Saturday, April 26, 2008

Ranier

As expected I'm very anxious and unsettled my first few days away from home. When I used to take trips like this on a regular basis it was always the first 7-10 days that didn't feel quite right.

Today sure was nice though. I didn't drive anywhere today so I spent the entire day outside. That's a good feeling. I found a nice camp last night in national forest near Mt. Ranier so I've decided to stay here again tonight. I ran 11 miles this morning and then biked 50 in the afternoon.

The bike ride was spectacular. I headed toward Mt. Ranier National Park figuring I'd go until the road was closed for the winter and then come back and check out some of the forest service roads and trails around here. When I got to the gate across the road though I noticed that there was a lane plowed on the other side. Thus over the gate and up I went. I had the road completely to myself and it just kept climbing all the time. Eventually the snow banks were as tall as me. Some amazing views of Mt. Ranier up there. Another mile and the snowbanks were twice as high as me. Getting close to the pass, but also into some noticeable avalanche areas. I finally decided I would turn back once I had gone 25 miles. This brought me very close to the pass and I probably should have just pedaled another 10 minutes to the pass but by this point there was so much snow that I was getting concerned for my safety. In spots the banks rose straight up from the white line 20+ feet.

Cruising back down was even faster than expected - continual 30 mph for almost 10 miles without pedaling! I got pretty cold but the air eventually warmed enough to stop shivering. I love a good climb like that. That makes 50 miles feel so easy because I got to cruise the entire second half of the ride and by the time I finished I more or less forgot about the difficult climb getting up there.

Tomorrow I plan to drive to Portland.