Pacific Northwest

Wow! Im nearly finished with tour! I need to make this a quick post because i want to get to my campsite before it gets too late…

Earlier this week I crossed over six mountain passes in five days! Dayum. I must admit that I’m pretty tired. I went up and over the finale passes, Washington Pass and Rainy Pass, and coming down the mountain I had some of the most spectacular view on the entire tour. I think that the Northern Cascade Mountains are my favorite so far. They trump the Grand Tetons in grandeur. The forest is lush, temperate rainforest with prehistoric ferns and horse tails covering the forest floor. And don’t forget the moss. I always forget how much I love the forests in the pacific northwest until I find myself settled back in them. There really isn’t anything like them anywhere else in the world – or at least of the parts of the world that I’ve been to.

I’ve had a few encounters with small wild life this week as well. A few nights ago I camped under three apple trees. The deer passed in and out of camp all night long. Crunch crunch crunching. I got out of my tent a few times to shoo them away, but they really didn’t give a shit. I didn’t get too much sleep that night. The following night I camped half way up Washington Pass. There was a critter that kept terrorizing the campsite. Every time I got up to catch it in the act, it was never there. Then, finally after sitting still for a really long time I saw it! Damn little forest mouse been crawling up in my space. I figured out that if I keep my headlamp on, the mouse would at least stay away from the tent, and so I got to rest. In the morning I dreaded seeing what kind of damage it caused. I left a few zipper pockets on my panniers open. It crawled into every single one of them, shredded the plastic or paper contents in each, proceeded to make a few nests, crapped little turds in all the the pockets, found my wine cup/coffee mug (depending on the time of day), drank the dregs of the cup and shit more little turds. I hollered at that little mouse where ever it was, “Damn little forest critters. If I ever find your critter hole I’m-a gonna shove my shot gun down it and fire a few!” Then, a few surly birds, a jay of sorts and a larger song bird, kept swooping down on me, trying to get my breakfast. Pffff. Forest critters done gotten too friendly with the humans.

Anyway, so I haven’t had very good sleep this week. Oh right, I can’t forget the bunnies at the RV campground. For a third night in a row I had forest critters disturb my beauty sleep. Except these bunnies were half domesticated and hopped rampant through the campground. There were TONS and the owners provided bins of “bunny bread” for the campers to feed the rabbits with. I tried making a trail of bread crumbs to lure a bunny into my campsite. I thought I was about to win, but then the bunny figured out what I was up to and hopped away.

Finally, last night I got a great sleep thanks to my wonderful hosts in Anacortes. I slept so well and got to be warm and dry for the first time in several days. I’ve been having a hard time regulating my body temperature on the passes. I get really hot and drenched in sweat as I’m climbing up the hills, and then at the top I had to chang into a completely new and dry set of clothes, layer with my sweater and down jacket, as well as a hat and winter gloves. The temperatures dropped 25 degrees as I coasted down Washington pass with and additional wind chill of who knows how cold. I was FREEZING and after having rotated through all of my clothes after so many passes, I finally go to the point where everything was wet and wouldn’t dry. A warmshowers host was exactly what I needed last night.

Earlier today I caught a ferry from Anacortes to the cluster of the San Juan islands. It’s beautiful out here! I really do love this part of the world and always find and excuse to comeback.

Well, off to do some cycling!



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