Starting up the road to Harts Pass out of Mazama, WA. This road eventually gets to 7,488 ft making it the highest road in Washington State. Not high by Colorado standards, but plenty high.
Harts Pass is also a "back way" into Whatcom County, where
Bellingham is. The only way to get there, by road, is from Okanogan
County. The road dead ends just inside the Whatcom County line near
the top of the divide.
Felt like I was on top of the world. A ranger pulled
up beside me, in his truck, and explained that he didn't want to ruin
all the work I had done to get to this point by telling me that the road
was closed. He said, "go on to the top, I think you will be okay."
"After you started, many hours ago, we had to close the road back down
at the bottom of the hill because there is a big forest fire we are fighting."
The fire was on the Canadian side of the border, but they were fueling
some smoke jumping helicopters in the meadow. The ranger said, "you
will be okay and we don't want to ruin your trip, but don't be surprised
if you pass a road closed sign on your way down." I continued.
At Slate Peak lookout, I felt like I had "gotten there."
It was time to go back before something bad might happen. Actually,
everything was okay, but it felt sort of spooky and a long ways from civilization.
It was a lonely feeling place. I rode back down the long road and
was eventually back in a pizza parlor in Winthrop. People, food, music
and the campground not far away felt like being home again.
Finally, in the alien world at the top. I decided to eat an apple, but the wind whipped up and blew the apple right out of my hand. The apple went rolling down into a valley.
There was the big spooky fire, off in the distance.