Today’s ride is brand new for me.
Three years ago last night I had a premonition that I might die on the descent from Washington Pass. I rode anyway but got lost ending up 25 miles off route near the Canadian Border. By the time I got on route, back at the start, I had logged 50 miles with 63 to go. With the heat at 104 I did not think I could a do a 113 mile trek over a mountain pass safely and I decided with much regret to ride in the van.
Today I know to take the scheduled turn to stay more or less with the group. 14 miles in at Mazama I take a break for a blueberry scone and then turn west for an 18 mile climb….the last of the five through the Cascades.
Today’s weather is gorgeous, low 80s with a cloudless sky though there is a small forest fire just over the ridge at the top.
The climb has three parts each about 6 miles with an increasing slope to 6-7 degrees.
As we ascend the river gorge I realize I am in an enchanted spot…
Angel and Flossie fade from view, a “ Thin Place ” wraps its arms around me, and I get “lost”.
For those of you unfamiliar with this concept here is a description from last year :
There are locales where the distance between heaven and earth collapses and we are able to catch glimpses of the divine, or the transcendent or, as I like to think of it, the Infinite Whatever.
Travel to thin places does not necessarily lead to anything as grandiose as a “spiritual breakthrough”, whatever that means, but it does disorient. It confuses. We lose our bearings, and find new ones. Or not. Either way, we are jolted out of old ways of seeing the world, and therein lies the transformative magic o the travel.
This is a rare and precious experience.
Rather than describe the climb of today I offer you the pictures as they evolved over 4 hours from the bottom to the top and back down the other side.
Tonight I sleep in an enchanted forest
at Lake Diablo
on the far side of all the North Cascades.
I have mastered the 5 Climbs, as have all the rest of the riders… including two Wildflowers now completely on their own…
Tomorrow we start three days of descent…down,down,down … to the Great Pacific at the Puget Sound…