Saturday, October 25, 2008

And then there was one...Oct1st-4th

After a long hiatus it is time to bring things up to date- I'm just running a month behind...

Oct 1st: Got Amber back to Seattle and safely on her way. Now I just had to figure out what to do with myself for the next couple days, since I would be flying back to the Midwest, but not until the 4th. I started heading toward Mt. Rainier and stopped in Auburn WA to look up some trail info at the library. I had to do it the old fashion way and look in books since Mike had the computer with him, so i grabbed a couple Washington mountain biking books and started hand copying away. After getting 3 good trails into my notebook I went back out to the car, where I found there to be no more basil. I had set our basil plant in front of the van to get some sun, and an hour later when I came back it had vanished, there was only a little dirt smudge where it had once sat- Someone stole my basil!!!

I couldn't believe it, I was really bummed, especially since I had planned on using some of it that night for dinner. I figured the best thing to do was to leave Auburn behind me and head on to Mt Rainier. If only it was that easy, I think it took me about 45 minutes to get out of this stupid town. All of a sudden the whole state was driving through, and it always seemed that whatever direction I wanted to go, was the way I couldn't go. Finally after a whole load of toil, I was out of there on the open road again. Things went fairly smoothly from that despite getting lost one more time. (It's amazing how much more difficult driving is when you're by yourself with no one else to check the map.)
Finally I could see it

Mt Rainier

My big head blocking Mt Rainier, with the vanagon behind

I finished off the day by driving around and finding the trail I wanted to ride the next day, and of course finding a nice place to camp by myself in the big scary forest.
This is what I found, I have to admit I was pretty nervous to be alone at first, and I did hear a few noises I'm sure I wouldn't have noticed normally, but I just made dinner and read a book and everything was fine.

I probably would have slept even better if it hadn't been for little nibbling noises that I kept hearing in the car- I thought we had left our rodent problems at Bacon Creek, apparently not.
Oct 2nd: The next morning I got up and got ready to ride, hoping that the clouds would just stay cloudy and not rainy. I made sure to bundle up with lots of layers just in case. So the book at the library described this ride as a 23 mile loop, but with 10.2 of it being on a road. I figured that didn't sound like much fun, so I decided to create my own loop. I parked in the empty lot, and hoped that no one was going to happen by that would check to see if I had filled out my permit (since I hadn't).

I started off on what seemed like a great trail. Lots of roots and rocks and very piney- it smelled great. Then I started up 6.6 miles up, but I figured it has to be better than the road right? Well, it's hard to say- I don't think this is really a biking trail. Of the 37 switchbacks I made 2. And I like switchbacks, they are usually my favorite part of a ride. I started counting them to pass the time I was spending walking my bike. It was still really pretty, just unbelievable impossible on a bike, and then I came to the ladder. It was technically a staircase, but the steepness leads it to be more accurately described as a ladder. Trust me I was huffing and puffing a bit once I got my bike to the top of that. Then things started to improve, it wasn't exactly flowy, but getting a lot closer to flowy, and then I started to get some views.
Like this- not me, but that was where I was, and what I saw

It was about this time I started thinking about all those stories of the people who go on these solo adventures and don't tell anyone where they are going...and then something horrible happens...and no one knows where to look for them..... and how it's the middle of the week, and I'm the only car in the lot....I made sure not to get too close to the edge.

Then I got to the top and got to go down the other side, and that was fun. I made 12 of the 22 switchbacks going that way, so I started to feel at least a little better about myself.

3.5 hours and about 14 miles after I started I was back at the van and off to see if I could find another trail for tomorrow. The problem was that Crystal Mountain trail did not seem to exist, I could find Crystal Mountain Resort just fine, but no trail. I finally gave up and just found a place to camp and figured I'd find it in the morning.

That night more nibble nibble, more run about and keep Emilie up.

Oct 3rd: So I went to sleep to the sounds of mouse nibbles and woke up to the sounds of this guy

standing on the rear view mirror and tapping on the windshield. (Not my picture).
Along with my steller jay alarm clock, there was another kind of tapping on the van, it was raining, and did not look like it was gonna give up any time soon. Not the best time to go on a 15 mile ride into the unknown. So I decided to go explore Mt Rainier National Park instead.

That dark lump in the middle of the picture is a black bear- yeah I know, stunning picture, but a bear picture is still a bear picture.

I decided it was a time for a hike, so I loaded on all my rain gear, and hit the very wet trail

All the colors were changing

The trail was neat with lots of amazing views, and then suddenly everything changed.

This was right in front of the paradise-stevens glacier.
At this point I turned around and headed back. I could have made a loop out of it, but I figured I was soggy enough. Once back I changed into nice warm dry clothes, and continued my circuit through the park.

This was my view of Mt Rainier

This was supposed to be my view of Mt Rainier

Foggy but pretty
That night I drove back to Tacoma and stayed with Beth and Dave. That is, after I stopped by Wal-mart and picked up some humane mousetraps for my little friend.
Oct 4th: Unfortunately my cleverly planted traps were empty, with the peanut butter sandwich still in place (sigh). I couldn't worry about it any more for it was time to get to the airport. Elizabeth was kind enough to take me and let us leave the van there.
My route had me change planes in Vegas, I'm pretty sure it will be the only time I'm every in Vegas, what a weird place!
Look, Vegas, pyramid and all!

Michael and Mary were waiting in Little Rock AR when I arrived with Joey and Baxter in tow. Next, on to more Arkansas adventures.

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