Wednesday 08.24.112: Ellensburg to Windy Point Campground
I made full use of the hotel, it’s laundry, it’s free breakfast, WiFi and power. Hence I ended up on the road later than I have of late. This was unfortunate as it was a scorcher, the hottest day yet.
The first part of the ride was the best, through the Yakima River Canyon. Steep walls, carved out by the river with striations of color and odd textures. Some parts of the canyon walls looked eaten out like soapstone on a massive scale. The Yakima was there the whole time and fairly active.
Along with the symphony of the senses I described the other day, there are also many great smells from time to time: mesquite, sage and I’d swear rosemary. Every do often it’d roll over you as if you riding through an herb garden.
The route wasn’t flat and there were a couple of good climbs in the middle and a long one at the end. The route skirted Yakima so I left the route for a short time a Selah to get lunch. It was really got now and the route climb a bunch to get out of the valley and into the next one.
To the vulture overhead –
I may be slow but I’m not dead
This was perhaps the most barren section of the tour yet. There was pastureland for a bit but just past it’s artificial greenery was just dead looking scrub. The route turned away and then there was no green just tan everywhere. It was deadly hot now, the hottest yet. Then the route climb and climbed until I was in the hills above Nachas.
There was a crazy descent down switchbacks and I was in this little town. I hit the store and pressed on. I was taking another gamble here – I’d ridden about 50 miles at this point and was nearly done in with the heat. Yet the closest sure campground was back up that crazy descent. Plus it was miles of route from there. I climb White Pass tomorrow and wanted to be part way up (as has been my strategy on all the passes) and there are several campgrounds but the guide claims they are all reservation only. But looking at the NSF website there seems to be walk on sites. So I go for it. I figure I’ll camp next to the river if they are full.
At the beginning of the river Valley up White Pass I was stopped by flagged who told me that roadwork was causing delays about 25 miles ahead. I knew that I would hit that today so pressed on. Something to look forward to for tomorrow. Thin clouds had rolled in and it was cooler when they’d block the sun but ad I went up the valley trees and the wakes would provide real relief. There was fishing spots all over which I figured at camp at if things didn’t work out. However they did and Windy Point Campground only had three sites filled (though a lot were reserved for Labor Day Weekend). So again it worked out, hopefully that’ll be the case at Rainier as well.
Miles ridden to day: 62
Miles ridden to date: 607.8