I awoke to a clear, cool morning in the midst of the Cascade Mountains. After making breakfast and breaking down camp I discovered that the outhouse at the Cold Creek Campground was locked. This didn’t bode well. I wasn’t too far from the Hyak Trailhead so I rode back up there to use the facilities. While there my rear tire went flat. This was not a great shock as the rear tire was quite worn with at least one hole in it which had led to this flat. I patched the tube, booted the tire and ended up having lunch at Hyak. So it was after noon before I was back on the trail heading east.
Just past Snoqualmie Pass you are in the midst of the Cascades on a high plateau surrounded by mountains. There are a number of reservoirs up here which feed Seattle and other Western Washington cities. So for several miles the trail winds around Keechelus Lake and is quite level. The east side of the mountains is dryer, but up this high, it isn’t a drastic change. The underbrush thins out, things are less green, there are more pines than firs and so on. As one travels further and further east the flora changes a lot more dramatically. The valley opens up and there are dry, brown grassland, sparse stands of pines and much less shrubbery. In contrast to the tans, browns and yellows is the deep blue of Lake Easton, the turquoise of the Yakima River and as I left the trail, the rocky green Cle Elum River.
I left the trail and headed north toward the small town of Roslyn. Best known as the setting of Cicely, Alaska in the TV show Northern Exposure, the town has had a recent resurgence as a hub for mountain recreation. Getting there by bicycle was pretty straightforward though there was a nice stiff climb up the valley wall. These are all roads that aren’t designed to accommodate bicycles but generally there were good shoulders. Due to my late start I arrived in town around dinnertime and finding the Roslyn Brewery closed I settled on The Brick Saloon. It was taco night at The Brick, which I didn’t indulge I did partake of a Roslyn Brewery Pale Lager which sure helped wash away forty kilometers of trail dust.
The sun was low in the sky once I left Roslyn and rode out to Cle Elum Lake. There are campground all around the northern end of the lake (the boundary of the Alpine Lakes wilderness) and I basically planned to just ride until it was near dark. The road along the lake was all ups and downs and until I entered the Wenatchee National Forest it was pretty dense with upscale “cabins”. It was pretty deep gloaming by the time I reached Red Mountain Campground and it was a few more miles to the next ‘ground, so I deemed it prudent to stop for the night.
There was only one other group of campers on a Tuesday night in Mid-September. A group of college age kids they were definitely having a good time. I camped as far away from them as the ‘ground allowed and only heard the occasional exuberant shout. But it cools right down once the sun is gone and soon enough all of us were in our respective domiciles.