Hunter 7: Ryan Wilson

I started riding for the same reasons many people do, primarily to get from A to B. It didn't take long for me to realize that the time spent between A and B was what kept me going. Riding gave me an entirely new vantage point on the places that surrounded me. Soon, I was seeking out every mountain pass, forest service road, and obscure trail I could find.

During July of 2014, I set out on a 15-day trip across Northern California, Oregon, and Washington to explore new terrain. Starting in the Northern Sierra Nevada mountains, I continued through the volcanic peaks of the Cascade range, then on to Olympic National Park, and the steep, empty roads of the Lost Cost. The trip concluded with one of the most challenging rides of my life, along the highest road in the continental US, climbing White Mountain (14,252ft) in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.

Many moments stand out in my memory, but none quite like the rarely traveled Hart’s Pass in North Cascade National Park of Northern Washington--a 25 mile gravel climb to the highest road in Washington. Unable to find a lot of information about riding this road, I was left with only a handful of photos that would become my guide. These photos convinced me to take a chance on my skinny tire road bike. While the bike wasn't ideal for the rocky, rough dirt road (I payed for it with gashed tires on the descent), the experience of being on one of the most isolated mountain passes in the Pacific Northwest as the sun set made it worth every moment (and replacement tires).

The Hunter Project photos here are my reward for turning over the pedals hour after hour, day after day with the road aimed through the trees, towards the sky. To me, this experience is proof that there is no better way to explore than on a bike. In those 15 days, only the bike could have let me feel every peak and valley of the terrain. It is the experiences like rounding seemingly endless climbing curves, each pedal stroke offering a different perspective, that push me to seek new roads. To hunt.

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