Tour without a goal – 19 July 2014


This present moment
     that lives on
to become
long ago
-Gary Snyder

a ride in the woods
When I arose it was overcast and chilly. It’s hard to express what a relief that was: back home in Western WA. After the steep climb out of the campground I was back on 12 to find the winds out of the south – i.e. the direction I’m going – to still be present. It was a short mostly downhill ride to Packwood where I spent some time at a cafe taking advantage of their WiFi. In the cafe a local asked me about my rig and where I was heading and when I said Mount St. Helens his companion piped up and noted that the roads might be closed. They are doing seismic testing there she said and I was advised to check in at the ranger station in Randle.

a zebra swallowtail ran into me!
or did I run into it?

The road to Randle was in a green hill lined valley that reminded me of the Nooksack valley way back at the start of the route. This time though the wind was against me the whole way which was not quite as pleasant. The sun came out and it warmed up and was rather humid. I crossed the Cowlitz River which was this striking milky blue-green color. At the Randle Ranger Station the rangers got a lot of laughs out of the seismic testing concerns. “We’re going to blow up the mountain!”, they joked. Of course they were doing some seismic testing it just would be unnoticeable. I did get good advice on camping in USFS land which you can pretty much do if not indicated otherwise.


I resupplied for the next few days in Randle and then headed out on Forest Road 25 upon which the wind was finally with me. I soon entered the woods and began climbing this steep forest road. Paved, but narrow and winding, this road was right in the trees some of which were strikingly large. Moss hung from everything and the riotous undergrowth was endless shades of green. But it wasn’t long until I came on the Iron Creek Campground where I was contemplating just getting water and riding a bit further and wild camping. But the camp host came out and after inquiring after my intentions said he’d let me in on a secret. I could just pick a spot here and camp. “We figure you cyclists are already working hard enough.” Well I could resist that offer so I founda. Ice spot near Iron Creek and set up camp.

like a butterfly
mind flits from place to place
– who is listening?

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