sunset sweeps the sky with a single stroke
mountains and rivers
This was a day of many crossings: four passes, three times over the Pacific Crest Trail, the Oregon Trail even. The primary activity was climbing back into the mountains proper. The day before on the Columbia Rover I was near sea level. Today I would climb up Bennett Pass at 4674 feet. This was more akin to my initial ascent into the Cascades via Rainy Pass than any other of the long climbs I’ve done.
beyond the hill,
I followed the Hood River most of the way up, which is a shallow, lively, rocky river with numerous white water sections. A mountain river makes for a fine companion on a long climb: always chattering and chuckling at it all. This was another fairly warm climb as the skies were blue with faint white streaks of clouds and of course the road is fully open to it. But as I made my way up the pass on the clouds rolled in and while always fairly thin they did block the sun and keep it from beating directly upon me.
On beginning the descent from Bennett Pass Mt. Hood came back into view the rocky south side with only dirty glaciers left of his winter snow. Really close now to the mountain by the sky resort I could see a snow free route all the way to the rocky summit. After a brief descent I went up again nd there I crossed the PCT and another pass! Also the Oregon Trail: A major intersection in the mountains. Continuing to descend the route turned onto Hwy 26 which was busy with returning weekenders. There I crossed the PCT agin and stopping to take a picture a through hiker came through. We briefly chatted about our respective trips and then both set off again. Shortly I crossed a pass and then once again crossed another pass: Blue. Box Pass at 4024 feet.
Happily after descending I turned onto Skyline Road which was basically. Paved forest road right in the trees. Pretty sapped from the passes it was thankfully still mostly downhill. More traffic than you’d expect on such a roD but it turns out that Timothy Lake is a major draw in this area. Talking to a ranger she recommended camping there though and stated the crowds should be gone. So I rode down to Oak Fork Campground on the lake and while it was still pretty occupied it wasn’t not full. The camp host though said she let hikers and bikers camp for free in an open area behind their site so I took advantage of that. A really scenic lake right in the woods well used by swimmers, fishers and boaters. I took a swim myself, the first time in ages. That evening there was a fantastic sunset over the lake that slowly changed from white, to orange to purple to dark.
after the sunset the insects begin their grinding drone