Our plan today was to ride from our motel in Randle, summit White Pass, and then to find a campground somewhere on the descent. Plans changed however when Carrie vomited.
Even though we left early the sun was out in full force. By the time we reached the beginning of the climb it was hot, our first real hot day since California. Our bodies had adjusted to the higher altitude and to the demands of cycling every day, but they weren’t prepared for heat.
Half way up the climb we got our first peak at Mount Rainier. Its snow capped peak towered over the landscape. Normally the peak is obscured by clouds, but today it was basking in the sun. As it basked we hid in the shade at the viewpoint to cool off.
About three quarters of the way up we stopped at another viewpoint to admire Rainier. As we were about to leave to make the last push up to the summit a woman popped out of her sedan and offered us cherries. How can you say no to cherries? We each grabbed a handful and thanked the woman. They were Rainier cherries, fitting for the location, and they were plump and juicy and just what we needed to fuel us to the top.
We arrived at the summit hot and exhausted. Lucky for us there was a gas station with a little cafe. We chugged some iced teas and stuffed our faces with potato chips, a junk food victory celebration.
But the celebrating didn’t last long. Carrie started feeling ill. She has a history of getting migraine headaches when she over exerts herself. Instead of continuing down the road we decided it’d be best to stay at the ski lodge next to the gas station. As I inquired about a room Carrie’s body rejected the chips.
It turned out to be a tough day. But we did get to meet Rainier, so it wasn’t all bad.