I'm biking really really far this summer

Monday, June 18, 2007

Day 8 (Elwha - Fairholme 60km)

After breakfast I was determined to go to the Elwha hot springs which was down the road from my campground. My guidebook said that it was simply 4 miles down the road. Easy I thought! Oh how wrong I was... The guidebook said nothing about the 1850 feet of brutal switchbacks and bumpy/potholed/gravelled road, and I had a full assortment of foods in my already heavy panniers. Needless to say I almost killed myself from overexertion by the time I got to the top, but it was a pretty road and I did have a treat when I got to the top.

From the parking area it was a two mile hike to the springs, since much of the path had been washed out by storms making it impossible to bring my heavy bike across, so I hid it behind a tree and covered it with branches. The springs were pretty sulphurous but almost completely deserted and the temperature was perfect, so after taking a soak in one of them I felt incredibly relaxed and reenergized despite the huge climb I just did. So much so that I spent half an hour making some smithson-esque earth art from stones next to the path. There was another hot springs down the road but its been all commercialized with resorts and tiled pools so this was much nicer. I had a screaming descent on the way back down which pretty much made up for the grinding climb.

I stopped for lunch at a roadside diner after it started to rain and talked with the waitress and one of the regulars. This regular seems like your standard working Washingtonite, who had very Bushy American politics. Among other things, he says that countries, like Iraq, want America to invade them because America rebuilds them so well, just like Germany and Japan. I decided not to challenge this totally boneheaded and false example, and he moved on to mexican immigrants and gas prices. He seemed a decent enough guy though.

After that I had to skirt Lake Crescent for 16km along a terrible winding road with barely any shoulder and agressive drivers. There was a sign advising cyclists to wait for the bus! I found this insulting so I rode it anyways, and quickly realized why the sign was there. Despite the big climb earlier, I put my legs in to overdrive and rode the section as fast as I could, averaging about 35km/h. By the time I got to the end I pulled into the great Fairholme campgrounds on the shore of the sapphire blue Lake Crescent where I made dinner, a campfire and read a book with a gigantic can of beer with a nascar driver on it while sitting on a fallen log cantilevered over the lake.


Caroline said...

What a day you had Charlie, so full of events, even an artistic endevour which you left behind for others to enjoy.
We all miss you very , very much
All my love
Mum xxxxxx00000000

Caroline said...

What a glorious spot Charlie. I wish you could come to us in France,Please come to me in my dreams. all my love Mum xxx