After four days of big city life it was time to head into the wild again. Not only were we getting wild, it was time to get wet too. That’s right wild and wet, for we were crossing the Cascade range.
The day’s route profile looked like a big ant hill. We’d go up about 2,500 feet over the Santiam Pass and then down about 3,500 feet to Detroit, the other, woodsy Detroit.
The ride started off pleasant. It was sunny and we caught actual glimpses of the Sisters peaks. Then we connected with Highway 20 and the pleasantness ended. Although the shoulder was about bike lane width it was not wide enough to give us comfortable separation from the high volume of traffic speeding past.
As we neared the top of the pass we had to pull over to put on all of our warm layers. Carrie even slipped her extra pair of socks over her hands to make mittens. The temperature was just warm enough for us to get rain instead of snow and the wind coming over the ridge was icy cold and all up in our face. The conditions reminded us of our most challenging day in Iceland.
As soon as we picked up speed on the descent our hands and feet started tingling. It hurt to squeeze the brakes. We had to pull over at the junction to Highway 22 in order to get out of the wind and thaw out for a bit.
Once we switched to Highway 22 things improved. We had already dropped at least 1,000 feet in elevation. The temperature warmed and the wind got caught in the denser foliage along the roadside. The Douglas firs and red cedars towered over us. The ferns and vine maples covered the forest floor. We made it to the west side of the Cascades, from the high desert to the lush forest.
We camped next to the full North Santiam River in a Forest Service campground. We were wet and wild once again.