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Uphill and Against the Wind - TransAm E-W
By Dave T

Day 79: Sisters to Blue River - McKenzie Pass

Sunday August 3, 1986, 54 miles (87 km) - Total so far: 4,189 miles (6,742 km)

McKenzie Pass 5,324'

Coast Countdown - 2 Days

The night was warm and I slept well. I packed up, ate and was rolling by 8am. I'd like to stay another day and hang out with Gayle but I'm ready to get to the coast. Today McKenzie Pass is on the menu, a climb up to 5,324'.

The climb to the pass was gradual and easy, by which I was surprised. I rode through the lava river and vast lava fields before reaching the observatory at the pass. There is lava fields that stretch in every direction, some as far as you can see, it's quite a sight. I met some people at the observatory and they asked me all the usual questions. They couldn't believe I rode all the way from Yorktown Virginia. I hung out at the observatory for an hour or so just soaking up the scenery. I've never seen anything like these lava fields before.

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riding to the top of McKenzie Pass

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Looking south towards the 3 sisters

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Mt Washington

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The observatory at the top of McKenzie Pass

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Looks like Kona? Very similar to aa (pronounced ah-ah) lava in Hawaii. If you've ever tried walking on aa lava, you'd go ah ah ah ah.... because it would tear your feet to shreds in about 1/8 mile. (I know, believe me)

To the south I could see the 3 sisters, they are 3 dormant volcanoes all over 10,000 feet from sea level. To the north I could see Mt. Washington, Mt. Hood and Mt Jefferson. The Pacific Crest Trail also crossed the TA at McKenzie Pass.

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The downhill side of McKenzie headed west

McKenzie Pass was the last major mountain pass of the Trans America Trail. The trip is fast coming to an end. So many miles traveled, it's still hard to believe I will be on the coast in 2 days. I guess, like all great things, it must come to an end sooner or later. The post trip blues are already starting to set in. I made so many good friends on this trip, and I'm afraid I'll probably never see any of them ever again.

[Author's Note:] - I remember this day very well, I remember the feeling I had getting closer and closer to the Pacific Ocean. I was stuck in my own personal Hell, because getting to the Pacific meant the trip would end soon. It's really hard to explain that feeling.

Speaking of Hawaii, enjoy a few pics from 2005...

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Speaking of Kona, me in 2005. Anyone know the actual location?

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Hawaii Volcanos NP, 2005

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Me and Sean, drinking the rail in Kona.

(Sean, this one's for you buddy)


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