Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mt. Constitution

> Having spent another night shivvering in the tent, we decided to
> head for warmer climes on Orcas Island, just north of Lopez island
> where we spent the night. I'd heard of a climb on the island and
> decided that gaining some altitude should afford some spectacular
> views of the surrounding straits. Leaving Charles behind at the
> hotel with his "allergies", which meant that he could barely open
> his eyes (I think he was just squinting a lot) I left for the
> mountain. Orcas is a horseshoe shaped island and the fittingly named
> horsehoe highway transported me and my bike the 16 hilly miles to
> the base of Mt. Constitution. The climb begins at sea level next to
> a sheltered cove, and then proceeds to switchback 6 miles up the
> side of the hill with an average grade of 8.5%. The Internet has
> since assured me that the maximum is only 12%, but I would swear
> that some hack came up with that number, which in truth should be
> somewhere around 20%. Either way, switchback after switchback it was
> determined that my constitution is not in fact the gentle, soft-
> spoken soul that you all know me as, but instead some crazed lunatic
> with a penchant for four letter words and hurling insults at
> inanimate objects. After a "photography" break I encountered the
> summit (which they made you work extra hard for) and was greeted by
> a spectacular 360degree panorama of the San Juan islands, Olympic
> peninsula, and Vancouver island. My pictures do not do it justice,
> but if you find yourself in the area, it's well worth a look. Better
> yet, take a bike and actually earn it. Having spent too long eating
> mike and ikes and clif bars on the summit, I promptly erased an hour
> of climbing with a 12 minute descent. A tired ride back to the hotel
> earned me Charles, in his boxer shorts.
> Sent from my iPhone

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