Day 8: Tonasket, WA to Republic, WA

Evan Malinchock

Flexibility is an important skill to learn for anyone who aspires to attempt a high adventure trip. I am a very rigid-minded human who focuses on tangible goals, so when things don't go as planned I feel some small version of failure set in. Today was a wonderful exercise in flexibility as we got trapped by rain storms.

We woke up at different times and rolled out separately from the small town of Tonasket, Washington, with Brian leaving first followed by Wes, then myself. The first "task" of the day was to climb Wauconda Pass (pronounced like Wakanda from Black Panther). This pass was a weird mixture of short steep climbs and never-ending false flats in humid and hot conditions over 26 miles.

The scenery looked like something straight out of a western movie as we passed rolling ranges with exposed Rocky cliffs, tall pines doting the hills, and babbling creeks weaving in between the sagebrush along the road. After reaching the summit of the pass in the "ghost town" (or what's left of it), we all passed out on the side of the road. When we looked at the time, we realized that there was more than enough daylight to climb up Sherman Pass, our steepest, and most intimidating pass.

Top of Wauconda Pass

Top of Wauconda Pass

As we descended 15 miles on awful, weak, downhill-flats with strong headwinds, we reached the quiet town of Republic to be met by thunderhead clouds hanging over the ridge that Sherman Pass is situated on. Plans changed and now we're staying the night in the Republic Fairgrounds looking forward to yet another early morning wake-up and exhausting pass summit at the beginning of tomorrow. Though our plans and aspirations for the day have shifted, the optimism is still high as we completed a big day under tough circumstances!