Sep 032019
 

When conditions are perfect, you just have to go. We had barely returned from our last Cascade Mountain bike riding adventure when another passing summer storm system dumped enough rain on the dusty trails to return them to perfect mountain bike riding conditions. Summer is short in the Cascade Mountains so when there is an opportunity like this, you are duty bound as a mountain biker to go ride.

We were feeling pretty good after a couple days to rest our weary legs. The wind was howling so kayak fishing was out, trail conditions were perfect in the mountains, so we loaded the bike gear in the truck and headed into the Cascades.

We camped at a spot that is a little higher up the mountain. We wanted to try and ride to the mountain climbing camps at the edge of the National Wilderness, but you need to be in good shape. It is a stiff ten mile climb up the side of Mt. Adams and then down a rarely used trail in a remote section of forest. No fooling around.

watermanatwork.com mountain bike camp in the Cascade Mountains

The recent rain had left the trails and roads dust free and in perfect mountain bike riding condition.

Perfect mountain bike riding conditions in the Cascade Mountains

Everything was clean and green. No dust and perfect bike riding conditions.

Perfect Cascade Mountain singletrack

The semi regular summer rain storms are keeping the mountain creeks and rivers flowing.

Cascade Mountain creek in central Washington

One day we headed up towards the climbing camps to test our fitness level. You don’t head off into the woods unless you’re sure you can make it back. It was relatively warm and windy following the storm front that had recently passed through. After about seven miles of climbing, at about 5000′, I had had enough. It was clear that I had still had work to do following the semi truck accident. There was still about four miles of climbing steep mountain roads to the camps, I just didn’t have it.

Mountain biking near Mt Adams in the Cascade Mountains of central Washington

We headed back down the long, steep switchbacks around the ancient lava flows with a great view of Mt. Adams and the last remnants of the clearing storms. Best to stop if you want to take a look; this is a nasty lava rock road with a steep cliff alongside.

Mountain biking near Mt Adams in the Cascade Mountains of central Washington

With the high altitude riding out of the way, we explored more of the many miles of trails in the National Forest. Today, we are riding around the mountain instead of up.

Mountain biking on Cascade mountain singletrack in central Washington
Mountain biking on Cascade mountain singletrack in central Washington

Even though most of the trails here do not have difficult technical sections or steep drops, there are plenty of rocks, roots and chunks of timber on the trail. They may not be technically difficult, but they can be tricky and very rough. On a harmless looking section of trail, my front wheel went into a hole covered by tree bark and over the bars I went. I’m normally very careful out here in the middle of nowhere, but sometimes things just happen. I lost a chunk of skin from my forearm, but it could have been much worse. Going over the handlebars is something you always want to avoid.

I rigged up a field dressing of paper towels and duct tape over my missing flesh and was able to ride the final day of the trip. Took it a bit easier than normal to avoid any further mishaps and enjoyed a great day of mountain bike riding in the Cascade Mountains.

Perfect Cascade Mountain singletrack
Perfect Cascade Mountain singletrack
Trail break while mountain biking in the Cascade Mountains

It’s going to start getting cool very quickly in the Cascades as we leave summer behind and head towards the long Pacific Northwest winter. We hope the mountain weather will continue to be in our favor and allow us more riding time on the fantastic trails of the Cascade Mountains.

Aug 202019
 

Once and a while, the planets align and you have an almost perfect day. A day when the surf is perfect and there is nobody out, an action packed day of kayak fishing for big fish, or like the week we had mountain biking and camping in the Cascade Mountains with absolutely perfect trail and camping conditions.

It’s been windy so no kayak fishing. Because of the widely varied and quickly changing environmental conditions of this part of the Pacific Northwest, you have to have a “Plan B”. That is bicycle riding for me, especially mountain biking in the forests and mountains. With the forecast of at least a week of strong winds, we packed up the bikes and headed to the Cascade Mountains.

We ride up here quite a bit. The Forest Service roads and trails through the National Forest are great for mountain biking. No death defying jumps and downhills, but there are technical sections and some of the trails are very remote so you don’t want to get hurt or damage your bike. It is the mountains, so it’s pretty much all up and down. It has been mid-summer hot here, we got to the campsite and got everything set up just before sunset.

Mountain bike camping in the Cascade Mountains at sunset with watermanatwork.com

The weather was so nice, about 50°F at night and high 70’s or low 80’s during the day, depending on the altitude. Morning is an active time in the forests of the Cascade Mountains, we like to get an early start and ride through the woods this time of day to check out the forest life.

Mountain bike riding in the Cascade Mountains of central Washington

If you plan to ride up the mountain, it’s a good idea to get the major climbing done early while it is relatively cool. The temperature rises quickly as the sun comes up. It can be ten degrees hotter in the direct sun than in the shade. Riding the Forest Service or old logging roads up and the singletrack trails down is normally the plan. How far you can go depends on your condition. The big uphill climbs can be nearly ten miles of climbing. Then, ten miles of downhill single track. That’s a lot of bike riding.

Mountain biking on a Forest Service in the Cascade Mountains

We ride around looking for new places to ride and interesting things, of which there are many, along the way. When you are climbing a mountain on a bicycle, you have some time to enjoy the scenery. This is an ancient lava flow from when nearby Mt. Adams was an erupting volcano. Millions of years old, this lava flow stopped right here.

Ancient lava flow from Mt Adams in the Cascade Mountains

When you live or spend a lot of time in the mountains, one thing you learn straightaway is that the weather can change very quickly. The weather for the past few days had been beautiful. Nearly cloud free, sunny days. On the Sunday afternoon we were leaving, clouds started rolling in from the west, eventually obscuring the sun. With no internet or phone service, we did not know what the weather forecast was.

Storm clouds moving into the Cascade Mountains of central Washington

A few hours later, it started to rain. Then it started to rain harder. Then it started to rain really hard, pounding the top of the fiberglass camper. There was thunder and lightning that seemed like it was only a few feet away. At 2500′, we were probably in the lower level of storm clouds as the storm skimmed across the mountains. Then it started to hail, really hard. Hail can do a lot of damage to a vehicle, now I’m starting to worry a bit. Heard a tree fall nearby as the thunder and lightning continued, as well as heavy rainfall for some time. The next morning, I packed up my muddy bike, which had been lying locked next to my truck on what the day before had been the dry, dusty ground. Everything was damp and the bike had to be cleaned as we headed down into town, seeing blown down trees and evidence of minor flooding.

We knew the summer mountain storm had dumped a lot of rain on the dry, dusty roads and trails of the Cascade Mountains. We knew the rain had washed the dust off everything and left the roads and trails in perfect condition for bike riding. The weekend had passed, so there would not be many people there during the week. Seemed like too good of a situation to pass up so we packed up the riding gear and headed back to the mountains.

We went to a different camping spot this time. We drove up the mountain dirt road and couldn’t help but notice there was not a hint of dust. Usually this time of year your vehicle makes a dust cloud visible from space. Everything was clean and green from all the rain. The first morning there was a bit overcast in the aftermath of a major weather system, but we were ready to ride.

Overcast morning at the Cascade Mountain mountain bike camp

The reason we chose this campsite is that it is centrally located to many of the mountain trails between 2500′ and 4000′. These are not mountain bike trails, but trails that you can ride a mountain bike on. The trails usually run between Forest Service roads, some of them are very rough and remote. It was not a long ride from camp before we hit our first section of singletrack trail.

Mountain biking Cascade Mountain trail with perfect riding conditions

We were hoping for good trail conditions because of the rain and we got them. The trails were firm with great grip for my worn out rear tire with no dust or puddles. Everything was clean with a few drops of water left on some of the plants.

Mountain biking Cascade Mountain trail with perfect riding conditions

The following day was as nice as the day before. All the trails and roads were in mint condition and dust free.

Mountain bike riding on a Cascade Mountain trail

This is one of many very large trees in the National Forest. Logging is limited in the National Forest, some of these trees are very old. You can barely see my mountain bike at the base of the tree.

A very large tree in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Less than forty eight hours after a heavy and sustained downpour, the trails were already starting to dry out under the mid summer sun. There was a thin layer of dry dirt on top and damp below. There was almost no dust. This dirt is mostly ground down volcanic rock, so in most places, there is very little mud, even when wet. Pretty close to ideal trail conditions for mountain biking.

Perfect trail conditions for mountain biking in the Cascade Mountains

The mornings were cool, but it warmed up quickly. We were usually riding by 8:30AM.

Another great morning of camping and mountain biking in the Cascade Mountains

The weather and trail conditions continued to be just about perfect for the next couple days.

Mountain bike riding in the Cascade Mountains with watermanatwork.com

Met a couple horseback riders on the trail and a couple people on gravel bikes on one of the roads, other than that, we had all the trails to ourselves.

Early morning mountain biking in the Cascade Mountains
Mountain bike riding on a Cascade Mountain trail

One day, we decided to ride higher up the mountain. It takes a little while to get there when it’s uphill all the way. We aren’t here to race, we’re here to ride, so we stop and look at all the wonderful things there are to see in the Cascade Mountains.

A mountain stream in the Cascade Mountains of central Washington

The roads up the mountain are fairly steep in places. Some of those places were made more difficult because of water damage from the recent severe thunderstorm.

Trail damage from recent severe mountain thunderstorm

It was already starting to get warm as we reached the higher elevation. As the evergreen trees thinned out, Mt. Adams came into view.

Mountain biking near Mt Adams in the Cascade Mountains

As we got about as high and gone as far as we were going to go on this day’s ride, we got a good look at Mt. Adams. Nearly all the snow has melted and the glaciers are looking very small on the black south face of the mountain.

There were a lot of animals running around the mountains. Even though we take precautions with our food and trash, we still have unwanted interactions with some of the wildlife.

Mouse trap

On the other hand, there were a lot of butterflies hanging around the camp. Apparently, there is something in worn, sweaty bike clothing that attracts them. Sometimes, they would land on your arm or leg, you had to be careful not to instinctively swat them.

Cascade Mountain butterfly

One evening, this small herd of cattle moseyed right through the campsite. We saw a lot of cattle on this trip to the mountains.

Small herd of cattle moseys through watermanatwork.com mountain bike camp

Feeling pretty good, we decided to take a long ride up the mountain to a distant trailhead of a long downhill singletrack trail. Even though we got an early start on the day’s ride, by the time we reached about 4000′, it was already getting hot.

Mountain biking near Mt Adams in the Cascade Mountains

We reached the trailhead just as my legs were starting to give out from the consecutive days of mountain riding. From the trailhead, we got another good look at the south face of Mt. Adams, almost totally devoid of snow.

Mt. Adams in the Cascade Mountains of central Washington

We turned the bikes downhill after couple hours of stiff climbing. This is what we come here for.

Most difficult mountain bike trail

Before dropping down the side of the mountain and into the forest, we rode through high alpine meadows and burned down trees.

Mountain biking through an alpine meadow near Mt Adams

This trail does not get a lot of use due to the long climb needed to get there, but it was in perfect condition today. It was a great, flowing trail, but you had to be alert because there were some technical sections that come up quickly. This is a remote trail, not a place you want to get hurt.

A rocky section of trail in the Cascade Mountains

I use a Garmin GPS, which works pretty well. I still carry a compass because the GPS is not always 100% correct.

Compass used by watermanatwork.com

There were a number of blown down trees from the recent storm. It’s going to be a while before the trails are clear again, perhaps not before winter knocks down even more trees.

Blown down trees blocking the Cascade Mountain trail

There are a couple water crossings on this trail. Not that big of a deal in the middle of summer when the streams are barely flowing.

Water crossing on Cascade Mountain trail

We crossed over to a trail that we had ridden before. This is one of our favorite trails and it was in perfect condition. This trail runs along a good size creek and has many waterfalls. In the deepest part of the forest, the scenery is spectacular.

Deep dark Cascade Mountain forest

It was our last day to ride. The trails were starting to dry out a bit, still pretty perfect. We were out of food and the legs were somewhat heavy from all the alpine bike riding. It was Friday, the weekend would surely bring an end to the perfect conditions when horseback and bike riders hit the trails.

Last morning of riding at the watermanatwork.com Cascade Mountain bike camp

Yesterday’s long uphill climb left the legs a little sore, so we decided to ride across the mountain instead of up. The sun is getting lower in the sky, leaving some forest trails almost dark as night, even during the day.

Dark Cascade Mountain bike trail

There was plenty of prime singletrack to be ridden.

Cascade Mountain singletrack trail

There were a number of side trails that were not on the map, probably game trails or trails made by cattle. Some of these trails led to some great spots, well off the main trail.

Cascade Mountain waterfall

Another day of great mountain bike riding on perfect Cascade Mountain trails. The trails we rode today were mostly in the forest, much cooler than riding the more barren higher altitudes.

Sunlit Cascade Mountain forest trail

This trail has a number of log bridges that cross deep ravines and fast flowing mountain streams.

Log bridge on a Cascade Mountain trail

On the last stretch of trail leading back to the camp, I rode over a trail I had ridden on the first day we were here, nearly a week ago. There was only one set of tracks on the trail and they were my bicycle tracks from five days ago. Not another bike, man or animal had been on the trail since then.

Bike tracks on a Cascade Mountain trail

And that was a wrap for a fantastic week of mountain bike riding in one of the most spectacular places in the country. We could not have asked for better conditions. We did a lot of riding, saw a lot of cool things, nothing broke and nobody got hurt. An amazing week of mountain bike riding, hope to be heading for new trails soon!

Jun 252019
 

Wind, wind and more wind has been killing the kayak fishing season, so it’s more mountain biking in the Cascade Mountains. This area is an amazing place, so much to see and do. Stay away from the more popular areas, especially on weekends, to experience one of the last wild places in the lower forty eight United States.

We made it about 200′ off road before we had to stop. Nothing major, but a reminder to put the ax in the truck. You’re on your own here.

Downed tree across the Forest Service road

Even though it’s late June and the weather has been pretty nice by Pacific Northwest mountain standards, mornings are cool with heavy mist or light rain possible. It warms up quickly as the sun comes up, but still cool in the deep forest shadows.

A cool, misty June morning in the Cascade Mountains of central Washington

The first place we camped, the roads up the mountain to the top were extremely steep. It was all lava gravel so it was like riding on ball bearings. The climbs eventually were too steep for me to ride. Judging by the skid marks in the gravel, it looked like 2WD vehicles were having trouble as well.

An extremely steep lava gravel road in the Cascade Mountains of central Washington

We moved deeper into the National Park where there are very few people, looking for a bit more moderate climbing effort. Exploring is what we are here to do, so we drove around a bit looking around. We want a place where we can ride a number of roads and trails. Solar exposure is great, here in the PacNW, you take what you can get. Park the truck and don’t start it up until we leave. We came here to ride bikes.

Mountain bike camping in the Cascade Mountains with watermanatwork.com

This spot turned out to be a great area for camping and riding. There are a number of Forest Service roads that go around and up the mountains with plenty of side roads to check out. There are still steep sections on the mountain roads, but having to push the bike a little is pretty much par for the course.

An opening in the dense forest in the Cascade Mountains of central Washington

These are the headwaters of a number of Washington rivers that eventually empty into the Columbia River. The warming weather melts the winter snow pack on nearby Mt. Adams and the ice cold water begins the trip down the mountains to the Columbia.

Cascade Mountain creek

The mountain creeks turn into mountain rivers as they wind their way down the mountains.

Cascade Mountain river

The wildlife is very active this time of year. Deer with new born young are everywhere. I saw a bear while out riding this week and saw another one a couple weeks ago, not far from here. There were elk across the road from the campsite making all kinds of noise all day long. Hardly any mosquitoes and lots of butterflies.

Cascade Mountain butterfly

Best of all, on top of all the great gravel and dirt road riding, there is some pretty nice singletrack that doesn’t see many riders. The trails usually cut between sections of road. Riding up the road and down the trail is usually the best way to go. The scenery is the Best of the PacNW.

Picture perfect Cascade Mountain singletrack

These trails are a long way from anywhere. We’re here too have fun, but have to ride reasonably because getting hurt or damaging your bike have real consequences out here.

Steep Cascade Mountain singletrack with tree roots

Another great mountain bike expedition. Found cool new places to ride and camp, did a lot of riding, the weather was pretty nice and we found new places to check out. It looks windy for the next week, so we are back on the trail(or road).

Jun 192019
 

Since I have recovered enough from injuries I suffered when a semi rear ended me, I am grateful to be able to ride a bicycle again. Not only will getting back to riding help improve any structural damage suffered by being hit by a fully loaded semi and improve cardiovascular fitness lost after being immobile for nine months, but riding, especially out in the woods, gives me a chance to pound out my frustration and gives me a chance to think without daily distractions.

Mountain biking in the Cascade Mountains

We are fortunate to live in one of the best places in the United States for bicycle riding(except in the winter). There are miles and miles of dirt and crushed lava rock Forest Service Roads and old logging roads. It’s perfect conditions for training; above 3000′ and plenty of climbing. It is the mountains after all, there is very little flat terrain.

Lava rock gravel road in the Cascade Mountains

Some of the climbs are miles long. Some roads are not as steep as others so you may have to pedal a little further, but the grade is not as steep. We need to ride up towards Mt Adams where there are plenty of roads and trails to explore.

Mountain biking in the Cascade Mountains near Mt Adams in central Washington

Mt Adams is in a Wilderness Area so there is no mountain biking allowed. This is about as far as you can go on a bicycle. Mt Adams is in the distance, below it is the dark colored Aiken Lava Bed, an ancient lava flow from when Mt Adams was active. Below the lava field is a burn area from a more recent wildfire.

Mt Adams and Aiken Lava Bed in central Washington

This area has a long history of logging. Since a lot of it is National Park, there is not much logging here, but the surrounding area is owned by timber companies, so there is still active logging. Some of the old logging roads are still here and have not been traveled on in years.

Old logging road in the Cascade Mountains for mountain biking adventure

When you take these roads to nowhere, make sure you and your gear is 100% in order. Nobody is going to find you and there is no phone coverage.

There are also singletrack trails. These trails range from “brand name” mountain bike trails to paths through the forest made by wild hooved animals or horses. These trails are challenging and fun, but ride well within your limits because it’s a long way out.

Mountain biking Cascade Mountain singletrack

Closer to the snow covered mountain peaks, the seasonal streams are still running. In another month, this stream will be completely dry.

Creek crossing a seasonal Cascade Mountain stream near Mt Adams

The snow on Mt Adams is melting and it is melting fast. Photos from just a few days apart show how much snow melts in a short period of time. Soon, the snow pack will be down to the glaciers.

The rapidly melting snow pack on Mt Adams in central Washington

This is about as close to nature as you can get these days. There is always something interesting to see in the mountains and things are always changing.

Cascade Mountain flowers

Not sure where this road goes, but it’s in a pretty remote area. I think we can check this road out next time.

Remote Cascade Mountain road near Mt Adams

Like the saying goes “you don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone”, the time off the bike has made me miss riding and I am stoked to be back in the saddle. All these roads and trails, 100% free. You should go riding.

Jun 042019
 

This is the first time, since being involved in a serious vehicle accident with a 40 ton semi truck, I’ve been able to get back on the bicycle and out on the trail. I haven’t been off a bicycle for nine months in many years. Even though I am still dealing with lingering injuries from the accident, at least I can ride.

Early morning bike check in the Cascade Mountains

We were riding some of our favorite roads and trails in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. This is a great place to ride, one of the few remaining wild places in the lower United States.

Cascade Mountain bicycle riding

Gifford Pinchot National Forest surrounds the Cascade Mountains, many of which are active volcanoes. Here is Mt. Adams.

Mt. Adams in central Washington

You can see a number of snow covered Cascade Mountain peaks from the same spot, including Mt. St. Helens. Mt. St. Helens is easily identified due to the flat mountain top, blown off by the 1980 volcanic eruption.

The flat top of Mt. St. Helens

There was a large fire in this area a couple years back. The area is fairly inaccessible, so the fire burned a lot of timber.

Wildfire burn area in Gifford Pinchot National Forest near Mt. Adams

It takes a number of years, but nature eventually is restored to it’s previous state. Harvesting timber or burned up in wildfires, the forest is gone one way or another. Careful management and preservation of precious natural resources is required.

Wildfire burn area in Gifford Pinchot National Forest

The weather is nice, the scenery is spectacular and the roads and trails lead to all kind of interesting places.

Cascade Mountain bicycle riding

Always glad to be out bike riding. I’m shutting down the computer, packing up the truck and heading back out on the trail!

Jun 042019
 

Ever since being involved in a serious vehicle accident where I was hit from behind by a 40 ton semi doing 50mph while stopped for a construction zone flagman, my physical activities have been limited due to injuries sustained in the wreck.

As you might imagine, being hit by a semi truck is quite a shot. An NFL player is out for the season after being hit by a 290 pound guy running 5mph, I was hit by 80,000 pounds moving 50 mph! I suffered a concussion when I was knocked out by the impact and a number of injuries to my neck, back, hips and legs.

To make matters worse, much worse, both my insurance company, Progressive Insurance and the truck driver’s insurance company, Starr Indemnity & Liability Company, refused to pay for any medical expenses or damage resulting from the accident. You can see more details about the accident here, but the accident left me injured and essentially bankrupt.

Anyway, back to the biking. Injured, broke and winter arriving in the Columbia River Gorge, I headed to the Arizona desert to try and regain my health without any money for medical treatment of any kind. I needed decent weather so I could rehab my injuries.

For about a month following the accident, I could not do much of anything. I was in pain all the time with only OTC ibuprofen to take the edge off. I could only sleep a few hours a night because of the pain. It took everything I had to retain a positive attitude after what had happened to me.

After a couple months, I was able to start walking. Slowly at first, the first couple weeks I was only able to walk about a quarter mile or so. Since I was able to walk more than twenty miles before the accident, seeing how badly I was injured was pretty depressing. All I could do was get up in the morning and put one foot in front of the other.

One foot in front of the other for desert rehab for injuries sustained in a semi truck accident

Slowly, I was able to increase the distance I was able to walk. Exercise during the day meant pain at night, but I did not have many options. Getting up in the morning was very painful. It took about an hour just to loosen up to move around. A couple times, I lost all feeling from my lower back down. I had to go to the ER, they told me there wasn’t much they could do. That was very scary, not being able to feel my legs. All I could do was keep walking and hope for the best.

Walking is desert rehab for injuries sustained in a semi truck accident

In addition to walking, I also included stretching and strength training to the rehab regimen. Stretching, especially for my lower back, hips and legs, was a daily routine. Push ups, jumping jacks and low weight, high repetition exercises; all part of the program. It worked for the Marines, I was sure it would work for me.

Exercise and stretching is desert rehab for injuries sustained in a semi truck accident

After seven long months, I am able to ride a bike again. Bike riding is a big part of my life and this is a very important step on the comeback trail. I estimate that I am about 30% of what I was before the accident. All the doctors said it would be a long recovery, they were right. At least I’m back in the saddle and back on the road.

Jan 222019
 

If you follow this blog or know me personally, you would know that I was injured in a serious accident. I was stopped for a flagman in a night construction zone on US 97 near Chiloquin, OR when I was rear ended by a forty ton semi truck doing 50 mph that did not even slow down. As you might imagine, I took quite a shot. I was knocked unconscious and could barely move. I had no broken bones, but a couple inches either way, both the flagman and I would have been killed. My truck was destroyed, most of the stuff in the camper was crushed.

Rear ended by 40 ton semi doing 50mph while stopped for flagman in road construction zone

This is one of the last photos of the truck; 25mpg, solar power, equipped to spend up to a week off grid.

Last mountain bike trip to the Cascade Mountains for the Toyota pickup truck

Here’s the truck on the last bike riding/camping trip on the mountain roads around Mt. Adams in Washington.

Last bike trip to the Cascade Mountains for the Toyota pickup truck

To make matters worse, both my insurance company, Progressive Insurance, and the insurance company of the reckless truck driver, Gallagher Bassett, have refused to pay for any expenses resulting from the accident. I can’t say much more about this due to legal issues, but if you have either of these insurance companies, I beg you to go elsewhere. My life has been turned upside down, but I am working my way back.

Number one is my health. I took a real beating in the accident. For about a week following the wreck, I could barely move. The worst injuries are to my back, neck, hips and legs, especially on the left side. While I suffered no broken bones, doctors have told me my ligaments and tendons are stretched and it will take a long time to recover.

With no medical coverage from insurance and with all the financial fallout from the accident, I can’t afford any medical treatment so it is up to me to work myself back in shape. It’s been about three months since the accident, some of the soreness and pain has dissapated, but the majority of the pain in by back, hips and legs is still there. At times, it feels like my left leg is going to pop out of the hip socket. I have not had a complete night’s sleep since before the accident, those nights add up and start to have an effect on you.

My rehab routine consists of walking, stretching and basic calisthetics to try and restore flexibility and strength to my lower back, hips and legs. I have not been able to ride a bicycle since before the accident and judging the progress I have made so far to regain fitness, I think it will be at least another two or three months before I am able to even try and ride a bike.

I’ll be documenting my rehab process for anyone else who suffers similar injuries without having a pile of cash, maybe help them on what can be a long road back. That won’t be all that exciting, but I’ll be back with more mountain biking from great riding spots soon. Mountain bikers are used to being knocked down once in a while. We always get back on the bike.

Oct 022018
 

The Deschutes River is well known as a classic trout, steelhead and salmon fishing river in eastern Oregon. Kind of a “River Runs Through It” scenario but there are plenty of guided river trips with small tent camps on the river banks supplied by raft and boat. No fishing from boats on the Deschutes River.

The Deschutes River in eastern Oregon

On the east side of the Deschutes River is the Deschutes River Trail. It’s more like Deschutes River Dirt Road. I’ve seen cyclists on cyclocross bikes or gravel grinders, whatever they call them these days, but you would have to pay attention. A mountain bike allows you to check out the great scenery, of which there is plenty.

There was a good deal less nice scenery this time around due to a very large wildfire. The entire east side of the river is burned to ashes all the way down to the river. All the old “wild west” buildings are gone, burned to the ground. We rode fifteen miles along the Deschutes from the rivermouth on the Columbia River and did not reach the end of the burned area.

Riding mountain bikes on the Deschutes River Trail in eastern Oregon

It was hot and dusty at the end of a dry summer. A north headwind on the way back to the Columbia River made it a bit more of a workout. It was one of those days when you can almost feel what the wild west was like, a horse instead of a bicycle…

Mountain bike riding in Deschutes River canyon

We will be having more cycling adventures shortly so check back soon.

Aug 142018
 

The Columbia River winds continue to blow and keep us from kayak fishing so it’s off for more mountain bike riding in the Cascade Mountains.

Mountain biking in Gifford Pinchot National Forest

We are trying to use these mountain bike camps to stay up in the mountains and ride at a little bit higher altitude. The mountain roads are perfect for training and getting into shape.

Morning mountain bike ride to Mt Adams

The weather changes quite a bit in the Cascades and conditions can change pretty quickly. We had some hot cloudy/hazy/smoky days that were quite humid and had a few light sprinkles.

A cloudy/hazy/smoky day in the Cascade Mountains

Then one morning, the temperature dropped about 20° making for a chilly start to the day’s ride.

Early morning mountain bike ride in the Cascade Mountains

The cooler weather got the animals and wildlife moving. We saw lots of deer and plenty of cattle roaming the open range.

Cooler weather made the wildlife and grazing cattle more active

The sun came up over the mountains and warmed things up a bit but the wind picked up as well and it was still somewhat cool at the higher elevations.

Riding mountain bikes near Mt Adams in Washington

The wind cleared out the haze and smoke that had been hanging over the mountains for a couple days and we got some great views of Mt. Adams.

Mt Adams

There are a lot of back roads and trails to explore, like this rarely used trail high in the mountains. Judging by tracks on the trail, it is used mostly by cattle and wildlife like deer and elk.

Rarely used Cascade Mountain trail

It’s exciting to explore new trails and see where they lead, but when out this far in the boonies, you have to ride more cautiously than if your vehicle was parked a half mile away. Help is a long way away here.

Cascade Mountain trail

Since we are exploring and not racing, it’s easy to take a break and look around at the forest.

Taking a break on a Cascade Mountain trail

It’s all worth the effort because there are some great trails here that get very little traffic.

Mountain biking Cascade Mountain singletrack near Mt Adams

That’s a wrap for another great mountain bike camp in the Cascades. We are headed back to town to see what the weather is going to be like for the next few days. Summer is great here in the PacNW, but it is also short and those summer days are slipping away…

Aug 072018
 

After a few great days of bicycle riding around Mt. Adams, we came down from the mountain to 20-30mph wind with gusts to 40mph, so once again in this season of endless wind, kayak fishing was a no go. Drop off the road bike, grab the mountain bike and back into the Cascade Mountains for more bike riding. We set up camp and settled in for the night.

Ready for mountain bike riding in the Cascade Mountains

Early the next morning, the sun came streaming through the dense Cascade Mountain forest, it was time to get up and get ready to ride. The forest is a special place.

Early morning sunshine in Gifford Pinchot National Forest

You know you are in the right place when the trails have no names.

A great place where the trails have no names

There are miles and miles of park service roads, snowmobile and cross country ski trails. Of course there is no snow so they make great mountain bike trails. Some of these roads don’t get much use and are pretty overgrown. You can drive on most of the roads, depending how much you like your suspension parts and tires, but they are perfect for mountain bike riding.

Mountain bike riding on park service roads in the Cascade Mountains

There are also plenty of great singletrack trails that provide challenges to any skill level of mountain biker. These trails see regular use by backcountry horseback riders and can get pretty dusty in the dry days of summer, but a mountain thunderstorm can get the trails back to mint condition in a matter of hours. There is abundant wildlife and great scenery along these trails, great mountain biking for all levels of riding experience.

Cascade mountain singletrack mountain bike riding

There are a lot of places to camp where you can climb out of your sleeping bag, jump on the bike and hit the trail. It’s nearly all dry camping and “pack it in, pack it out”, so come prepared. If you’re not a camper, there are places to stay in Trout Lake.

Mountain bike camp near Mt. Adams

We decided to ride from our camp to the base of Mt. Adams where the mountain climbing trails begin. The road is pretty rough, fine for mountain bikes. The climb is not particularly steep but there are some steeper sections that usually are not too long. Mt. Adams is a large mountain, so there’s plenty of climbing on the way up.

Mountain bike riding to the base of Mt. Adams

When you get to the base camp, don’t be surprised to see a fair number of vehicles for what seems to be the middle of nowhere. This is a popular base camp for alpine climbers as well as a parking lot for day hikers. Trucks can handle the road rough up pretty well, but the sedans and mini SUVs with street tires, I’m not so sure. These people must go through a lot of tires.

Base camp for climbing routes up Mt. Adams

The long climb up the mountain gives you a chance to check out the scenery, of which there is plenty. This is still a fairly wild area. Get a good look on the way up because you will want to pay full attention to the lava gravel road down.

Winding Cascade Mountain road down Mt. Adams

It’s a long downhill ride back to the campsite.

Long downhill ride from the base of Mt. Adams

After the great ride up to Mt. Adams on the lava gravel/dirt roads, we headed back into the woods for more trail riding. Even on a mid summer day, the forests around Mt. Adams can be a dark place. Not too terrible if it’s a hot, sunny day.

Mountain biking in the deep, dark Cascade Mountains

The hot summer sun melts the mountain snow and glacier ice that feed streams that flow through the forest. Some streams are seasonal, some flow year round.

Snowmelt and melting glacier ice feed Cascade Mountain streams

Hundreds of years ago, a lava flow from an erupting Mt. Adams stopped right here.

Ancient Mt. Adams lava flow

The trails and roads are in prime dusty summer condition and we couldn’t help but think that a little rain would really clean things up. Well, we got our wish as an afternoon thunderstorm came rolling over Mt. Adams to deliver a summer downpour. We were only a short distance from the mountain and the sound of the thunder echoing off of Mt. Adams was quite spectacular. Didn’t see any lightning or fires, thankful for that.

Afternoon thunderstorm over Mt. Adams

We headed back up to Mt. Adams from a different direction for a little more exploration by bike.

Mountain bike riding to Mt. Adams

Mt. Adams is a large mountain and looks different from every direction.

Mt. Adams

On the way down the mountain, we rode through an area that was burned by wildfire in the not too distant past. Compared to the many shades of green in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, the blackened forest is quite the somber place.

Mt Adams forest burned by wildfire

After the ride through the burned out forest, we ended the ride on a high note with some nice singletrack, fresh from the previous afternoon rain.

Cascade Mountain singletrack fresh from previous day's thunderstorm

The final day of our mountain bike began warm and humid so we got an early start up the mountain.

Early morning road climb up to Mt Adams

We wanted to go out with a bang so we rode to the top of the trails on the road to get warmed up, then rode singletrack trails the rest of the ride. The trails were mostly downhill but a lot of the trail was overgrown with a number of blown down trees across the trail. Made by horseback riders years ago, the trails in the National Forest do not get a lot of maintenance so it’s a challenging ride on a mountain bike. Thanks to the recent rain, the trails were in great shape with very little dust.

Mountain bike next to a Cascade Mountain stream

It’s been a great trip, fantastic bike riding in a spectacular place. Time to head back to civilization, see what the internet says about the weather. We may be back on the water kayak fishing or, if it’s too windy, more bike adventures. Stay tuned because something will be happening!