Tour2011

Tour 2011 – Day 5

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Surrounded by green mountains,
white clouds left and right.
If I meet a fellow traveler
what news can I give him?
-Ryōkan

Wednesday 08.17.12: Rasar State Park to Newhalem Campground

This was about as ideal a day bicycle touring as one can have. The day was sunny and clear, there was a tailwind most of the ride, the mileage was just right and the scenery just couldn’t be beat.

The day began and ended the same: with hikes along the Skagit river. Rasar State park had a lot of trails and I wanted to check out a bit of them before I headed out. I took a fairly short one along the Skagit, which is wide and slow at this point, and looped back though the woods. A lot more hiking to to here, but you can’t do it all.

I took the Cascade Trail most of the way back to Concrete with a stop at the Red Apple which my route guide informed me is the last full on grocery store west of the pass. I’d of course ridden the Cascade Trail going the other direction on last years tour and I
knew it was flat and easy riding which since I’d backtracked to the campground figured it be for the best. From Concrete I was back on the 20 for 9 miles or so to Rockport, again a section I’d ridden last year. But from here I left the 30, crossed the river and was now on new roads for the rest of the tour.

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This bit was a lot like yesterday’s riding: in the woods, along the south side of the river and on beat up chipseal. But the foothills were looming huge now and there were many streams crossing the route. After about ten miles it was back to the 20 and from here the scenery became truly spectacular.

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It began in fields, then into woods but soon it became narrower, wending thorough valleys. The foothills and the Cascades dominated the scenery and the river now began to pick up it’s pace. Sections of rapids, big rocks in the water, white water and now a constant incessant roar. Snow crowned a few peaks and rocky outcroppings topped the green forested hills.

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The road was mostly downhill at this point as well though I will be gaining that elevation back. It was sunny and hot but in these valleys it was often shaded and usually comfortable. At just about the point I was ready for it Newhalem Campground was on my right, but first I rode the half mile or so to the tiny town of Newhalem (which seems to be a company town for Seattle City Light) to visit the General Store. As I pulled up in front of the store a lady and her kid opened the door and asked if they were still open, yes they were told. They walked to their waiting car to tell father who then parked. They walked back to the store to find the door locked. It was 4:58 and they close at 5. Pretty much the definition of a dick move. I didn’t really need anything (I was looking for a cold beer) as I’d stocked up earlier so I rode back as the kid kept saying “there goes dinner”.

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This is quite the nice campground with excellent walk in sites deep in the woods away from the car campers and right on the river. I had arrived early enough that I walked the trails for a bit and explored the campground as well as taking care of the usual business. There is lots to do here and over the next few days rides – this is the heart of the North Cascades National Forest.

Miles ridden today: 46.6m
Miles ridden to date: 270.8

Some pictures from the tour

3 thoughts on “Tour 2011 – Day 5”

  1. Wow, that truly is some phenomenal scenery. As I was reading this, I was thinking “Ideal biking conditions!” and then you said exactly that. Wonderful. We don’t have anything like that around here.

  2. I’m now caught up through this entry. Great reading! Looking forward to hearing more :)) (we’ll be out at the ocean Sun-Thurs with Tina’s family, but hopefully I’ll remember to check from there (… if not, I suppose there’ll be more for me to enjoy whenst I’m back.))

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