The long-awaited winter closure of Highway 20 by the WS-DOT happened this weekend. With almost all of Washington State to be covered in clouds on Saturday, I was resigned to yet another ride with limited visibility of the majestic peaks in the North Cascades NP.
And 93 miles and 8000 ft. of climbing later, I now know that there was barely even any snow on the pass.
Still a nice ride. Very peaceful – as neither cars, motorcycles, nor snowmobiles were on most of the route. Only met a couple hikers and a X-country skier on the easter-side of Washington Pass. And a few cars near Mazama.
The sun was lighting up the tips of the mountains as I arrived at Ross Lake. What would it be like to camp up there, waking up in the snow bowl?
Or paddling across the water down there?
What I do know is that riding with studded tires makes a lot of noise without snow.
The clouds thickened the higher I got – removing color and making life a black-and-white television show.
Whistler Mountain towering high to my left now, when it was in front of me just a few minutes before. Biking takes you places – fast.
Washington Pass was not a place to linger long, and the decision was made to see if lunch in Mazama could still be gotten before 1 pm.
The road down on the eastern side is nicer than the western slope, as it is closer to the edge of the rocks and higher up in the valley.
A most filling lunch was had at the Mazama general store, which was surprisingly crowded with X-country skiers and look-alikes.
A child’s remark “Oh, it’s an electric bike”, was soon followed by another question about electric bikes. That makes 3 e-bike comments so far – 3 more than I care to have gotten. Not only do I find ebikes to be a bizarre excuse for riding a motorcycle on walkways, but now I am being lumped right in with them. Great. Thanks a lot for giving fatbikes a bad rep.
A tiny bit of snowy trail was found when I saw 2 guys riding bikes off road. Soon, this path will be off limits to bikes and the go-to place for X-country skiers instead.
Big clouds rolled over me as I rolled back into the mountains.
So peaceful. Not a person within 20 miles.
How rare to find such solitude within 3 hours of Seattle.