Sunday, June 5, 2016

Cycling Sunrise Road, Mt. Rainier

With crossed-fingers, Craig and I decided to cycle Sunrise Road on Mt. Rainier before it was scheduled to open for cars in several weeks. We called the Mt. Rainier ranger station, but they gave us no useful information concerning how far the plows had cleared the snow. Not sure sure how far we would be permitted to go, we took the risk figuring that we would at least get a small climb in.

We were in luck--all 14 miles and 3263 feet of elevation gain were clear! Although it was a constant uphill slog, it was a beautiful ride with a speedy downhill. Speaking of speeding downhills...this ride also taught me a very good lesson about speed checking and having a heightened awareness of surroundings during a decent. As I began to make my way down the flank of Rainier, an elk ran out in front of me when I was going about 35mph! It was a terrifying experience, but through a combination of my shrill screams, clamping down on my breaks, and him tripping over his own feet to bolt out of the road as fast as he could, no one was hurt. I used to love the feeling of cruising fast after a long climb, but I think I'll think twice about my speeds after that near-miss. 

Coming around the bend!

Craig riding on the car-free road.

We finally get to some small snow banks on the roadside.

Mt. Rainier in the background.

Almost there!

Woo! We made it!

Mt. Rainier