Thursday, August 1, 2013
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Throwing our gear in our friend's truck, we had the luxury of riding the gently climbing road towards Breitenbush unfettered. Deep green forest waved softly from all sides as we skimmed past on the smooth pavement. Reaching the turn-off for Breitenbush, pavement turned to dusty gravel and our final destination couldn't come soon enough.
Almost as dusty as the coated plants on either side of this road, we finally arrived, found more friends who had agreed to meet us there, and the now party of five began our tour of the many pools at Breitenbush! Warm pool, warmer pool, cold shower, hot pool, cold river, tepid pool... we strolled around and sampled all the resort had to offer. Set in forest and meadow, the developed but still natural-looking pools were idyllic.
Particularly transcendent is the hot, silent pool. Soaking in the stone pool, water nearly too hot to stand, we gazed over sunny, open meadow and listened to the hush that fell over the whole scene. This area is designated as "no talking" and it was more fun than one might expect.
At this point in our trip, it felt as though we were in Portland's backyard. We were practically within shouting distance of home. Afterall, what's 100 miles over familiar terrain compared to nearly two thousand over unfamiliar? I had an agenda for the rest of the trip, and it included visiting several of my favorite places. Kevin had not been infected with the peculiar deep woods spell of these unique spots, for him they were yet to be discovered. The hot springs however had done their work. Fully relaxed and drained of motivation, Kevin yielded himself to the Portland-bound passenger seat of our friend's car and made fast tracks back, arriving home that evening.
But I couldn't be swayed. I had to ride this next section. (Likely long, restful naps in Bend provided the energy to give substance to my determination...)
After a lift of several miles towards Portland along the Clackamas river, I situated my gear (entrusting many items and pounds to Kevin, I'd travel light for the final stretch), and watched everyone drive away. Alone, I hid my bike and riding gear in a dark section of forest, slung a small pack to my back, and started along the abandoned road. It wasn't long before I was lost in the woods.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
The sky lightened to a weak blue, and we were on our way. Soon the small town of Detroit greeted us, where we found Kevin's grandparents and a delicious breakfast. Now within range of Portland, we called a friend to help us tackle the next adventure - camping by boat.
In a borrowed canoe packed with three adults, one giant watermelon, and a cooler full of beer, ice, and food we set out on the waters of Detroit Lake, a large man-made reservoir that is a popular recreation spot. Testing our mettle and paddling skills, we first maneuvered up the Breitenbush arm. After gaining confidence in the calm waters, we struck out for Piety Island.
Between us and the boat-in campsites lay one third league of motor boat churned water. Would our heavily laden craft survive? Could we turn the boat quickly enough to avoid being swamped? Luckily our path was perpendicular to most boat traffic. Our fearless captain rallied us on, we paddled ferociously, and arrived in the calm bay of the island with only a small amount of water in the bottom of the boat.
Watermelon crackers (melon as cracker stacked with cheese and turkey is delicious) and fire-roasted corn and potatoes highlighted the evening. We fell asleep around the cracking coals of the fire, only to be disturbed by curious deer inspecting our campsite and stumbling around in the bushes. We rest assured in the belief that mountain lions and bears don't swim.
Saturday, July 27, 2013
Choosing Santiam, we wound our way upwards through the dry forest and sunlight. The forest opened as we neared the pass, the sun further heating us as we steadily gained elevation. Respite came in the form of a small, shady roadside waterfall where we dunked our heads and filled our water bottles. Soon we stopped again at an overlook with a view of Mt. Washington and Black Butte. Interpretive signage discussed the B&B Complex fires that burned the area in 2003, and also gave a neat clue as to the reason for the shapes of the visible high peaks. Mt. Washington is a stunning glaciated volcanic mountain with steep sides of bare rock, while Black Butte is a smooth cone with gradual forested slopes. Perhaps because of its highly eroded state, it might seem that Mt. Washington is the older volcano. Actually though, Black Butte is older. Further west, Mt. Washington bears the brunt of Pacific moisture, gathering glaciers that cut its sides. Protected in the rain shadow of the Cascades, Black Butte stays glacier free and retains its smooth sides. Cool!
Hardened by the passes we climbed in Idaho and Montana, we reached the top with breath to spare. Gathering speed, we dove down the western slope into dense forest. As we picked up the North Santiam highway that leads to Detroit, the forest grew denser. and darker. and deeper. and greener. Traffic was light, the pavement was smooth, the shoulder was wide, and the evening sun winked through the trees. It lit brilliant rooms of trunk and moss and fern, and it filled the rushing water of streams and tiny falls with bright confetti. Still several miles short of Detroit, we lay our heads to rest on the mossy, flower-speckled ground of a retired road and fell asleep on the wet west side.