Monday, August 20, 2012

Mt Hood Nat'l Forest- solo bikepacking

Sometimes you just look at a map, see a road that looks cool, and plan a trip around that. National forest road 4610 in the Mt Hood Forest had that appeal, and I had three days of perfect August weather to go blend into the scenery.

Day 1- leaving town

 Loaded Karate Monkey- about 60 pounds without water

 Urban off-road along the RR tracks in SE Portland

  Converted rail to trail line leads out of Portland, SE towards the town of Estacada

 Blackberries and apples were in season and free for the picking

 The fruits stands were loaded with fruit too

 Once past Estacada, it was open and free

 One last paved climb into the woods before gravel

Further from civilization, closer to home for the night

 Home for the night

Day 2- 90% off-road

 Road 4610- let's see where it goes

 There was significant gain in elevation on day 2, which was easier to hike than pedal. One more example of where standard rear pannier bags would be a nuisance

 At peak elevation for the trip- 4,000 feet. It was a tough, hot and dry climb up this hill with a full load of water. Right near the top was a spring with COLD water bubbling out of the ground. It was so tasty and refreshing, I downed two full bottles and replaced the rest of my water with it. What an unexpected treat in the middle of nowhere

 I didn't make it as far along road 4610 as I thought, so it was time to peel off and hit some narrow track that dropped down 1,000 feet

 It was steep, narrow and grown over most of the way down. The disc brakes got very hot

 Random stuff in the woods

 Finishing up the 1,000 foot descent. This turned out to be the best loaded DH run of the year

 On night 2, I opted for a proper campground along the beautiful Clackamas river

 The real reason I opted for a proper campground on night 2 was the proximity to a store that sold beer (and Snickers bars)

Day 3- slow roll home

 Best view of Mt Hood all weekend

 Ripening blackberries and plums along the trail

Road 4610 has a ton of potential and needs to be explored more in summer of 2013

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