Infected with National Park fever we left Seattle forgoing the route south to Portland with an alternative route headed into the mountains. Not just any mountain, our goal was to gaze upon Mount Rainier. The highest in Washington.
Climbing from sea level, we ran quickly from the chaos of Seattle’s urban sprawl. The “new” west coast: Coffee. Traffic. Homelessness. Washed in green and built of über-trendy shipping containers Starbucks tries to remain competitive in the land of endless coffee. Rush hour traffic is complicated by detours. Detours for cars. Detours for bikes. Equal opportunity confusion. Insulated in the bubble of exploration we barely noticed the immense issues present in west coast cities. Homelessness. New tech-wealth has pushed the word affordable far from the cities. Unsure of where he was going we watched in fascination at the methodically inefficient train of wagons crawling down the street.
Back in the comfort of rural America where nature dominates and development is sparse we found space to rest on a former railroad line. We were in the company of the productivity of summer. Snails out on feasting adventures, blackberries on every bush, and busts of blooming color everywhere.
A handful of miles from last nights camp, trees were executed with reckless abandon as profits flowed at mother nature’s expense. History hides under the camouflage of moss, while mother nature wages her own war on abandoned machines.
Elbe was a town in name, but lacking in amenities. The Hobo Inn was a big hit with its railroad cars for rooms. Continuing into the Cascades we happened upon an exhibit in “The Spirit of Iron”. After some art and much relaxing at Basecamp Rainier we continued into mountains passing attractive side roads we reached our next park and a border between conservation and preservation.
Gifford Pinchot’s legacy includes the National Forests for the profitable use and maximum benefit of mankind. Thanks to this conservation for profit and eschewing preservation for the sake of wilderness school of thought; we endured a day of riding through second growth cut forests, logging ventures, and the speed driven trucks hauling executed trees for processing.