'In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks'
So says John Muir, and he's not wrong - my last few weeks have been spent in cahoots with the delights of the wilds and I cannot say I am unaffected.
I left Portland on a dreary Sunday morning, feeling like I'd had too much beer and not enough sleep. I actually didn't have very much beer at all, but because I indulge so rarely in anything with alcoholic content these days it hits my cycling-specific system a little harder than perhaps it should. And three hours sleep never did anyone any good. But I'd had a blast in Portland and experimented with a regular lifestyle for a day or two, so the trade off was fair.
An extract from my journal from some of the areas I wasn't able to blog about at the time. Today - The ride up the Big Horn Mountains
"Matt, Andy, Morgan and I slept longer and better than usual, and upon waking took our time over breakfast. This was not a day to be underfed or sleep deprived. We'd been warned about the ride over Powder Pass in the Big Horn mountains ever since we entered the state of Wyoming, and now as we camped at the base we finally began to believe the hype. The road wound north west through the low tree cover and disappeared into the folds of the mountain. The earth looked deformed; rising so suddenly and dramatically that the trees grew at bizzare right angles out of the side. Never before have I had such an imposing backdrop to my egg sandwiches and oatmeal! We'd made the decision to eat as much as we possibly could without bursting in order to power us up the climb, and it was a task we all took very seriously. Consumption took well over an hour, and digestion the same again. Sometimes eating is my favourite thing.
I did it! I finally made it out of Seattle, and escaped the grip of having a cosy house and warm bed to stay in. After the unplanned extra days off, I was punished by one of the worst weather fronts of my entire trip. It rained hard, and it rained long. All day I pedalled through a heavy, thick downpour. To begin with I was a little perturbed, but within minutes I was so wet that I literally couldn't get any more so without becoming a liquid myself, so I just got used to it. And once you're past that stage it's all good. I began to enjoy cycling alongside Lake Union, watching the rain bounce off the surface and gradually add to the water level until it climbed dangerously close to the road.