Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Half Loaded

I haven't even gotten started on the right side yet, but the left is side is kind of done. I can't believe the escalation in planning between a one-to-two day trip (which is all I've ever done) vs an eight day trip, which is what I'm about to embark upon.

The front pannier contains the "solid" meals that I need to cover via freeze-dried. I'll be eating at cafes and taco trucks whenever I can, but the eastern stretch and the Cascade Pass stretch just don't have much in the way of those kinds of services. It's about 6 lbs of bag and food all up, pre-water. The dork rear basket is holding some closed cell foam which doubles as basket cushioning and a sit pad, and also some spare tubes, but most importantly an MSR water bladder.  There's a 24 hour stretch through eastern WA where the only water available is out of creeks in cow country and I'm hoping I can carry enough to avoid having to filter that scary shit.

The electrical storm we just had here tonight was amazing. There was something sparking about every 10 seconds. I've never seen anything around here with that kind of frequency. And then the rain and hail. Holy hell. If I could get an event like that on my trip, I would be so stoked. If I didn't get struck by lightning and die, that is.


Matt B. said...

Hey Pat,

I've been enjoying these posts. Any last minute questions about the JWT from Cle Elum to North Bend, or have you surveyed it all? Are you planning to hit the Snoqualmie Valley Trail at all? Wait -- did I miss a full route post?


Pat S said...

Hi Matt, good to hear from you. And great questions. I haven't done a full route post - just too busy getting ready.

Snoqualmie Valley Trail? Indeed. From Rattlesnake Lake, I'm taking the Sno Val Trail to the Tolt Pipeline Trail to the Sammamish River Trail to the BG, which will take me to the Sound at Golden Gardens.

I haven't had the time to do in-person surveys of the section between Thorp and Hyak, but you would not believe the time I have spent on Google Maps pouring over this section. Mainly, just trying to figure out reasonable routes around the four closed tunnels that don't totally buzzkill the ride. The detour that the WA Parks website has posted around the Thorp Tunnels totally sucks, IMO.

What was it like riding through this section for you guys?

Matt B. said...

Well, we didn't make it all the way to Thorp, as we got off in Cle Elum to head north. As I recall, we only encountered one closed tunnel from Hyak to Cle Elum. First pass by we took the detour, which was nearly unrideable due to grade and wash out. On the way back we passed through the tunnel without issue. I recommend inspecting the tunnels before taking the detours.

I'm not sure if it's open now or not, but the bridge at Lake Easton was closed last year, which required a detour around the lake and through the town of Easton. Detour signs were posted. Easton is a funny place. We stopped at a bar there and I asked for an IPA. The bartender said she didn't know what that was and asked the owner, who was sitting at the bar drinking. He didn't know either, so he handed me a bottle of Pyramid Hefeweizen and said, "This is the closest thing I've got."

The Snoqualmie Valley Trail is great. I actually preferred it to the John Wayne Trail. If by the time you reach Carnation you're tired of wilderness camping, I highly recommend staying across the river at Tolt Macdonald Park (which is along the detour for the Snoqualmie Valley Trail as it passes through Carnation). They even have yurts if you feel like treating yourself to a mattress to sleep on.

Anyway, maybe some of this information will be useful to you, maybe not. Good luck with the rest of your packing.