Zen On Dirt

Hot Sisters Bikepack – Day 5

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Semi-rad once wrote a line about ‘The sad moment in the morning when you realize your cup of coffee is empty.’ On a three-day three-night bikepacking stretch without food resupply, it’s much more ‘That sad moment in time you realize that breakfast/lunch/dinner is over, and you’re still hungry.’

The three-day/three-night stretch is sort of our radius, if we do it right. Maybe leaving La Pine with two full, fresh, and delicious apples and a box of wine wasn’t the best use of volume and weight, but it sure was enjoyed.

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Either way, after two full days of proclaiming ‘We have plenty of food’ in the same tone that I often proclaim ‘It’s not going to rain’, I’m no longer convinced. We’ll make it, but probably at the expense of a pretty cool hike we’d planned for tomorrow.

We did get a little hike in this morning to the top of Fuji Mountain. We ran into some Oakridge locals who told us where to eat once we got there in 3-4 days time. The 2.5 mile hike was a lovely way to start the day.

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The main ‘unknown’ of the day was Brush Grass Trail. No one really knew if it had been cleared or not yet, so we figured we’d give it a try, and bail if it was stupid. We counted 21 downed trees on the first two miles, but the last 3/4 of a mile of the stretch was good, so when we got to the bail out point, I pointed at the trail, ‘Let’s go that way. If it sucks, we’ll turn around.’

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Not far in, we saw fresh trailwork. Then freshly cut trees. We were golden! The trail was mostly wicked fun and we were definitely doing the Winning at Life dance.

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Until we got to a burn area…and giant thimbleberry bushes encroached on the trail. Buried the trail? Someone with a chainsaw had been through and we were able to push through the thick brush…but the fun factor was gone. The countdown to the next bailout option had started.

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We ended up running into the FS crew clearing the trail right at our bailout point. When they confirmed that they hadn’t cleared past that spot, it was an easy decision to head down.

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FS guy. Friendly deer who followed us for miles.

A million foot descent on a dirt road took us to McCreedie Hot Springs, stop #3 on our route. We had lunch in the shade, soaked in the pools, and finished off with a dip in the river.

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And now we climb, said Scott.

And now we descend to a river, said Scott.

Oh no, now we really climb. I must have read the numbers wrong on the map,’ said Scott.

To be fair, he did navigate us through a rats nest or forest roads that resembles the current state of my hair.

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3,400 feet later, we’re at the top of the climb. I had hoped for a romantic sunset dinner at a lookout, but that would have required more pedaling on ‘rolling’ terrain. So we’re camped on a side road with no view. We’re satisfiers, not maximizers. ‘Is is flat? Is there room for our yard-sale? Good. Sold. Time for dinner.

We’re well short of where we thought we’d be, and much lower on food than we hoped we’d be, but that’s okay. We should make it to Lemolo Lodge no problem tomorrow afternoon. It’ll be a hungry one but I bet that chocolate chip cliff bar will be the best I’ve ever had.

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