Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Anaxshat Passage-The Most Awesome Descent Ever, and The End

It was our chilliest night last night! When I fired up my Garmin this morning, it said it was 42 degrees. Granted, it was still just after 7:00. It was our earliest start on our shortest day, with the most downhill. We had just 24 miles to finish the Anaxshat Passage Route. 

We finished yesterday at the base of our longest climb for the day. It was just over 3 miles, but on cold legs, it was a heart thumper. 

Makaela at the top of our early morning climb. What you can’t tell by this photo is that she had lost a cleat bolt in her left shoe, and the other bolt was loose. That meant she could not unclip from that pedal. I was a little nervous, but she wasn’t worried. She unclips from the right side normally. However, if she had to get off her bike, she would have to take her shoe off. 

We had a good descent after the climb, but it was quite rutted. It made for some fun zigzagging. The road improved, as we descended down to a bridge over a creek. What happens when you go down to cross a creek? Yep, you have to go back up. Fortunately, it was not too long…only 3/4 of a mile. 

When we turned back onto 4610, we saw we would be going back into a burn zone. 

While there was a bit of a stick forest, it wasn’t as bad as what we had gone through on the first day. 

As we were continuing our descent, the road turned to pavement. Then the descending really began. It was the most awesome swoopy downhill EVER! So much fun! We were whooping and hollering…it was so good!

We came around a corner, and it opened up. Down to the right (if I’d just waited a little longer to take the photo) was the Clackamas River, and the Hwy we had ridden on the first day. 

At the Hwy looking back up at what we had come down. We had no idea when we passed the turn on the first day that it would be a paved descent. 

Eight miles to the end!

The route had us backtracking on Faraday Rd, past the North Fork dam again. We were back on the Hwy after the nice ride by the dam. There was that short bit of gravel we had done on the first day, but we opted to stay on the Hwy back into Estacada. 

We made it back to the truck at City Hall at 10:00am. 

Hmmm…looks similar to the photo we took the first day (except we are a whole lot stinkier).

All in all, it was a very successful bikepacking trip. There was quite a bit of pavement. Of course, the one patch of pavement was because the Clackamas River Trail was impassable. But, really, it was okay. The Hwy had a good shoulder, and the other roads had very little traffic. The singletrack was really fun around Timothy Lake, and Abbot Road made us grateful to have front suspension. And, that descent…did I mention how much fun that was? We got lucky with the weather, and also no fires (you never know about fires this time of year). 

Here’s some photos Makaela took. 

Getting around the gate to take the shortcut to Milo McIver. 

Me and Billy

FR 42 with Mt. Jefferson in the background. 

Proof I am a mountain biker!

Two adventure buddies!

Anaxshat Passage-Timothy Lake Singletrack and Ye Ol’ Abbot Road

It drizzled more overnight, but Makaela managed to stay dry in her rainflyless tent in Far Far Away Land. I was finishing up my breakfast when she came walking back carrying her mobile home. I had to pack up a wet rainfly, but my tent was dry. 

We were on the road for Day 3 just slightly later than the other days. We rode back to the road. Instead of backtracking, we just headed toward Hood View Campground where we would intersect with the singletrack. Lo and behold, we came to a brand new campground first, called Stone Creek. Seriously, this campground can not have been open for very long. The pit toilet smelled better than any pit toilet I have ever been in (and I’ve been in a lot). The campsites were pristine. It looked as if most of them had not even had any campers yet. There was a freshly built trail to the Southshore Trail, and we were back on route. 

Timothy Lake from the Southshore Trail. 

The Southshore and Timothy Lake Trails were fun and flowy…my kind of mountain biking. We even rode the trail out to Meditation Point. Lots of dispersed campsites there. 

Makaela really wanted a swim, so we stopped along the trail, and she hopped in the lake. 

In the meantime, I worked to clean my shoe of the dog crap I somehow stepped in when we were at Meditation Point. 

We rode through Hood View CG (too cloudy for a view) and the North Arm CG before leaving the trail for another gravel road. 

Back to gravel. 

While we were on the gravel, we started the longest climb of the day at 8.9 miles. A mile or so into it, we came to the paved portion, FR 58. From here the rest of the road was paved up to High Rock. That climb finished just before High Rock. We had some lunch on the side of the road with a view of Mt. Jefferson. 

We pulled off at High Rock to look at the view. 

High Rock

Mt. Hood

Makaela about to ride off the precipice of death. 

A bit more climbing finally brought us to Abbot Road. This is sort of the highlight of the route. I can’t remember the exact story, but something to do with the indigenous Anaxshat and a trading route on this Abbot Rd. There were a few signs saying how the road is closed, and the road is bad. This we knew. The road is closed because there is a washed out bit. The road is bad because…well…because it doesn’t get used much. 

This part was not bad at all. 

We had been told water was less reliable after Timothy Lake, but that there was a reliable Spring along Abbot Road. We found it, and it even had a pipe coming out. 

See the small pipe?

We came to the washed out part. It was a steep push up the other side, but I managed it (almost thought I was going to have to take off some of the bags to get Billy up). I didn’t take a photo. 

The road continued to climb (second longest climb of the day, and definitely more difficult). I was able to ride everything except for one spot where I was on the wrong side, and got into too many baby head rocks. Fortunately, it seemed, for the steepest parts, the road surface was a little better. 

Basically, a dirt road with chunky rock in places. 

A nice view (in looking at this photo, doesn’t it look like, to the left, a head with two eyes and a nose?)

We finally finished that climb, then had mostly downhill to Tumalo Meadow where there is a dispersed site. The meadow is more of a pond. There are lots of newts in the water, and on the road. The campsite by the pond is really more of a wide spot in the road. 

I’m standing in the road to take this photo. 

Tumalo “meadow”

Nino the newt

Nino on a stick (Makaela decided to help him to the water).

We fixed our dinner (poor Makaela only had my Z-seat for furniture tonight).

Still have the fine Tyvek tablecloth. 

After dinner we went for another walk. We saw a Barred Owl (at least I think that’s what kind it was).

It is quite zoomed in, so not the best photo, but can you see him (or her)?

Tomorrow we start the day immediately climbing. If I am ready to go before Makaela, I will get a head start on the climb, as I am much slower. We have just 24 miles to go to get back to Estacada. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Anaxshat Passage-A Long Climb to Where I’ve Been Before

We had a nice night last night letting the river lull us to sleep. Woke up close to 6:00. Even though the campground was closed, the potty shacks were still reasonably functional (at least the one close to us…we didn’t check out the others…ya only need one). We were packed up and back on the road just after 8:00. From the beginning we were climbing. It wasn’t difficult, and it was paved. 

Makaela up ahead there. 

There were numerous dispersed campsites along the river, and only about 4 vehicles total (most were empty). It is Monday, so I suppose most people are back at work. 

About 8 miles in, we turned off onto gravel. No the climbing began in earnest. It was an 8 mile climb. We would get to Forest Development Road 42 after about 5 or 6 miles, then continue the climb. 

We did have a couple of log trucks to deal with. I just pulled over, let the dust settle a bit, then continued on. I caught up to Makaela where she was waiting. Another log truck went by. This one had the decency to slow down, and not kick up so much dust. I have him a thumbs up. 

We had a bit of downhill to 42. Forest Road 42 is part of the Sierra Cascades Route from Adventure Cycling. This was my third time going up this road. We came in partway up the road, so I didn’t do the whole thing again. 

A nice view

Still going up, but much nicer on pavement. 

When I caught up to Makaela again, she said, “Look behind you”.

First she thought it was Mt. Hood, but I was pretty sure Mt. Hood was in front of us still. This had to be Jefferson. 

At the top, we had a bit of descent, and then a couple more shorter climbs. We took a lunch break off of Skyline Road (which is still FR 42). More downhill (and a bit of uphill).

We got up to speeds of 33 mph. Here’s Makaela in tuck position (or is she smelling her shirt???)

Upon seeing the nasty steep hill at the turn to go to Summit Lake to camp, we decided to continue on to Clackamas Lake. Upon reaching Clackamas Lake CG, and seeing it was $25, we decided to continue on to Gone Creek CG. Just after leaving Clackamas, we got on the Miller Trail. 

It was not too bad singletrack (even though I’m not a mountain biker, I had fun pretending).

Upon reaching Gone Creek CG, and finding it was $26 per site, I asked the host if there was a lower rate for cyclists (it doesn’t hurt to ask). There was not, but the host told me where we could disperse camp that was not far from the campground. We dumped our trash, filled up on water, and set out to find a dispersed site. 

We followed Cheryl’s directions. She said she had just checked out the sites that morning. Said the first one on the right was, in her opinion, the nicest one. We found it, but it was occupied. We kept going. Came to another one. It looked suitable (there were many more nicer ones a bit further, even one with a creek, but you never know what’s ahead). We got our tents set up, then it started to rain. This wouldn’t really be a problem. It wasn’t raining hard. But, Makaela had opted to not bring the rainfly for her tent. She moved her tent under a tree, but it wasn’t really a good spot. I got into my tent. When it stopped raining, I got out, and Makaela was in the process of moving her tent to another country (okay, it wasn’t another country, but it was quite far away). She had to go back into the woods (past where all the previous campers had taken dumps and not practiced “Leave No Trace” principles) to find a flat spot with some tree cover. 

Makaela’s tent in far far away land. 

Before dinner (to kill some time), we went for a walk to check out the next dispersed site (okay, maybe we should have done that first). It was nice with a good spot under some tree cover. But, Makaela having already moved her tent once, and me not needing to move my tent, we decided to stay where we were. We did, however, appropriate some “furniture”. 

Makaela lounging in her new cinder block chair. She later added my Z-seat pad for more comfort. It made our home so nice (even though her house was in Far Far Away Land up that trail behind her). I, of course, have my chair…and my rainfly…but I won’t rub that in…very much. 

We cooked our dinner using a nice Tyvek tablecloth (minus the table) between us, as we sat on our furniture. Quite fancy…really!

We did a post dinner stroll (to kill more time), discovering all those other nice sites. When we got back, Makaela said she thought it might be time to retire to her tent in Far Far Away Land (through the gauntlet of toilet paper). It was only 6:15. Instead, we sat in our chairs and chatted until the respectable hour of 7:00. At that point it was okay to begin the nighttime chores of teeth brushing and whatnot. Now, I’m finishing this post so I can finish my “tent work” and go to sleep. Tomorrow we continue around Timothy Lake on singletrack, then climb up to Abbot Road. 

Anaxshat Passage-A Day of Hopping On and Hopping Off Hwy 224

Official Day 1 of our Anaxshat Passage went well. We had to get back to the route from the State Park, but that was easy. We planned just about 35 miles, so we didn’t feel like we had to get a pre-butt crack of dawn start. We even took advantage of the free showers. Still we were packed and ready to roll before 8:30. 

We had a short distance on Hwy 224 before we got off on a gravel side road, but that also didn’t last long before we were back on the Hwy. But, never fear, we diverted once again for several miles of paved, but no car road to the North Fork Dam and beyond. 

On the Scenic Bikeway when we were on pavement. 

No cars!

2 km fish ladder to the North Fork Dam. 

Some swift moving water there!

We continued to follow the Clackamas River. 

Above the dam. 

Eventually we were back on the Hwy. This time, for 14 miles. 

Stick Forest for a long time!

This bridge wasn’t the route, but just for fun we rode across it (and back) anyway. 

The sign on the right says, “Target Shooting Information”. Apparently, the information is that there is no target shooting. 

We took a snack break at Carter Falls. We talked to a woman who was waiting for rafters to come through so she could get photos for the rafting company. 

Class III and IV rapids. 

We left before they came through, but saw them later up the river. 

There were four boats. 

After the 14 miles, we came to another section off Hwy 224. This was the Pipeline Rd. Basically, we followed the hydro-electric pipeline (surprise surprise). However, it was also the longest and steepest climb of the day. 

The pipeline coming down the mountain. 

The road started out paved, but soon turned to gravel. At one point, I glanced at my Garmin. It said the grade was 14%. As the road switchbacked, I stopped to catch my breath (this is what happens when you haven’t been on your bike for over a week). Due to the steepness of the grade, I could not get going again. I pushed Billy until the climb leveled out enough to get going. It was in full sun, and quite warm. At least for part of it, there was a good tailwind. 

We stopped for some lunch where we could get water from a small stream. It was a good break in the shade, but the flies they were a bitin’. Back on the bikes, we had a nice descent back to…you guessed it…Hwy 224. Now we would be on it until the campsite. The route does go off onto the Clackamas River Trail, but the Trail is so overgrown that it’s very difficult to get through. Makaela had read about this beforehand from another person who did it. We were glad to have had that information. We just stayed on the Hwy to Riverside Campground. The campground is closed (fire damage), but we are staying here anyway. We did get a very nice site, and access to the river. For a closed campground, there have been several groups of people coming and going. No one else appears to be staying the night. 

This is supposed to be the end of the Clackamas River Trail. There is hardly a trail. 

Our campsite (complete with really good walking stick to get down to the river).

Tomorrow we head toward Timothy Lake. All day we have been seeing orange signs saying no access to Timothy Lake, Detroit Lake, and one other. The woman we talked to at Carter Falls said she thinks those are old signs. We hope so…