13. Colonial Creek Campground to Mazama: 2 Passes Down, 3 to Go - From the Olympic Peninsula to St. Mary - The First Bite of the Northern Tier - CycleBlaze

May 24, 2018

13. Colonial Creek Campground to Mazama: 2 Passes Down, 3 to Go

We are tired. But happy tired. The climbs today were challenging. Very challenging for us. Right out of the campground the climbing began. And the first thing we saw was a fellow cyclist pushing his bike up that first two mile or so climb. He was fine, and we kept pedalling. Then we gave away a lot of that gain with the descent to Ross Lake and paid dearly in sweat to gain it back. Snacks at the 15-mile mark at East Creek Trailhead. On, on to a short stop to catch our breath at Easy Pass Trailhead. Easy? Nope. And on for what our bicycle map said would be another three miles to Rainy Pass but turned out to be five, according to our odometers and Ride GPS. Given the grade, that was cruel and unusual punishment.

After Rainy Pass we went downhill to our dismay, knowing we would have climb that much more back up to the summit, Washington Pass. (Yes, that's clear on the map. But maps are abstract, the road is real). We made it and have the selfie to prove it.

We enjoyed the 16-mile coast down, down, down. Our friend Necia told us it would be steep and it was - scary steep. We think we saw one sign that said 7.5 percent grade. Plus a tailwind but luckily no side wind. The views were unforgettable though.

We passed by Lone Fir Campground (no water), then two more rustic USFS campgrounds because the lure of a hot shower drew us to the Mazama Country Inn. Dinner was all-you-can eat BBQ at the Sandy Butte Bistro and Bar of the Freestone Inn as the one at the Country Inn was not yet open for the season. The bistro was fabulous, BTW. It's well worth the half mile or so you have to ride off the highway, without hills.

The smiles on our faces say it all.
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Just one breathtaking view of the east slope of Washington Pass.
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Today's ride: 53 miles (85 km)
Total: 370 miles (595 km)

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