Poked way too many times

Way back in the ’80s before mountain biking really consumed me I was a mountaineer and back country telemarker. I moved to Spokane and the continental snow pack that didn’t corn up like the Cascades which shorted out my spring skiing. I still backpacked 1 week solo trips. I missed spending entire days in the back country. Mountain biking trails open for bikes gives us riders a glimpse of what is out there. We ride, pedal out to our rigs, maybe drink a beer, then head back to lots of people and pavement. I miss spending nights out and hiking where bikes can’t go and at a slower less attention demanding pace.

Hence a 4 mile out and back overnight at Sister Mirror Lake in 3 Sisters Wilderness. Monday I got my backpacking stuff together. I took over a grass patch in a shopping center parking lot setting up my tent, blowing up the air mattress, and cleaned and started the Whisperlite stove. Enough dried food things, some I forgot what they were went into my food bag. Yesterday morning I parked at almost empty small lot and got it on. Laced up above ankle hiking boots and slung my pack on my back. Two years ago I made this my first backpack trip of the shoulder recovery year. Took about 1 1/2 hours to hike to the lake basin. Trail is thru hemlocks blocking any views and most of the sun. Mosquitoes attacked in manageable numbers on my shorts and short sleeve covered body. As I drew closer to the lakes basin the numbers increased.

I pushed to camp spot on a bluff above the lake believing that being above would escape being a part of creating the next batch of suckers. Not so. I dropped my pack and dug out my rain parka and pants. My hands were full not able to even shoo the suckers away. The rain pants are too narrow to fit over boots meaning I had to sit down and unlace each boot, slip on the pants then relace. All the while being fodder. Covered except my face I walked around the lakes basin. I encountered 3 male thru hikers. One said that the snow in the Sierras nixed their thru route causing them to drop off and head north for less snow. One guy had a great head net. Back in ’15 a drought dried up the mosquito nurseries, this year, with bodacious snow cover, the beds were back nurturing a bountiful crop. I sought relief inside my tent. Dinner was a quick affair then back inside. My tent is essentially a mesh tent attached to a coated fabric material rain cover. Every time I zipped open a door to leave then zip shut after crawling out then reverse the process getting back in. A new population flew in. Once the screen door zipped shut I began shortening the lives of the insiders.

so close so far away… on their side of netting

My sleeping bag is a Feathered Friends down comforter and I used it as such. Worked out OK. Didn’t sleep well. I started up about sunrise hoping that the chilly temp would keep them grounded. Way wrong. Seemed like there were even more. Breakfast was a hurry up affair. I packed up my dew wetted tent and the rest of the stuff just stuffed into the pack then headed out wearing rain gear. I walked thru frosted grasses on the lake shore and the snow patches were frozen solid. Yesterday hiking in 4 guys hiking out were dressed the same way. Just nasty. My back stiffened up like it did last year. What’s up with that? what exercise and / or stretch am I missing. Back at my van hardly a mosquito was seen or felt.

My original plan was to ride South fork today as I am already up high. I am curious to the growth phase of the ceanothus moths. But my back said no. I drove to MT Bachelor parking lot parking on pavement. I unpacked my stuff and dried everything in the bright sunshine and low humidity. Everything ready for another go. Sucking on 4G all bar speed.

Local knowledge says don’t wide Waldo Lake until at a minimum end of July. Prolly holds true for here also. Back in ’78 when I was hiking the PCT I passed thru here about August 13th and the start of the wet summer. Rain kept the count down.

Yesterday marked the start of the 10th year of my odyssey. Nine years doing what I want. No closer to a house build date.

Stick your nose in, it smells of vanilla

Ponderosa pine that is. What were you thinking?

Dry side tree cover. Try it, forget what your buddies say about your nose stuck in the bark.

Steve scored an empty FS XG camp spot at McKenzie Bridge XG. Still under heavy wet side wetness for big tree cover. Plan on Fri is to do our own shuttle of McKenzie River Trail (MRT). My van was parked at the FS ranger station. Steve shuttled us up to Fish Lake, the top of the MRT. We hung our solar showers on the back of his van. Broken glass in the parking lot yet a sign warning of video surveillance. Steve left a beer in my fridge before leaving. He told me I am a bad influence drinking an adult recovery drink.

This is my 4th ride on the MRT, and the last. Trail down to Blue Pool has dozens of hikers seeking the natural wonder. Many feet have displaced the dirt between the basalt rocks turning into what was a one place only walk to many many others. Nasty riding walking in volcanic left overs.

blue pool

Several skim cut logs with one hand rail bridges crossed feeder creeks. Rear wheel wheelie or carry it.

Trail flattened out becoming a forest dirt track. We bailed seeking the expedient pavement surface. Head wind. We took turns pulling the other back to the RS. Loaded Steve and his bike into my van then drove the 20 miles uphill to his van and sun heated solar shower water. Steve turned the AC controls on for the way up. Maybe it works, perhaps it doesn’t. I asked him to turn it off once we reached his van. I live in the outdoors, by leaving my windows down I am experiencing what I will be playing in.

Deep tree cover


We stopped at a pub in McKenzie Bridge for a beer and dinner. Farm raised salmon, we settled for my one skillet dinner back at XG.

Steve’s dad was experiencing threatening conditions keeping Steve on nerves. Sat we had shuttle arrangements with Horse Creek Lodge to ride O’Leary. I did not sleep well Sat AM as I heard movement in his van at like 6:00. He said his dad is of serious concern such that he needed to head to MT. We bid adieu after 7 days of riding, trails that I shared with Steve.

I drove to shuttle pick up right on highway. The other riders were Al and Deb who we camped near back outside of Bend. They ahve been playing for some 20 years sailing then RVing. Shuttle ride up to Horse Pasture Meadow took lots of minutes. A black bear yearling scampered across the logging road ahead of us. (Bear story for the year, more are extra). Big out there ride, go big or keep pedaling.

Al and Deb on O’Leary

I rode this ride back in 2013, my memory recalled some nasty stuff. Some existed by much has been updated to new bermed turns. What I also remember was the dry masonry rock work built by the CCC back in late 30s. Still holding bench cut trail in place.

CCC still creating partial bench trail

Then the trail bore modernization. Gone was the woods dirt CCC built tread, replaced by amazing amount of hand work to make the trail (what). Bitch about change of legacy trail. Modernization makes it just like say Back 40 outside of Bentonville, AR. New work eliminated the over the rear wheel descents. Sadness really set in when riding King Castle descent which used to be old woods trail, replaced in parts by bermed corners. Tell me of bermed hiking trails you have walked. 16.46 miles climbing 2005′ descending 5430′, pedaling time of 2 hrs 18 mins.

I visited with the co owner of Horse Creek. She asked how was my ride. I dissed the reworked stuff. She said the trail showed signs of increased wear. She wrote a grant for $ to rework the trail to new FS requirements. Bermed corners. It is what it is. I wasn’t part of the decision making.

The shop displayed this bike for their location.

close to what I rode and raced back in 1986

Non indexed shifting. 3X5 gearing. Scary but state of the art.

I spent the night at the local airport.

Sunday I drove over Santiam Pass heading east against the weekend traffic heading back to city jobs. I stopped in Sisters to ride Petersen ridge trail network. Up on the west back down on the east. Lots of turning on sort of firm pumice. I worked the carving of turns and working hard at pedaling, dropping cogs for more gusto. Worked the stuff.

Drove on to Bend. Shower, groceries, then beer and dinner at 10 Barrel.

As mtn bikers we just ride the trails then we move back to some kind of creature comfort. We just pass thru. I was an avid backpacker which allowed me to spend 24X7 in nature. I hanker for spending time out walking. My choices in life resulted in several permanent injuries. For hiking the biggest is left foot damage which causes a limp. I will backpack a short mileage distance tomorrow to Sisters Mirror lake, enough of a forest hike, spend the night out then hike back.

Corn and flower have taken effect.

Good Bye.

Wheels still going around

Steve and I traveled to Oakridge on Sat stopping for short visit in town then drove up river, the Middle Fork of the Willamette parking at Campers Flat then riding in his Dodge van he is home converting to Paddys Meadow for a shuttle then descent of the river back to Campers Flat. Mosquitoes are just hideous. Upper section of trail called for skillful crossing of parts of trees plugging the trail. This one I experienced last year which went way above just blocking the trail. It fell at the switchback and the trail below the switchback. Only way to cross was to lift the bike to a rider on top of log then hand it down. Creative clearance solution as the tree is too big for FS issue chainsaws.

middle fork tree solution, previous ride crawled up and over then down

My body does not react to mosquito “bites” from her sucking mouth part. There are many bloody splotches in my van from a squished bugger, my blood in her abdomen. Steve welts up adding to itching.

Spent the night at Campers.

Tuesday we left in time to make the Cog Wild shuttle for ATCA. Olivia at the Merch applied her feminine touch fixing my shifting issue. Van shuttle to Kate’s cutin. First part of trail is a short climb up Kate’s that Derrick and I built several years ago. Climb up to Sourgrass mtn and a meadow of blooming bear grass. Next week prolly and the meadow will be covered in white blossoms. Down the way the trail crosses a meadow for way out views.

from Alpine,

Then on to Tire mtn trail

Tire mtn trail

Tire mtn drops down into old growth forest, old growth because it has never been logged and I hope it remains that way. Massive trees, climax ecosystem.

bridge on tire massive tree fall

Joined Cloverpatch trail for grown up left over trees form first cut, up then a final down to the resource extraction road. Payback for our fun was about to lay its crushing hand on my body for the climb out. Starts out on descent on single lane gravel road. Steve and I coasted raced. My rear tire kicks up gravel which kept him off my tail. Rd 130 starts the climb. I thank the persons who cut out the blocking trees. This ride I rode the entire road w/o stopping albeit in granny. The climb up the newly built single track climb linking 2 logging roads is purpose built and under tree shade. Well built. Single track connects with more gravel taking us to Buckhead Shelter. Big climbing is over. Mostly downhill on Alpine to Red Bridge finish. Trails are becoming dusty and have noticeable amount of poor riding wear. The front brake is the more powerful stopper, use it when you need to slow down and the rear brake gently which will not create brake stutter bumps right before corners. Corners were blown out. Big effort for just 23.42 miles pedaling for 3 hrs 22 mins climbing 3704′ but rewarding and punishing 6995′ descent.

Solar shower in the toilet stall of the park restroom. Socializing at the Pub. Visited with local Kathy learning some back stories. Camped at Dead Mtn trailhead.

Worked yesterday, recovered overnight, big eyes for riding Heckletooth. Local Jim has ridden this route several times short of 200 times. Steve has a van, I have a van, miles of pavement, shuttle friendly. We parked his van down low, loaded him and his bike into my van then drove the pavement to the bridge crossing Salmon creek and rd 2408 start. Just a pleasant grunt uphill as mosquitoes drained life blood from us. Nasty. Road climb to access the dirt. Tops out on top of Heckletooth, site of past USFS fire lookout.

Downward hike a bike

Some nasty shit in there.

Trail drops down Dunning road which is paved, curvy, and some places steep. Again another coasting race. I ride a 27.5 wheel and Steve rides a 29, both have I9 hubs and big tires. Steve is taller than me and close to my weight. I stayed ahead of him. He said he would suck my wheel then slip out attempting to pass me. He said that as soon as he hit the fresh air he lost speed. Side lugs hold well under hard lean on pavement. Max speed 32.5.

Beer and dinner at the Pub which became very busy. Early arrivals for MBO.

While still in Bend Steve and I did researching to learn that MBO is here this weekend which brings in maybe 350 riders for 3 days of shuttle riding. Our original plan was to ride here this weekend. Wise choice to enjoy a less crowded experience.

Spent 2 nights at Dead mtn TH.

Today is a rest day. Clean clothes, 6 days of riding duds drying inside my van. Soon I will drive over to McKenzie Bridge  on namesake river for 2 nights. Tomorrow Steve and I will shuttle the river trail then the big day on Sat of Oleary.

I grouse at to me unacceptable riding behavior. Steve nailed it when he called us elder statesmen. Be nice to the trails. Riding locations that gain bucket list status attract riders who add their wear to the trails. Who maintains those trails: Locals. Are you as a local to your riding area a trail volunteer? You visit another’s back yard and leave. Are you taking care of trails in your own backyard for the enjoyment of riders who found your goods?