Saturday, March 14, 2020

2109 Summary- The Ski Report

OK, so it's been a spell since I posted. I suppose my original idea of blogging about all adventures was taken over by Instagram Stories and the old school social media, Facebook. 2019 started on skis, and really all the best parts of the winter involved skiing (or something like it.)

It all started with the welcoming of 2019. Sue, Julie, and I, along with three others spent the New Year's weekend on a Nordic hut to hut tour through Sister's Backcountry. I highly recommend this.


Later in the winter, I shared a story from last year's OTT adventure at a Boldly Went live show. It is going to be on their podcast later this summer. At the show, I won a raffle prize of an entry to a ski mountaineering (skimo) race. My goodness, that was a hard day, but quite satisfying. I got 3rd out of 5 ladies, so that was rad.  I think I will do another one next year because pushing your legs and lungs to the edge is a good reminder that you are in your mid 40s, but still rocking with the kids.

Then on a Wednesday in May, Jocelyn texted me, "Do you want to climb Adams on Saturday? Camp at trailhead. Alpine Start." I responded "Sure" and then spend 3 days half dreading the 6 mile uphill walk , but so excited to finally climb Mt. Adams. It was hard. Super duper hard, but very rewarding. We did not summit, with skis and heavy packs, but I can see that happening later this summer.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

2 Months Later... What Still Amazes Me

I'm still amazed that my body let me do this for 2 weeks straight. There were few times on the route that I was really tired and the pace kept everything manageable. I want to finish the Oregon Timber Trail next summer. Although I recently rode the first 15ish miles of the next section and I'm not so sure I want to redo that part with gear. It's straight the hell push-a-bike UP!

I get asked a lot, "Would you redo it?" Or, "What part would you want to re- ride?" The answer is NOPE and none with bike bags. There is something magical about a once in a lifetime experience- you do it once. I feel like I would never have the same reaction looking over Fremont Point for the first time. I will never be as thrilled to come across a 3 inch deep, 18 inch wide creek, after rationing my last 8 ounces of water over the past 2 hours. I will never react tot he same surprises. Honestly, there are parts I really don't ever want to ride again. The Earth is too big to take time to relive the unpleasant parts. And the stuff I would re-ride? Of course I want to, without bike bags. There is some fun trail between Crescent Lake and Sisters. 

I have 3 goals for next summer. 

1. Mountain Bike Trip in Peru (already planned, deposit placed)
3. Finish Oregon Timber Trail 
3. Backpack all or part of the Washington Pacific Crest Trail

Who's in?

OTT Day #14- July 26, 2018: Sisters to Fish and Clear Lakes... and Trout In My Mouth

Breakfast was as planned. Oatmeal and coffee and anything else we didn't want to carry on this last day. We popped by Blazing Saddles Bike Shop for Evan to fix a pedal issue, and to sign the OTT log book and air up the tires. Then we were rolling along the 

Heading out of Sisters
The first 10ish miles was flat and mellow- a perfect way to warm up, wake up, and gear up for the big day. Everything between Sisters and Suttle Lake was a nicely groomed single track or well worm gravel road. We must have been quite a sight to the fancy folks enjoying their weekend day at the lodge, as we leaned our bikes along the deck and ordered a beer and curly fries. I admit I was a little jealous of the visitors in bathing suits, playing in the water. That's OK, I can just soak my jersey and bandana in the cool lake. 

Not more than a couple miles after leaving Suttle Lake, things turned unpleasant. We had a steep hike (not ride) from Dark Lake up, up, UP to a gravel road. This road started innocent enough, but soon the "gravel" got softer and softer and looser, and eventually was just... sand. All three of us were on and off the bike constantly, due to the deep sand. And we were tired and we were hot. And SAND! It was the hardest I ever had to work to ride my bike along a mostly flat road. But hey, it was the Santiam Wagon Road and it was all historic and shit, so I should be proud and enjoy it, but... all the damn sand.

I had one melt down. It lasted about 4 seconds. I yelled a sigh of profanity. 

And when the Earth insults couldn't get worse, we came to a cute little interpretive sign welcoming us to SAND MOUNTAIN [quickly bring palm to face]

Finally, after a short water refill and a visit with a camper at Big Lake, we slowly road out of the sand, into some lava rocky sections, and finally back to the big woods. We were all pretty quiet the last few miles to Fish Lake at the McKenzie River Trailhead, and the end of our ride at Clear Lake.

Bill talked us into the trail ride option to and around Clear Lake to where Deann and Karey had set up camp and had cold beers and snack waiting. Deann caught us each a trout for dinner, cooked over a campfire. She also brought a solar heated camp shower and I used more than my share! We stayed up late. We drank plenty. We had NO plans to ride bikes the next day.

The next morning, we drove IN A CAR to the lake lodge for breakfast and later I took a kayak around Clear Lake. It's geologic history is pretty cool. Before too long, Karey and I were in the car, headed back toward civilization. Re-assimilation would be hard for a couple days, but I was ready for a rest.

The End For Now

For more photos, see the link on the right or... HERE

OTT Day #13- July 25, 2018: Random Flat Logging Site to Sisters!

Before we tucked away to sleep last night one of us joked about the logging trucks showing up early in the morning of a forecasted hot day to finish their job. Oh, and we were not pressed for time, so we could even sleep in, which in the summer means maybe 6:30 if you're lucky.

Beep! Crash! Motor of large vehicle... as foreshadowed, the log picker uppers came just after dawn. Rather than stick around for breakfast, we quickly threw our gear together and rode the 5 miles left to 3 Creeks Campground for coffee and breakfast. Even at 8:00am, it was already hot. We were in for a scorcher. 

Fed and ready, we hopped back on the Metolius- Windigo trail heading for Peterson Ridge, just south of Sisters. Due to a recent burn, this section was so eerie. The heat of the flames had scarred the trees to a grey ghost forest, creating a perfect setting for the next Tim Burton movie. It was also beautiful and the only vegetation besides some high  mountain grass, were some wildflowers poking out along a very small creek. In the video below, I mention Mt. Hood. It was actually Mt. Jefferson

Getting through the burn in the late morning heat finally gave way to woods that had escaped the fire the year before. It was a great place to have some lunch. 

The next section of trail, was pretty rocky and surprisingly technical, but again gorgeous... and still hot. Eventually our decent down Peterson Ridge took us to Sisters. 

At some point, I felt that the air hitting my face, hooked up under my glasses and I felt hot air on my eye balls. The last few miles were long and flat. I was a bit surprised to not see many people out riding and hiking, but again... hot. How hot we wondered. When we finally made it to town and 3 Creeks Brewing, we passed a bank sing. And in the shade, the temperature reading was 97. The funniest part of the day that I can remember was the hostess at the brewery asking us if we wanted to sit outside.


More great food and more great beer and we quickly decided that we would be sleeping indoors that night. We needed showers, air conditioning, and beds. A couple of great friends in Bend tried to connect us up with host housing in Sisters and even offered to come get us to stay the night. But for convenience, we decided to to just grab a close hotel room for the night. 

My treasures collected at the grocery store included sushi, chips and salsa, coconut cream pie, cherries, and canned wine. We bathed. We laundered. We watched action movies and felt luxurious.

Tomorrow's forecast was another hot one, over 95, and it was going to be a long last ride. Our LAST RIDE on the Oregon Timber Trail this year. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

July 2018: OTT Inventory and Lessons Thus Far

Flats: 0
Chipmunk: 738
Coors Light Offers: 3
Mosquitoes: 4, 592
Deer: 3
Cows: 10-15
Punctured Sawyer Filter Bags: 1

* Never underestimate the last 4 miles. Like NEVER. You are never almost there. You'll know you're almost there where you are rolling around the campground, picking out a sleep spot

* End all sentences with "so far." Things change.

* My tent is too big for 1 person and too small for 2

* Pack your items in your bike bags according to when you will need them, not by what they are

* Always say hi to the camp host.

OTT Day #12- July 24, 2018: Cultus Lake to... A Logging Site via. Mt. Bachelor

Whew! Truth time. I'm writing the blog posts for day #11-14 about 3 months after this trip. It's been emotional reliving this experience. In 2 weeks, my group mates and I are doing a short movie presentation and Q&A with our local community. I'm excited and it's gotten me thinking about finishing the OTT next summer.

Anyway... today we knew we had a lot fo uphill miles to cover. We headed toward Mt. Bachelor Bike Park with hopes of a burger and beer. The first 5 or so miles were along an old gravel road to Lava Lake Store. Yes, there was a beer at 10:00am and it tasted pretty damn good while we charged our devices and chargers.

New lesson- always make a plan for where to meet, even when going to the bathroom. About 20 minutes were lost as we lost each other at the small campground Oh man!

Finally, we  hopped on the Metolius- Windigo trail to start our uphill pedal to Mt. Bachelor. We were pretty quiet in our personal journeys this morning. We didn't chat too much. 20 minute or more would go by without us speaking at all and giving each other mental and visual space. I know I was feeling a little sentimental reflecting on the past 10 days and being almost finished. I was also pretty tired. We all were. I easily zoned into a somewhat meditative state with a repeating mantra:

I am strong
I am powerful
I trust my body. 

I also distracted myself my singing OKGO's "I won't let you down" over and over. 

I also made a mental list of things that are harder than this. I later shared this mental list with the boys and it would serve as giggle fodder for the next 2 days. Whenever I looked or acted complainy Bill would just mention something that was worse- and some were very creative. It was worth the crack up. Turns out, our ride wasn't so bad. Again with the realization that we were riding our bikes most of the way through the state, healthy and free enough to accomplish such a thing.

Finally, we made it to Mt. Bachelor Bike Park, at the same location as the resort and man were we ready for those burgers!

What!?! Bill found the first person who looked like they worked at the resort (ski/ bike patrol) where we could devour some lunch. He told us that the cafe was at the TOP of the chairlift. This was not good. Luckily, our new friend could tell we were hungry and thirsty with credit cards, and knowing that we had no interest is shredding the brow pow in the bike park, he subtly walked us on to the chair lift to take us to our late lunch destination. Here we all enjoyed elk burgers with fries, salad, and a cold beer. I guess I haven't mentioned yet that the temps were in the high 90s that day, but it was a bit cooler at the resort. 

We ended up hanging out there for almost 2 hours, just cooling off and relaxing, and drinking much much water. They eventually had to kick us out when the cafe closed. Our's were the last 3 bikes waiting at the bottom of the chair lift.

Onward and upward we headed about 10 miles along a primitive dirt road.  This was actually a very pretty ride, with amazing views of Broken Top Mountain. We were trying to make it to 3 Creeks Campground, but we were running out of sunlight. After finding some water for the evening at a stream, Bill found us a nice flat place to sleep. You could tell by the soft dust imprints left that logging operations had occurred that day right where we were camped. We were feeling pretty satisfied about our 37 miles, and 3800 feet of elevation gain. Soon we were nestled in our tents, looking for to a lazy morning and nice descent to Sisters.

OTT Day #11- July 23, 2018: South Waldo to Cultus Lake

30 miles were on the menu for this day. We were on day 11. Wow. We only saw one other rider on our morning ride along the west side of Waldo Lake. The burn area near the campground is coming back nicely.

Over 300 miles riding my bike so far across the state and I twisted my ankle today- walking on pavement to the bathroom at Waldo Lake! I taped it up with Gorilla Tape and hoped it will be OK the next day.

Charlton Lake Trail is some amazing single track and mostly flat. We stayed within the same 100-200 feet for a few miles. I must return to this area to actually camp at the campground and explore beyond the lake without bikepacking gear.

We made it to Cultus Lake by 5:30 to another beautiful lake and quiet campground. I did some laundry off the end of the boat dock and only got a few raised eyebrows from families bring their boats in. I even shampooed my hair... what a treat! We enjoyed an amazing sunset punctuated by the wildfire s

We have a hard day planned tomorrow. It's going to be 36 miles to 3 Rivers Campground. So, we won't be able to take too many breaks.

Oh Hey! Another offered up Coors Light!

2109 Summary- The Ski Report

OK, so it's been a spell since I posted. I suppose my original idea of blogging about all adventures was taken over by Instagram Stories...