Exploring Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Back to Civilization and Home

It was 6:30 pm when I started the return trip and I would have done close to 70 miles (112 kms) since I last filled up at Cougar. Randle, WA from where I took the turn to enter Gifford Pinchot National Forest is about another 33 miles (53 kms) from Takhlakh lake which meant I still had plenty of fuel left. But there was still a lingering worry as I was not sure if riding inside the forest had impacted the fuel economy in any way because of the constant stops and slow riding I had been doing.

As the sun started to set, there was no sign of paved road

As the sun set, I kept riding down on those empty gravel roads with no sign of proper road in sight. After about an hour just as the sun went completely down, I managed to get on paved roads again. Since it was dark, I kept a slow pace as it was a forest road and I tried to be careful about any sudden change in road conditions and kept an eye out for any wild animals. 

Paved roads at last. The road is still not very good. So I take it slow and ride carefully

Around 7:45 pm, just as my fuel reserve lights were starting to blink when braking, I reached Randle and found the gas station I had filled up at earlier that day. I was relieved to be able to fuel up again and to be back on familiar roads. My initial plan was to ride back via Packwood, Greenwater etc which would have been a different route compared to what I took to reach here that morning, but I decided against it as it was already dark and I was famished. I didn’t have any meal that day except the coffee early morning and after the excitement got over, the hunger struck.

Back in Civilization and found a gas station in time!

After filling up, I decided to head to Elbe for dinner at my favorite place – Mt Rainier Railroad Dining Co. After stuffing myself on hot chocolate and a heavy dinner, I started from here at around 9 in the night. 

At Mt Rainier Railroad Dining Co. Time to stuff myself to the brim

After another 2 hours of continuous riding later, I reached home safely by around 11:30 in the night, after completing close to 460 miles (740 kms) in a day. And by then, I was in love with Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

Back home after 457 miles. Time for a well deserved rest

Closing thoughts : The next time I do this trip will be mostly by car as I want to spend some more time taking pictures without having to worry about time. I have two trips planned – One Sunrise at Takhlakh lake and two – early morning at Lower Lewis Falls. I’m definitely going to get down to the base of the waterfalls next time.

See you soon with another post!

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