So there we were, happy toodling our way through Fidalgo Island, Paula muttering to herself about how lousy her legs were feeling. Nothing was clicking. Good day to take it easy, enjoy the sights, relax.
Hey! There’s a sign that says something about “Mount Erie” and “lookout.” Sounds pretty! Let’s go see!! … said Paula, wanting nothing more than to take some pretty pictures on this easy ride day.
And so began our accidental ascent of Mount Erie: 1.5 miles of grueling gradient, rising 807 to 878 feet, topping 20 percent at times and often hovering around 15 or 16 percent. The kind of climb that the poor climbers among us (and many of the good ones) plan for and look forward to (in that weird way that we have) and, perhaps, get a little freaked out about beforehand. NOT the kind of climb you’re supposed to do in an unplanned, sightseeing sort of way … though in the end, perhaps that really is the best way.
Seeing as how Paula is climbingly challenged, she’d never done a climb remotely like this. While her NYCC friends were merrily (or not so merrily) skipping up Devil’s Kitchen and Vista Maria, she’d take lower, longer way around. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to climb. It was simply that … well, falling off a bike mid-climb because you can’t turn the wheels around seems inadvisable.
And now here she is on this killer climb, thinking: “That view at the top had damn well better be worth it!”
And she survived. Basically. OK, there was one brief ambulatory episode, near the top, when the legs and lungs collapsed simultaneously. But this still counts as a victory.
Timothy, of course, sailed up the thing.
As for the view. You be the judge.