Day 123: September 2: Winthrop to Colonial Crk CG (N. Cascades); Washington Pass

This was to be a big day for me: a climb of over 4000 feet up over the Cascades, cresting at Washington Pass. There are few places to stay around there, with the only camping being 5 miles before the pass or 32 miles after the pass. I planned to make a decision when I got to the campground 5 miles before the pass.

I woke to find that I had a flat tire, which I fixed. Then I went back to the restaurant where I'd had dinner to get breakfast. I was on the road by 9:30, which is later than I'd wanted to get going.

The climb started more or less after 13 miles. I had stopped in Mazama for lunch, and still had 18 miles to go uphill to the pass, and it was 12:30. There were steady climbs of about 6 percent, with some unfortunate downhills thrown in just to make the total climb longer. I was going between 4 and 5 miles per hour, and having to stop periodically to rest and adjust my knee braces.



More scenery
The last few miles were steeper, and I wasn't even going 4 miles per hour. Finally I got to the top of the pass around 5:30 PM, having decided to keep on going to the campground 32 miles past the pass.
Washington Pass
I figured that if it was a steep downhill, I should be able to make it quickly, using my lights in the dark. It was about 40 degrees on the pass, and I was getting very chilled. I went downhill for a few miles, and then had to go back uphill to go over Rainy Pass. From there, it was mostly steep downhill until about 10 miles before the campground. So I was going about 30 to 35 miles per hour, and freezing. My feet, fingers, and face were in pain from the cold, while the rest of my body was damp with sweat under the rain gear. Every time I'd go up a hill, I'd get damp again, only to get cold again going down. Eventually, I made it to the campground in the dark. I even found a site (this wasn't easy because of the layout of the campground), pitched my tent while making a hot meal, and tried to warm up. I went to sleep almost immediately.