Dan and I had wanted to ride a 2-3 day ride where we camped from the bikes and didn't have any external support. We both liked the idea of riding unsupported and just relying on what we could carry on the bikes. On Friday, June 12th, we left Dan's house in Enumclaw at about 6pm and headed out for the Naches area. I hadn't really ridden the WR on many highways and definitely not for any extended period of time to this point but that was about to change. We rode over Chinook Pass and as cold as it got, I was extremely thankful that Dan offered me a riding jacket before we left.
(Side note about this jacket: In spite of what Dan might say if you were to speak with him, the jacket was a MEN'S riding jacket. Just because it was Dan's wife's jacket does NOT mean I was wearing a "girl's jacket".) Regardless of the jacket's designation, I was very grateful to be wearing it while riding Hwy 410!
Once we made it over to the east side, it started warming up a bit which was nice. But it was getting late and we needed to find a place to set up camp soon or we'd be having to set up in the dark. Dan had a particular place in mind and we headed up the gravel road to get up the hill as far as we could before nightfall. During our ascent, we encountered a herd of elk with probably 3 or 4 bulls that would were good sized. I'm no hunter, but Dan is and he indicated that they were "nice". It definitely was impressive to see them up close.
We found a decent spot and started unloading. I began a search for firewood while Dan set up the tents, etc... It wasn't long after we got there that it was, in fact, dark. We were using flashlights to see what we were doing and before too long, we had camp set up. I attempted to get a fire going and I realized that all I had were matches. No big deal normally, but instead of getting the "strike anywhere" matches, I got the "strike on box" kind, which are commonly referred to as the "won't light unless you use a torch to ignite them", type. Fortunately, Dan had a lighter in his bag of goodies and with a little effort, we got stuff to burn. We basically spent the next hour or so just sitting by the fire drinking adult beverages. Dan's wife, Laura had packed him some wine while I brought along a few Jim Beam minis. (No, I did not steal them from the airplane galley cart... I hadn't been on an airplane that served alcohol in about 6 months.).
Our camp site... not bad for setting up in the dark.
Once again I was able to locate a wild animal to take a photo for me, especially since Dan doesn't know how to use a camera. Seriously, he brought his camera and took exactly ZERO pictures.
One of the bluffs near our campsite.
Just a wildflower that I thought made for a good photo.
The next morning I got up early. I tend to wake up early anyway but being out where the birds are chirping and the "wolves", (ok, they were coyotes, damn it), were "yipping", I got up earlier than normal. I don't remember what time it was but the sun wasn't up yet. I climbed a hill near our campsite to get a nice view of the surrounding valley and it was very serene. I took a few photos and just sat there relaxing for about 45 minutes. I then decided that since the sun had finally come up that it was time for Dan to be up as well. I made my way down the hill and made enough noise that Dan drug his ass out of his tent.
After we had our Starbucks instant coffee, we started to pack up and get ready for the day's ride. Dan spread out the map on the ground and we started to plan our day.
Actually, Dan really did know where we were.
We made our way further up the hill to try to get to a place where Dan said the view was spectacular. Unfortunately, the trail had a few shady spots where the snow had yet to melt. We blasted through a couple of the snow banks but ulitmately it was more work than was worth it. We decided to make our way back down to Hwy 41o and grab a bite to eat at the Gold Creek Station. After a hearty breakfast, including a Bloody Mary or two, we swung our legs back over the bikes and headed up more of the forest service roads.
All loaded up and deciding if we want to plow through the snow or not.
Dan making his way through the snow drift. I seriously thought he was going to bite it and I wanted to get it on film.
At the Gold Creek Station.
Our plan was to find a good camping spot and drop off our gear so we could ride unencumbered for the day. We'd come back before dark to set up camp and all would be right with the world. It's amazing how things don't always go as planned.
The very muddy jeep trail.
The cooler in the back of this 4x4 was the source for our free lunchtime beverage.
Enjoying our beers.
One of the viewpoints.
The storm on the horizon.
A group of 4x4 enthusiasts at "Funny Rocks".
Not long after our stops at the various viewpoints overlooking Manastash Lake, we happened upon a place called "Funny Rocks". I had never heard of the place but I have to say it was pretty cool. Apparently it is a popular place for the rock climbers to go and basically drive up a rock wall with their 4-wheeled machines. It defintely was pretty cool looking. One thing that detracted from the coolness of the rocks, was the ominous looking skies above. It was getting distinctly darker and colder.
Dan enjoying dinner from a bag.
Loaded up and ready to head home.
The next morning we loaded up the bikes with our now dry items and basically rode straight back to Enumclaw non-stop. It took about an hour and a half to get to Dan's place but it was a scenic, and cold, ride over the pass.