There I would camp for several days and hike toward The Enchantments.  Finally I’d make my way back.   I also thought if it looked good, that do the Stampede/Tacoma Pass loop off of the Iron Horse Trail. So this was going to be a mixed-terrain, bike packing, hiking adventure in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness region of the Cascades.

Tourus Interruptus day 1 - Dappled woods on the I-P Trail

Issaquah-Preston Trail

I left Beacon Hill in Seattle September 12th for a week long jaunt before 9am.  A good start! I rode a couple of kilometers to a bus stop on I-90 where I caught  Sound Transit 554 to Issaquah. Unfortuently I was too late to make the connection for King County Metro 208 up to North Bend. As that bus only runs every two hours (!) I decided to ride up to it’s last stop before entering I-90 and meet it there.  So I rode through Issaquah and onto the Issaquah-Preston Trail. Absolutely glorious day, with a pure blue sky, and the sun filtering through the trees.  Being mid-September it was comfortably warm but not hot.  Looking to be a great week in the mountains. I made it to High Point where that bus stop was with still more than an hour till the bus would arrive.  Oddly there was a car fully in the ditch in the freeway underpass. I decided that I would give up on the bus and just ride on from here.

Tourus Interruptus day 1 - Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls

I continued on the Issaquah-Preston Trail, to Preston where I then transitioned to the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail.  All familiar routes so far.  But instead of the various ways of working my way up to Snoqualmie Ridge, I instead rode down to Fall City and then up the road to Snoqualmie Falls.  With all the attempts I’ve made to avoid this route with a full touring load, it turned out to really be no big deal. It’d be less fun for sure with dense tourist traffic, but on a Monday morning mid-September, not bad at all. I arrived at Snoqualmie around noon, so of course lunch was at the Snoqualmie Falls Brewery.

Tourus Interruptus day 1 - Rattlesnake Ridge

Rattlesnake Ridge

It was pretty warm in Twin Peaks, err North Bend and I was happy to get back into the woods and make my way further up into the mountains.  I was going to be riding all the way across the back and camping on the east side this night (why I wanted to bus to North Bend and cut out some riding) so there was a lot of miles on gravel ahead.  The ride through the woods was quite enjoyable.  The seasons are always in advance in the mountains and the signs of Autumn was everywhere. Yellow, golden and red trees stand out amidst the bountiful evergreen trees.  People were out, but with it being during the workweek and school back in session, there were no crowds.

Tourus Interruptus day 1 - Foothills 2

Autumn in the Cascades

Long distances on gravel wears you down, the extra resistance, the vibration in your hands, needed to hold on more firmly to the handlebars. Riding the Upper Snoqualmie Trail and then the Iron Horse Trail for around forty kilometers, you definitely feel it. These trails keep to a minimal grade, around 2-3% but it does so for pretty much the whole way. That just adds to the effort required. But it is great to be in the woods, in the foothills and the Cascades. I-90 is always nearby, but you are completely out of traffic and I love it.   The sun sets early in the mountains, even on the longish days of the end of summer.  The shadows were getting longer as I rode through the two mile long Snoqualmie tunnel.

Tourus Interruptus day 1 - Moonrise over Hyak

Moonrise over Hyak

Through the tunnel I was at the Hyak trailhead. I stopped there briefly but soon rode the last few kilometers to Cold Creek Campground.  There I filtered water, made dinner, setup camp and all of the other details of camping out in the woods.  Soon it was dark and cold and I was happy to get into my tent in the moonlight and retire for the night.

Photos taken today: Tourus Interruptus Day 1
Complete Tour photoset: Tourus Interruptus

Posted from Snoqualmie Pass, Washington, United States.

 

Coastal Contemplations Index

Written by robert on June 21st, 2016
Coast Tour 2016 day 12 - yrs trly at Heceta Head Lighthouse

yr humble narrator at Heceta Head Lighthouse

Coastal Contemplations index
In June 2016 I spent two weeks touring on the Pacific Coast.  A leisurely tour, the emphasize was on the scenery, the environments and contemplation.  As usual I blogged the tour here as it went on the links of which I have collected here. Additionally I took over a thousand photos on this tour and a selection of these from each day have been uploaded to Flickr.  Links to each days photos are included here along with each days report.

Washington
day 1: Seattle to Twanoh State Park – report, pictures
day 2: Twanoh State Park to Lake Sylvia State Park – report, pictures
day 3: Lake Sylvia State Park to Cape Disappointment State Park – reportpictures

Oregon
day 4: Cape Disappointment State Park, WA to Astoria, OR – reportpictures
day 5: Astoria to Nehalem Bay State Park- reportpictures
day 6: Nehalem Bay State Park – reportpictures
day 7: Nehalem Bay State Park to Cape Lookout State Park – reportpictures
day 8: Cape Lookout State Park – reportpictures
day 9: Cape Lookout State Park to Beverly Beach State Park – reportpictures
day 10: Beverly Beach State Park – reportpictures
day 11: Beverly Beach State Park to Beachside State Park – reportpictures
day 12: Beachside State Park to Umpqua Lighthouse State Park – reportpictures
day 13: Umpqua Lighthouse State Park to Honeyman State Park – reportpictures
day 14: Umpqua Lighthouse State Park to Eugene – reportpictures
day 15: Eugene, OR to Seattle, WA  – reportpictures

Tour photo album on Flickr: Coastal Contemplations

 

Coastal Contemplations day 15

Written by robert on June 20th, 2016
Amtrak Cascade train captured on a stop in Portland

Amtrak Cascade train captured on a stop in Portland

in beads of dew
one by one
my home village
-Issa

 

all things must pass
I made one last stop in The Whit at the New Day Bakery – which was great – before I made my way to the Amtrak Station. This being the beginning of the Amtrak Cascades route the train was ready and waiting for me. I pulled off my bicycle bags and helped the porter left it into the baggage car. I found a seat with a table where I would spend the next seven hours.

amidst blue skies
clouds obscure The Mountain —
traveling northwards
It was a fine day with cloud strewn skies and plenty to watch as the train made its way north: Mount Hood, Mount Adams, Mount Saint Helens and finally Mount Rainier.  When I finally got off the train and reattached my bags it was late afternoon. It felt good to do even the short ride home after seven hours on the train.  Back home I unloaded the bicycle, put everything way, cleaned up and cooked some dinner. As the sun set over the city long spine-like clouds lit up with dark purples, reds and oranges. Tomorrow is the first day of summer.
the sinking sun
lights clouds on fire —
last day of spring

Photos on Flickr: todayall days

Posted from Seattle, Washington, United States.