Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 6:47 pm
Location: Hillsburrito, OR
I eventually made my way north from Carson, to Road 90 and into the campground around 8:30pm or so, after passing the Matt Brothers (Matt Hockin & Matt Freeman) from Bend. We pulled in and Danno had already staked out a spot for us to maneuver into and the campfire was already cooking. Local USFS Dude, Tom Savage, was already there too and we all settled around the campfire with our favorite beverage and steaks. Oh, Matt Hockin again brought my favorite dog in the world, um, I forgot her name, but I call her Tripod, since she only has three legs – but doesn’t know it! I will steal that biscuit burner someday… The evening wore on as we noticed that we saw evening stars and Saturday’s excursion was looking good! Later that evening, Keith Gienty showed up with his new, island-sized toy hauler and joined the carnage around the fire. He even brought some elk meat to share – tasty. Danno had brought his little Yamaha DT50 to run around the campground with, and it got used.
The next morning, Dave Klug & Joe Fuller showed up for the day, as did Shawn Rader also. After having a good breakfast, plenty of java and everyone milling around and getting Hockin woke up, we finally got moving at the crack of 10:30. We made special accommodations for the bikes not plated and suddenly we were onto the trail! Clearly the trails were wet, but no dust! We had hoped to do the Juniper/Langille Loop, but the snow level was too low, so we created a new route. We immediately started climbing, up and up heading north. Before long we started to encounter snow, but that was not unexpected and we soldiered on. On this weekend, hunting season was also happening and we came upon a camouflaged hunter standing in the trail, but didn’t move. Tom later told me that the hunter stood his ground in the middle of the trail and Tom pulled up to him, stopped and said, “What?” The guy then moved aside and all nine of us putted by. I remember saying, “Good morning!” and he replied the same. One thing I DO remember though is that, as we all drove by, he kept his rifle held in his right arm pointed – right at us! I used to hunt as a kid and have to wonder why some of these guys have to act like morons and thinking that the forest is only theirs a few weeks out of the year, especially in an OHV area!
We continued up in elevation and it started to become just a wee bit chili. After a number of miles pushing snow, we stopped and Tom said, “Okay you guys, I’m going to turn around, since there are cliffs ahead and I don’t want to try them in the snow. But you guys can go on if you like.”
I raised my arm and said, “I’m going where you’re going!” Everyone else chimed in the same and we turned around. No dropping off cliffs from this crowd!
From there we headed back down the trail we came up on, and then continued west. Along the way we were surprised to see a group of three guys and one gal on little pit bikes. Judging by the number plates, I’d guess it was Ricky Carmichael and Ryan Villopoto! Hey, that sure looked fun!
We continued on more trail, okay it was ALL single-track trail all day long (both days) – awesome! We stopped at another volunteer-built bridge, then turned around, so we didn’t hog out the steep trail on the other side. Man, what a stunning section of river! There was mist in the air all weekend that diluted the photos, but you get the idea. I forgot my enduro glasses in another gear bag and my goggles were practically useless (like driving by Braille!), but thankfully Dave-O had a spare pair with him, which saved my ride. Thanks Davester!
About that time, Tom’s two riding buds showed up on their XR250 Hondas, so then they had a little pow wow.
We then headed back up the trail, lost Hockin to Tom’s buds, found him, then we started making our way back to camp, but not before having a frisky ride of cat-and-mouse with Keith, Danno and myself – good times! There were a few eye-opener sections in there too, like when we crossed a small ravine that had dislodged wood at the bottom for a pseudo bridge – a leap of faith!
All too soon (after 37 miles), we were back at camp and Shawn, Dave and Joe eventually loaded and left, but not before taking a short hike down to the actual Lower Falls. They came back exclaiming how beautiful the falls were and that some lunatics were going over the falls in kayaks. Tom and I headed on down to check out the action, but about 30 seconds before we got there, we heard some hooting and hollering and sure enough we missed the last two guys lemming themselves over the boiling torrent (look close and you’ll see a kayak. They came over the far left side of the falls). We did get the pleasure of chatting with two of the kayakers after they came up to the viewpoint.
As you can see, the fall colors were stunning in many places! On the stroll back to camp, there was a sign posting how dangerous it was and that a Japanese student lost his life in ’98 after accidentally going over the falls.
Now it was time to pull out the drinks and chow for dinner again. Klug had found and saved for me an issue of Log Trucker Magazine from one of the small towns on the way up, which was kinda fun to thumb through, since I grew up logging. Thanks Dave – I think… As the night grew on, some of us were a bit tired after the day’s most excellent rip. And why is it most all shots of Danno are with his eyes closed? About that time, Frank Noe showed up and the party ensued.
That night it never stopped raining. We started to wake up around 7am on Sunday and we all kinda milled around, drinking coffee, having breakfast and probably could’ve been talked out of going riding, but Frunk was all gung ho, so that lit the fire under our arsses and we started getting ready. I’m not saying that Frunk is a flamer, but his socks sure looked that way!
Eventually we were back onto the trails again, but this day’s route would go basically backwards of what we did on Saturday, with an additional southern loop. It continued to mist and rain all day, but all the trails were nothing short of cool, since there was no dust – or mud! We came across more hunters and some of the trails actually seemed easier without the snow from the prior day.
At the end of the day, we logged another 35+ miles and had a blast! I want to specifically thank Tom Savage for his trail work, knowledge and keeping us in check. He really knows how to ride that old 250XL Honda! I also want to thank Steve Doane and his guys for doing so much trail work up there and continuing to do trail work, so that everyone else can selfishly enjoy the ride. A damn, fine example that we all must adopt or lose out. And of course I want to thank everyone who showed up, rode solid, didn’t have clapped out bikes and joined in the fun. We’ll do it again next year (and maybe even a couple weeks earlier)!
My full collection of pix are here:
My GAG page is here: