After the embarrassing and taxing bike drop this morning I decide that before taking the Skyline Trail from the Paradise Inn to the colorful sub alpine meadows of Rainier I’d grab a snack in the lodge. I sit down at a picnic bench of massive cedar with my sandwich, chips and Arnie Palmer. The people watching is astounding. An elderly threesome exchange camera so each can be photographed in a grand chair at the foot of another massive cedar table. A woman and her sister fail to get her husband’s attention off the crossword puzzle. Without looking at the woman he says, “I’ve got to finish this.” The woman confused, look at each other and say “Let us know if you need any help with that,” and walk out the door up the trail. A cute Asian family try furiously to use their cell phones and an elderly man wearing a tattered single button blazer, his hair matter from sweat, heaves a leather bag filled with papers on my table and asks if he can sit there. “I’ve got to write a quick postcard,” he says as his finger crooked from arthritis moves the massive flesh back and forth on his nose and sniffles. “Thanks.” The temperature is rising. I grab my tripod and backpack and head up the trail. The Aerostich Combat Boots are great for riding. But combined with the weight of my riding pants and its armor walking the steep incline is tiring and slow. But I’m in now hurry so I keep a slow but steady pace. Exploring the world and its natural and cultural wonders is fine from the seat of a motorcycle. And even a dual-sport such as the BMW F650GS Dakar will get you off the paved roads, it’s important to get off the bike and hike. Though I should’ve prepared for this the bike drop incident this morning threw me off and I just need to get back into rhythm.
Leaving Paradise might be difficult, but taking a trip to Sunrise is easy. Rising 3,000 feet in less than 15 miles I venture to the northeastern side of Mount Ranier where I gaze over meadows to glaciers and rocky peaks – one named Gilbralter is easy to see how it earned its name. I’m off to Enumclaw where I hope to find an inexpensive hotel to shower and get my groove back.