Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day 4 Friday July 10, 2009

Day 4 Friday July 10, 2009
Granite Creek to Winthrop, WA
42 miles
153 Trip miles
4300 calories

Today was a big push-- after camping off the road on very rocky terrain, I got up and faced the climb ahead-- two mountain passes -- Rainy Pass at about 4800 feet and Washington Pass at about 5400 feet. It was climbing almost all the way to the top. I had to stop and take frequent breaks as the morning sun heated things up quite a bit. All the while passing through spectacular scenery-- high peaks all around me in the 8's and 9's with snowfilled cirques and glaciers. Quite breathtaking. I have also come to the conclusion that everyone is simply trying to get places too fast. And in such vehicles-- full rolling houses, towing SUV's, towing boats, jetskis, ATV's, ...anything with a V, it's on that highway. And the brain splitting concussion of a pack of Harley's passing by is enough to hemmorhage on the spot! I'm not sure that 2 gulf wars have taught us anything about carbon footprint. People are simply tearing through these parks on their way (presumably) to some place better. And throwing their trash out the window. Washington could definitely use a bottle law to reinforce what many of these people never learned in kindergarten. I could have filled 100 bags with what I saw. Such a shame to litter our national parks and forest so... And yet, the Forest and Park services are somewhat at fault... With all the cutbacks in budgets, trash receptacles are few and far between. Even in fee areas where you pay for the use privilege, it is sometimes hard to find them... So... After about 4 hours and 20 miles I busted onto the top of Washington pass--it was my plan to lunch there- but the mosquitoes also thought they might do the same. I hadn't experienced such voraciousness since my last visit to Maine! A quickly devoured lunch and I was on my way to the descent. 20 or so miles of downhill and then some run out found me in Mazama, where the quaintest of western barn board country stores offered the coldest drinks. It was a tiny village, but the store offered mostly natural and organic fare for , well, tourist prices. But who wasn't hungry and thirsty after 2 days in the park with no fresh provisions and willing to pay Hector's ransom for some good stuff? I met Bill and Linda there and we enjoyed some beers and sandwiches together.
Tonight we pulled into the Bicycle Barn,
hosted by the kindest folks, Jim and Jan Gregg, who have a very casual setup on their farmette halfway between Mazama and Winthrop. Had a great solar hot water shower, good meal, relaxing conversation and now some blogging time. All in all a great day.

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