Crossing in to the final state of our trip, Washington, it proceeded to get more & more grey as misty clouds descended down the hills as we drove northeast towards Mt St Helens. Washington, well this part anyway, was a bit more down in the tooth than any parts of the country we’d been through in a while – just older, less maintained houses with plenty of rusting pickups lying around. My great idea of a ride was looking more & more damp as we pulled in to the Forestry Service HQ – their webcam of the volcano was just a screen of grey.
The road continued east along the top edge of Swift Reservoir before crossing the Lewis River just as it entered the lake.
Closer inspection of the GPS trail showed that I could cut the 33 km loop in half by getting Valerie to shuttle me up the road to the Lower Falls. We lunched in the very dark & tree-lined parking lot before heading out to check out the falls. Once again, the river was high & the falls were interesting as the drop curved around to be mostly parallel with the overall flow of the water.
Still rather chilly, I had to put on all my long-sleeved riding clothes before heading down the trail. The river only had a gentle drop along the length I was riding & it didn’t really feel like I did an overly large amount of downhill. In fact, there was quite a bit of climbing amongst all the moss, trees & ferns. It was nice to have decent bridges that didn’t require dismounting, although some were a little slippery in the damp. Annoyingly, the dogbone on my bike snapped early on so I had to do most of the ride with my bottom bracket (& therefore, pedals) floating around. [This part has been quite difficult to find a replacement for, I may have a bodge job that will do the trick for Canada.] There were occasional pretty glimpses of the river & creeks flowing in to it. The short pinch climbs kept coming, but I was soon meeting Valerie at the pick-up point.
This bridge wasn’t so great, showing the signs of such a damp climate.
It was very well-timed on our part that the road along the east side of the mountain was opened the day before our visit. We got a few glimpses of Mt St Helens & the reemerging forest along the drive in to Seattle.