Day 18 ~ Paradise Creek Campground, WA > Elk Pass, WA

Garmin Data can be found here.  (Map, distance, Calories, etc….)


Mt St. Helens in the background

I had a bunch of writing done, but somehow I lost it and am starting over again…

We woke early enough but we had a problem.  The night before we chased away some chipmunks when they came to our site as they can chew through panniers and get at whatever crumbs or food you may have, and they took revenge while we were sleeping.  I always put my socks in my cycling shoes when I arrive at camp and put them under the table.  Yesterday was no different but I awoke and one of my socks were missing.  The damn chipmunks stole one of my socks!  We searched the area with no luck so we just chalked it up for experience and had a quick breakfast.


We ate a quick breakfast and started climbing right when we left the campground.  It seems like a lot of mornings start with a big climb … this would be our biggest climbing day on the trip so far.  The road was twisty and all you could see is the next curve ahead of you.  This went on for about 9kms or so before reaching the top.  The nice thing was that there was very little traffic, but a Sheriff’s van with a work crew passed us and sparked Tai’s interest.  Many questions followed about prisons, prisoners and chain gangs.  When we reached the top (just over 3000 feet) we had about a kilometer of flat road before turning and this is what we saw.


Mount St. Helens

After taking a few pictures and hanging out at the rest area for a bit, we had the best downhill of the trip so far.  5 miles of steep, big sweeping turns that got me up to about 74kmh.  It was such a rush as you couldn’t have asked for a better downhill ~ fresh pavement, clean roads and big sweeping turns that you didn’t have to use your brakes on. Near the bottom I started worrying because we came down so much and I knew that we would have to climb back up to at least the same hight on our net climb.  It dropped us down on a nice country road and we followed that for a few kms before hitting the only store for the next 50 miles.  We got there just before 11am and stopped and bought some snacks and some supplies for tonights dinner.  The sign in the store said “No electricity, No phone ~ you’re in the woods”. 6 bikers from Texas on Harleys came in we we started talking.  One guy came out with a 6 pack and popped the caps off all the beers. They offered me one and I figured that since it was Saturday and I had already done a big climb … why not.  I’m not really a fan of Pale Ales, but it was cold on this hot day.  When they were leaving, they had one beer left over, so they gave it to me and were on their way.  Big mistake.  Yep, I drank it.  When I got on my bike my legs were like lead.  We went about 10kms before finding a little rest area and decided to take a snooze in the shade and beat the mid-day heat.


After the rest, I felt much better ~ but it was still as hot as Dante’s hell.  We started climbing again and wouldn’t stop for most of the day.  We saw a sign and gate that said the road was closed during the winter.  You could tell because the road was in pretty bad shape with all the freezing and thawing, causing cracks and upheavals in the pavement.  There wasn’t too much traffic on this road other than us and a lot of Harleys.  We climbed and sweated for what seemed like forever, with the occasional view of Mt. St. Helens and the valleys below.  We reached the top of another 3000 ft. pass and then dropped down for a bit before climbing again. We started getting more and better views, but we had to get up to over 4000 ft for the next pass.  Water was becoming an issue and we stopped at a mountain stream/waterfall and refilled our water bottles and were on our way.


We pushed on and finally made it to the top of Elk Pass (4080 feet) around 6:15pm.  It was a beautiful evening and we decided to stop there for the night.  Tai and I were tired and hungry so we found an out of the way spot to pitch our tent and make some dinner.  We were in our sleeping bags before the sun went down and didn’t hear a thing all night.



I’m to tired to write anything tonight and dad said it was OK

This entry was posted in 2013 Summer Bike Tour, 4 Legs and ! Mandolin, Bicycle Touring and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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