Bryan and Andrew left this morning to head North as soon as we made it to Washington State, maybe I should have gone with them! Since then I have been pounded by winds, boiled as I crossed a very high and flat plateau, and driven directly towards an out of control forest fire which as closed highway 2 just as it entered the Okanogan – Wenachee National Forest. Driving through the city of Wenachee was just a dense smoke filled haze. For some context though lets go back a few days (4).
Last Sunday I rode from Great Falls to St. Mary’s Montana. It was a relatively short ride and meant I was right on the edge of Glacier National Park. The remainder of the day was spent getting supplies for the next few days and setting up camp. Glacier National Park is amazing. On the Monday I rode around to the town of West Glacier and then back over the Going To The Sun road. The road is the only east/west pass throughout the park. The route goes over Logan Pass at an elevation of 6,646 feet above sea level. Most of the road has been carved out of the side of the mountains and is only 1 lane each way. It is a very busy road with many pull offs so that it is possible to stop and take pictures of the scenery. It is also a slow road, speed limits at the start and end are 45 mph but the majority is set at 25 mph. Honestly I wouldn’t want to go much faster than that!
On Tuesday my friend Bryan was coming down from Edmonton with his son Andrew. They arrived around noon but were unable to get anywhere to stay so they continued on to the other side of the park where I would catch up the next day. I went off to the area called Many Glacier. By the time I got there a longer hike wasn’t a smart idea so I looked for a short interesting trail. I asked for some suggestions from a lady in the store. As I was leaving she convinced me to get some Bear Spray. I have never felt it necessary but when parts of hikes so far have been closed due to bears and the area being famous for them I splurged and bought some in the store. It was worth it as I did see one on the trail later!
Wednesday was one more trip over Logan Pass as I went to meet Bryan and Andrew. We met up in West Shore State Park and then rode together to Sandpoint Idaho for the night. Sandpoint is a very cool little town and I will have to go back some time soon.
Today we had a somewhat leisurely start to the day but by about noon we made it to Newport Washington where Bryan and Andrew turned north to head back to Edmonton so that Andrew could be back at work on Sunday. Most of the trip for the rest of the day was across a very flat area much like Eastern Montana. Leaving Spokane it became very obvious that there were fires in the area as it became very hazy. At a rest stop I ended up talking to another biker who had had a close call when he drove through flames right up to the road north of Wenatchee! As I headed West approaching Wenatchee the winds became worse and the haze thicker. The fire is being described as out of control and people are being evacuated out of the town of Leavenworth. I had to ride almost all the way up to Leavenworth in-order to turn south to get to Ellensburg and was in a rush to do so before anymore roads in the area closed.
Ellensburg is currently in a wind watch as the gusts are huge (trust me I felt them coming in tonight) so I decided not to camp again tonight. Tomorrow I am off to Seattle and maybe on to Port Angeles. Hopefully it is cooler out that way!