Friday, September 9, 2011

Late summer- packrafting and gravel riding

The Deschutes river lets out into the mighty Columbia river 65 miles east of Portland. Instead of the lush green forests many people know about Oregon, this is dry country, with rolling yellow hills, grazing cattle and small old towns named Dufur, Wamic and Moro.

From our campsite along the Deschutes, Donnie and I hiked 3 miles upstream with packrafts. It was quite hot and very dry. As we hiked, we also scoped out sections of the river that might give us trouble. We were a couple of river rookies after all.

There was one section with supposed class-3 rapids. As we stared at it from shore above, we both agreed to stay left as we approached. Turns out, it was a piece of cake, but something that could've easily flipped your head onto a 3 foot boulder.

No helmets, little experience and two cans of confidence named Coors. Hell yeah. It was hot, so getting in the water felt really good. Moving at a leisurely 3 MPH is something I can get into.

The next day, I set off for a dirt ride in the surrounding hills. A large group of riders also camping were off for a 125-mile deathmarch ride called the Oregon Stampede. With expected 100 degree heat, I was looking at riding just 50-70 miles at my own pace.

Riding up, out of the Columbia river gorge

Look close,Mt.Hood is barely visible through the smoke from all the forest fires happening at the time.

There wasn't much scenery, so I took photos of the dried out barns and farm houses.

Just pretend it's really hot on this road and you'll know what the day consisted of.

More barns

This abandoned farm house caught my eye. It was cool and creepy. Despite the No Trespassing sign, I had to check it out.

Look at all the bird crap and broken floorboards. It smelled like animal. The half door hinges were predictably creaky. One careful step at a time, I looked up to notice the lack of plaster on the ceiling. It had completely fallen in and showed to underside of the roof.

Just before I stepped into the living room/dinish room/main room, I noticed a several stacks of hay. WTF? A pile of hay.

Sudden movement- A CAT!?!. Oh wait, it's just a barn cat. Well, I had my camera ready and just caught it jumping out the window. Creepy cat. What's next?

The cat set me up for the next sight, a dead coyote. What would an abandoned farm house be without bird shit, creaky doors, a barn cat and a dead coyote?

Really, who would move out of here with a view like this?

Onward down the road, I could see deer sitting in the shade all over the place. But these stooges were a little more active. Have you ever seen a deer really trying to accelerate across pavement? Their hooves slip, kind of like Scooby Doo's legs at the sight of the 10,000 volt ghost.

Another old building to check out. Surprisingly, the schoolhouse looked like it was still used during the school year. I walked in, wiped the spider webs off my face and proceeded to read the chalkboard. Jenny and Mike 4-ever. Twizted thoughts. Violent J for president. I just had to join the club and write on the chalkboard that I was there.

I rode 60 miles total and got back to camp in time for another 3-mile hike and float on the Deschutes. Not a bad weekend.

Float GPS profile here

Ride GPS profile found here

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