Monthly Archives: July 2011
It had been two years since Linda, Doug Parrow, and I last rode a self-supported “loaded bicycle tour” together. These bicycle tours involve loading a touring bicycle with panniers and possibly extra bags and riding a route without auxiliary car support. That tour started in West Glacier, Montana, and led up and over Going to the Sun Road across Glacier National Park, up to Waterton Lakes National Park, and back.
This time we decided to try again a route that we had been turned back on in July 2006 – a loop around Mount Hood starting and ending from Keizer, Oregon. For many years this route had been a staple of the Salem Bicycle Club and had evolved over the years as the club gained experience with alternative routes around the mountain. Doug had led many of these tours and knew the route and its options well. In 2006 we had surrendered to temperatures in triple digits in the Columbia Gorge with the prospect of hotter temperatures ahead on the east side of the Cascades. The temperatures were forecast to be twenty degrees cooler this time.
Living in Bend, I have a lot of options for local backcountry skiing. Several Sno-Parks are nearby with a network of ski trails leading out from each.
My local favorite this past winter/spring was the Swampy Lakes Area. The Swampy Lakes Sno-Park located at 5800 feet in elevation and is just north of the Cascade Lakes Highway (Highway 46) about 16 miles from Bend. The higher elevation of the Swampy Lakes Area typically offers better snow conditions than Virginia Meissner Area, yet is better protected in stormy weather than areas higher and nearer Mount Bachelor. During weekends and holidays the Mount Bachelor highway traffic can be very heavy and it is helpful to get out of the traffic sooner than driving in traffic all the way to the Bachelor Nordic Center.
Over the Labor Day Weekend last September I climbed five of the Oregon 100 Highest Peaks located in the Strawberry Wilderness. These were Graham Mountain, [Riner Basin-Slide], Indian Creek Butte, Pine Creek Mountain (East Peak), and [Berry-Norton]. My routes were over trails much less frequently used than the Strawberry Basin Trail, the most popular hiking route up Strawberry Mountain. The trails I used were at times rocky and some joining trails had been obscured by recent wildfires and subsequent brush regrowth.