I cycled to Cascade Locks from Portland with ten others. The 45-mile ride winds through the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, and the last ten miles leading into Cascade Locks are on a multi-use path. The destination of our tour was the PCT Trail Days festival, an event for the thru hikers of the Pacific Crest Trail.
My friends Dan Hynes and David Lipps launched Thunder Island Brewing Co., a biker-hiker oriented brewery. Weary hikers and cyclists lined up to enjoy the craft beer while enjoying the vendors.
Cycle touring is a relatively new sport for me, but I’m hooked. I like the focus on the journey itself. I like the gratifying feeling of getting off your bike after an exhausting but exhilarating ride, knowing that you propelled yourself with your own grit and resolve.
I’m reminded of travel writer Paul Theroux’s essay in Fresh Air Fiend. Regarding his two-day sea kayaking adventure to Nantucket, he writes,
I had the sense of having discovered Nantucket in my own way and, through dead reckoning, had discovered something in myself. That to me is the essence of the travel experience. Is there any point in going across the world to eat something or buy something or watch people squatting among their ruins? Travel is a state of mind. It has nothing to do with distance or the exotic. It is almost entirely an inner experience. My particular way of getting to Nantucket — alone, almost blindly over water — seemed to transform the destination. The Nantucket I had arrived at was a different place from the Nantucket of the ferry passenger, and I was different, too — happier, for one thing. The trip had done what all trips ought to do. It had given me heart.
(Photo credits: Group shot & Gorge landscape by Jesse Boudart | Campsite shot by Adam Moore)