Author Topic: Olympia to White Pass on a glorious fall day  (Read 372 times)

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Offline Salish14

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Olympia to White Pass on a glorious fall day
« on: November 05, 2019, 11:49:33 pm »
On Sunday I took advantage of the enduring sunny fall weather we are getting here in the Pacific Northwest and headed out to see what my wife told me were some spectacular sights along Hwy 12 up near the White Pass ski area. The mornings here have been chilly, but each day has warmed up nicely into the mid 50's. This fall has been the nicest I can recall around here, and the pleasant weather has been matched with an extraordinary outburst of fall colors in the trees.

So I headed out for a little trip on this Sunday hoping to see larches up near the pass, which are among my favorite trees for color, and because they only grow in the alpine zone and are a rare deciduous conifer. The route I took was slab down I5 to Hwy 12. As slab goes, this is not a bad stretch of I5 and it goes quickly. Hwy 12 is a bucolic in all ways. It is a state designated scenic byway as well. The total distance from Olympia to the pass is about 120 miles, and it takes a bit more than two hours. The road is worth commenting upon. It is an incredibly well made and well maintained stretch of asphalt. The entire length of the road up to the pass, except of the last mile or so, is as smooth as butter and all the corners are smooth and well structured. Well done WADOT!

The road gets a little rough when you get up near the pass because the damn substrate is crumbling rock and you are at near 4,500 feet. That is low by West Coast standards, but high for WA in terms of snow and weather. There are plenty of towns and villages along the way if you are inclined to stop for refreshments. Packwood is especially oriented to tourists and has about everything you could need, including a NAPA parts store. You enter forest service land a bit further on, and it's just beautiful. Old  big trees line the road, and you begin getting sights of the Goat Rocks Wilderness, and distant Mt. Adams. Mt. Rainier is right behind you, and you get glorious views of it on the return trip.

Anyway, up at the pass I dropped down the back side to Dog Lake where there were indeed larches. They had already dropped their needles, but the yellow carpet they produced was itself a kind of magic. I stretched my legs, gave thanks to the mountain gods, and hopped back in the saddle for the trip home. There must have been a good temperature inversion because it was as warm or warmer at 4,500 as it was down at sea level.
Most locals know this ride, but if you are visiting or new to riding, I would highly recommend it.
We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.

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Offline ZXtasy

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Re: Olympia to White Pass on a glorious fall day
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2019, 12:34:35 am »
Niiiice.
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Offline robertv

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Re: Olympia to White Pass on a glorious fall day
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2019, 02:55:33 am »
Wow great report and idea! Hoping to take advantage of these remaining cold mornings then sunny clear and warm afternoons. Since i missed doing Sunrise this year, going to head over 410 to Naches if its still clear then head back over to 12 and 123 for a loop. Thanks for sharing!

I did a similar scenic mtn ride end of summer before we got that late blast of rain/snow/rain up to Hurricane Ridge. That was a glorious fun ride! So glad we live in a majestic state with these roads and views.  :great:
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Offline Nickrides

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Re: Olympia to White Pass on a glorious fall day
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2019, 09:34:26 pm »
Salish
What kind of seat is that on your bike?

Offline konehead

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Re: Olympia to White Pass on a glorious fall day
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2019, 09:19:58 pm »
Looks like a corbin 2 piece....

Offline Salish14

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Re: Olympia to White Pass on a glorious fall day
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2019, 12:13:02 am »
You're welcome folks. It's not often we regret getting on our bikes and heading out, so my default position is just to go. Don't have a mental debate, just go.

Yes, the seat is a two piece Corbin with a synthetic fabric. Old as dirt, hard as a rock, came with bike. Least favorite part of bike.
We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.

2008 ABS Silver with 30,000 and counting