Today we climbed up and over the last two mountain passes of this trip. It was a momentous occasion because it marked the last BIG climb before sailing down towards the West Coast where we will be for the remainder of this trip! It also was the fifth day in a row that we climbed at least one mountain pass a day, that’s every single day since entering Washington state.
We’ve done quite a few passes on this trip already in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, mountains are not new to us or our bikes. And in fact we’ve done many that were vastly higher in elevation than our Washington passes. But the difference was that in all the other states we tended to start at a much higher elevation at the base of the pass, whereas out here we’d climb up to 4 to 5 thousand feet, only to fly right back down to 1,000 feet or lower – practically to sea level it seemed – and then do it all over again the next day.
Wednesday we did the Flowery Trail Pass over Chewela Peak to an elevation of 4,046 ft.
Thursday it was Sherman Pass (the highest pass in the state) at 5,574 ft.
Friday we did Wauconda Pass at a mere 3,576 ft.
Saturday was Loup Loup Pass at 4,020 ft.
And Sunday we did Washington Pass at 5,477 ft, flew down for three miles and then climbed up Rainy Pass at 4,875.
Needless to say, by the time Sunday morning came around and we were gearing up to conquer the last two passes of the trip, clear through the Cascad Mountain Range, my body was feeling it and the thought of climbing another two mountains was daunting and discouraging. Beyond that we hadn’t taken a day off to rest in nearly two weeks! But the West Coast was just beyond the Cascades and it was calling our names…so climb we did!
By the way, the Cascade Mountains are gorgeous! I never expected them to be so craggy, harsh and raw. And even in the middle of August, they are snow-capped wonders.