Quads are screaming so focus on the beauty

Day: 4

Miles: 100

Mileage from start: 314

We wanted an early start so we’d have a better chance of making it over the Rainy, Washington and Loup Loup passes. 

So when we started at 7:20 it was chilly. As we climbed higher, it was still warm enough to get soaked in sweat, but not unbearable once we stopped moving. 

The climbs were sunny and we passed rushing waterfalls, which jolted us with chill air as we scooched past at 6 m.p.h. The inclines were around 5 and 6 percent, not terrible on their own but after 20 miles it took a lot of energy to make it up. So to ignore my legs, I looked around.

The northern cascades are beautiful. Craggy ridges, still snow covered, layered on for miles. The wet pines and cedars made the air smell like the New Hampshire woods that I love. 

At the top of Rainy Pass we took a photo. That’s a spot we’ll see again later this summer when we pass through as hikers on the PCT headed to Canada. 

The descent off Washington Pass was fun for the first handful of miles. Once we’d dropped down into the valley the whole landscape changed. And all of a sudden we were riding into a hot headwind that felt like exercising under a hair dryer. That rain shadow business is no joke! 

No more winter in June, the valley between Washington and Loup Loup passes is dry and fried. They had wild fires last summer that still make the air smell charred. 

We stopped for lunch in Mazama and over ate. The next 20 miles were intestinally painful for me while my body tried to digest food and push blood to my legs. Eventually things worked out and the climb up to Loup Loup Pass was everything I expected it to be: hot, long and beautiful. 

Not often do I consider 90 degrees to feel refreshing, but today was one of those days. In Mazama, we ate in 93 degree heat. By the end of the descent, 20 miles later, it was 100 degrees. So by the time we got back up above 3500 feet, 90 felt great. It looks like we have at least one more day of unseasonable heat before things in this area drop down to their normal 70s. 

Tonight I am laying next to my sleeping bag rather than in it.

Climb, climb, climbing up Rainy Pass.
At Rainy Pass, also the last road crossing for PCT hikers headed to Canada.
At the top of Washington Pass.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *