Zen On Dirt

Hot Sisters Day 18 – Climbing the McKenzie

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Today I crashed while running. One of those Catch one toe, go for the save with the other foot, think you’re going to hold it up, trip again with foot number one, go sprawling down the hill. I only find this funny because we actually rode some fairly technical trail today and had many people tell us to be careful. I’m far more dangerous to myself on foot than on wheels.


The day started with more idyllic McKenzie River Trail. Smooth, fast, we were at our hot spring five miles away in no time. It was nestled under a little cove right at river level. While not overly hot overall, the earth continued to fart on occasion sending up plumed of really hot.


We soaked for well over an hour enjoying the early-ish morning sun.

Scott had warned me that after Trail Bridge, the trail turned hard. ‘We’re going to be hike-a-biking some’ he said. When Scott says a trail gets hard, I set my expectations to zero and occasionally get surprised. Fun, side-hilling, but smooth trail eventually turned to lava rock. Maybe it was the coffee we drank at the hot springs, maybe living in Tucson for the winters is finally paying off, but I felt like I was actually rallying some of the climbing.


So fun.

We got to see some atrocities in trail etiquette though, my highlight being riding at the bottom of a techy climb, looking up to see a group standing at the top, putting my head down to focus on the climbing, and then out of my peripheral vision, seeing a lady skidding down towards me with one foot out of the pedal. People should be forced to take a brief multiple choice test before allowed on trail: If you’re stopped and see someone riding up a hill that you’re not certain you can actually ride down, should you a) Go or b) Wait.

Anyhow. The lava rock section was one of my favorite sections of trail that we’ve done so far this trip. I think a small part of me misses Tucson riding.


We stopped for lunch at the blue pool and watched teenaged boys jump off the waterfall and into the deep water. One guy jumped from the top, which was pretty impressive in my book. I love that we can seamlessly transition from being way-out-there to being part of the peanut gallery and love both.


We rode by two amazing water falls, and just like that, we were at Clear Lake mid-afternoon…where the ‘grocery store’ icon on the map is a little bit of an overstatement. We thought about the possibility of cookies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and breakfast again, supplemented by some to-go sandwiches, for the way to Sisters, but thought better of it.



Run around the lake to take a look at the lava flows, free-camp somewhere next to the lake, get up and get breakfast and COFFEE! Sold. In theory, now we’ll ride into Sisters morning/midday the day after tomorrow instead of trying to push it in tomorrow. We’ll still eat cookies for most of our sustenance for the next day, but at least we’ll have a good breakfast in our bellies.


We found a campsite right next to the lake, which is giving us a view of Sand Mountain across the way. I feel like it’s the first campsite with a view we’ve had. It’s lovely.


And now I have a scraped knee and knuckle to show for our run.


One thought on “Hot Sisters Day 18 – Climbing the McKenzie

  1. C) What’s the question?

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