Sunday, July 12, 2009
Day 2 Wednesday 7/8/09
Rasar State Park to Newhalem Campground - North Cascades National Park
85 Trip miles
Slept like Rip Van Winkle--woke up to the sound of an air raid siren @ 5:30 a.m.-- not what you would expect for such a rustic setting. It went on for about 30 seconds, then shut off, only to resume again for about 10 seconds more, then shut off again. Cause for alarm? After the second burst I pondered what could it mean? We're on too high ground for a tsunami. Perhaps one of the dams upriver had burst? Not a fire-- it rained all night. Maybe an impending earthquake? Impossible to know these things in advance. I settled back down, covered my head and waited for the surging water to wash me away, drifted back to sleep-- besides what could one man on a bicycle near the valley bottom do to escape? I had a pretty good idea of where I was relative to "high ground" -- at least 2 miles, so resigned myself to my fate. I fell back to sleep, fitfully I must say, and re woke about 8 a.m. with a the certainty that I had just been tattooed with a giant Tony the tiger, "They're Great!" across my chest. I had fought with the tattooist for some time, knowing for sure that it wasn't the tattoo of choice. He kept telling me I would learn to like it, and besides, Kellogg's might sponsor me.... You figure it out!
Stopped at a local grocery store in Concrete where people kept asking me where I was coming from and where I was gong to. Mostly folks coming out of the store on their breaks to smoke and shoot the shinola. I met one guy who is the support driver for a group of 3 cyclists who will surely be passing me sometime today. They are riding light and plan on crossing the country in 30 days-- that will amount to a lot of 150 mile days and few breaks-- I wish them luck! He offered to carry my bags over the pass ahead, but I told him that would be cheating, now wouldn't it?
Stopped for lunch at Howard Miller Steelhead Park on the banks of the mighty Skagit. I am sure that my fisherman brother Tom would revel in this place. Deep, fast running water and ichthyous cousins treading water against the current. I had planned to call my sister Sudi who turned 50 today. Out of cell coverage and probably will be through the park until Winthrop. Happy birthday Sudi!!! Miss you.
Met another group of cyclists-- 3 people traveling light, with a support vehicle which drives ahead and sets up camp for them and stays behind in the morning to break camp after they leave. Overall they will be riding 70-80 milers a day through the mountains and 100 to 150 mile days on the plains. They hope to do the whole route to Bar Harbor in 30 days, which I think even with the support they have is pretty ambitious, but they are finely tuned and well-trained, goal oriented athletes, so who knows? Their blog is
Spent a wonderful evening in the forest in Newhalem campground surrounded by old growth trees: western red cedar, western hemlock, douglas fir, pacific dogwood, broad leaf maples, vine maples, dagger ferns, braken ferns and all kinds of mossy undergrowth and the occasional wildflower popping up under the somber canopy. I pretty much had the place to myself and tented on a soft, plush carpet of moss. Comfy, yes!