Sunday, June 11, 2006

Paradise revisited

Sunday, 11 June

When I was down to the last two bites of my piece of chocolate cream pie in Eatonville this afternoon, I remembered yesterday's issue of flab.

But I deserved some flab-inducement today. Mick and I did a tour of the south side of Mt. Rainier: Ashford, Paradise, Stevens Canyon, Grove of the Patriarchs, Packwood, Skate Creek, and back to Ashford. I had never done this loop in this direction, and it is the only way to go! Less traffic on the busy stretch up to Paradise in the morning (waaay better than coming down with the tourist hordes in the afternoon). Almost no traffic on Stevens Canyon or 123 because Cayuse Pass is still closed. And Skate Creek from south to north is so beautiful you almost forget you're climbing (it's a 12-mile climb, so that's a pretty good trick).

We lucked out with the weather; the mountain was completely concealed by clouds when we got back to Ashford, but it was warm and sunny there. It was cold on the descent down Stevens Canyon (Reflection Lakes are still covered with ice and snow) but nearly 80 degrees in Packwood, and it was nice to ride in such warm sunshine.

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