August 4, 2001

8/4/01 Colonial Creek

44.6 / 5623 miles

Rained all night. I hat packing a wet tent because you end up carrying that water. So, I left Concrete under cloudy skies and on a wet highway.

Heading up into the mountains

As the miles click away on the odometer, the terrain begins to change. Even though I haven't felt the climb, I find myself riding up between steep mountain peaks. The depth of this valley must be close to a mile from the ridgeline way above. I even see snow above the tree line. Eventually I see occasional patches of blue sky but clouds are the norm. As you would imagine with the vertical cliffs, I pass waterfall after waterfall. And lots of weekend traffic too.

See the sign "Bike Food"

In Newhalem, I walk on over to admire two homebuilt wooden kayaks. The Browns are headed for vacation on the shores of Vancouver. He's a teacher in Okanogan. If they'd been home, they would have given me a place to stay. It's the thought that counts.

As I keep climbing, I pass several dams. And just like the Skagit River, the water continues to have this incredible color. Later a ranger tells me that the bright blue-green color is light reflected off glacial silt in the water.

Diablo Lake

I finally make it to Colonial Creek Campground. I love how every campground in our National Park system treats cyclists consistently inconsistent. At this site, I pay full price, same as an RV with a family of four. But when I left a note at the gate for any other cyclists to join me, the ranger said that only three people could share a tent site. What sense does that make!

My tent is dwarfed by the immense pines that tower over it. The occasional rays of sunlight find it difficult to penetrate the forest canopy. I walked down to Diablo Lake to watch a few kayaks glide through the water as a canoe full of fishermen match wits with the local aquatic life. And when I can find a break in the trees, almost directly overhead, I can see snow on the mountain tops. It's just awesome just to sit here and admire nature's handiwork.

A ray of light on this new sapling

Spent a wonderful evening sitting around the campfire of the family next door. The McLean's are from Seattle. Scott is a Civil Engineer and Cheryl teaches at the community college. And Amanda has brought her friend Laura Case along this trip. They fed me as the girls made smores and we just talked. I hope gracious people like the McLean's get as much from our conversation as I get from them. It surely diminishes the loneliness.

Tomorrow it looks like I'll continue climbing another 4000' in 33-miles. Hope the sun comes out because I hear I could have some great views of the Cascades, especially from Washington Pass.