Camping last night went rather well. Perhaps, the Camping Gods are starting to look more favorably upon me. It was cold, but I got some sleep, tucked away in my Northface Blue Kazoo. This sleeping bag is awesome. Itís filled with down, not that space age poly stuff, which means itís really warm and stuffs to the size of a loaf of bread. It wouldnít be too good if it got wet, as down takes a long time to dry out, but Iím not camping in the rain anyway. Yeah, thatís what I said when I left, but nothing ever turns out exactly to plan.
I ride out of Rainier the way I came in, this time with the sunlight coming from the opposite direction, giving the place an entirely different look and feel. At this hour, even on a weekend, there is no one here. Iíd like to come back here some day and try to climb the summit, a two day hike. Thereís a long established guide service, Rainier Mountaineering, that will guide you to the top.
Just down the road, near Morton, I get a good look at Mount Saint Helens, or whatís left of it anyway. On May 18, 1980, at 8:32 in the morning, the volcano erupted, blowing off the top 1,300 feet and spewing a cubic mile of earth into the air. Rock, ash and gases shot out at 200 miles per hour devastating 200 square miles of the surrounding area. The heat of the blast melted glacier snow in an instant, causing floods and mudflows. When Rainier goes, it will be even worse.
I head west and then north up the interstate towards the Olympic Peninsula. Thereís a diverse and stunning landscape here, centered on the snow covered peaks of the Olympic Mountains. Rain forests, icy rivers, wild seashores, alpine meadows, and jagged pinnacles all mix together into a unique wilderness. A golden eagle soars about 30 feet over my head as I pass Quilcene along the Hood Canal.
I reach Lake Crescent, where I had planned to spend the night at the historic 1916 Lake Crescent Lodge. But US-101 is closed here and there is no way to get to the lodge. Due to the construction, theyíre closed for the season anyway. So much for that plan. Iíve been kind of tired all day and I just want to go to sleep. I didnít get much rest in Seattle or last night in the tent. So I turn north and reach the coast along the Strait of Juan De Fuca, hoping Iíll find a motel along the shoreline. The first town, Clallam Bay doesnít have anything, but a mile down the road is Sekiu and I get a room in the only place in town. Although the joint is virtually empty, the girl behind the desk gives me the worst room in the place, tucked in a corner with no view of the water. But Iím too tired to complain.
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