The waters were calm as we paddled our way back to the mainland. Heaving the canoe up the steep shore, we returned it to its resting place and turned our minds to our own rest. We had reservations at Breitenbush Hotsprings!
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.