On Sunday, I took my bike to Cle Elum, parked ‘downtown,’ and rode to the end of the pavement in Teanaway country. For a while, though, I thought I might have dozed off and wound up just outside Yosemite.
In a lot of ways, this was a new experience for me, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Truth be told, I’d barely heard of the Teanaway before, and a vague idea that it might be nice was about all I had to go on. The map showed a paved road that more or less followed the river, but I didn’t even know what it was called. I assumed I’d find out when I got there. Like the day before, the reality was much better than my wildest dreams.
For starters, I expected Cle Elum and the area around it to be like a town in Arizona: sun bleached, full of tumbleweeds, perhaps abandoned during the cowboy era… What I found waiting for me, was a lush and verdant, but sunny, paradise. This ride starts in farm and ranch country, but climbs into airy ponderosa pine forest, and, in the spring, lots of snow.
Heading north on highway 970 from Cle Elum.
I followed Cle Elum’s Main Street out of town, and took highway 970. This turned out to be unnecessary, as a string of back roads goes to the same place. But loops are nice. I knew there’d be a left turn, and hoped it would be labeled; it turns out that road I saw on the map is called Teanaway Road, appropriately enough. 😀 Once you turn off 970 onto Teanaway, the traffic stops, almost completely, and, slowly, the (already wonderful) views improve.
I felt very welcomed! Not knowing what I was getting myself into, I thought the plateau in the background might be the last snow I'd see on this ride. I was starting to regret bringing a wind breaker.
Now is a good time to mention that the photos get more spectacular as you scroll down. I’m posting them in the order I saw them, and the ride goes from idyllic farmland to spectacular mountain country. Continue reading