O summer snail,
you climb but slowly, slowly
to the top of Fuji
crossing the dry mountains
It had actually gotten almost cold overnight which really was a relief. But I knew that today was suppose to be the peak of the heat and I had a pass to cross. I didn’t linger but ended up leaving a bit later than I’d hoped and the sun was already heating things up. The route begins on hwy 97 and was already in the midst of its long gentle climb. The Peshastin River burbled along side and mountains towered above. After about 6 miles I left 97 and took to Old Blewett Road. This was the old crossing and is now a forest road that is not maintained. Narrow, winding, cracked, pot holed, rock strewn at times but nearly car free. Also it hugs the sides of the mountains so there is a lot more shade. It’s almost like being on a bicycle path over the pass.
For the most part I simply inched my way up the pass taking occasional break for food or photos. Not too far from the summit I acquired the worst chain suck I’ve ever had – the chain had gotten jammed behind the kickstand mount and nothing I could do would dislodge it. So I laid the bicycle down and piped the quick link on the chain and thread it through. The end result was my hands were filthy. Happily Dr. Bronners and a mountain brook helped with that. Shortly after this even I reached the summit and made the long winding descent back to 97. The road was in similar condition as the ascent so there was no bombing down.
Hot now there was also an increasingly strong wind as I rode down. At times the gusts almost counted the effects of riding downhill. Happily though the route is downhill almost all the way. Except for a massive hill as the route turns south. But now the wind was with me and while not quite pushed up the hill it really helped. At the top of the hill and in the surrounding valley was a wind farm – I could see why! The route was downhill the rest of the way to Ellensberg and with the tailwind I literally blew into town.
slowly climbing under the hot sun –
summer winds shaking the trees
Ellensberg presents it’s own delima though – the only nearby camping is a KOA and it’s miles off route. And a KOA. Otherwise a bit further down the route there are these DNR fishing camps that aren’t much more than a wide spot on the river with no amenities at all – tough in 100 degrees. So on spotting a Motel 6 I stayed there. It will I think be good to have a nice cool evening and to take full advantage of the break from camping.
dusty green trees
poking out like whiskers
on the arid mountains
A selection of photos from this day can be found over on Flickr.