single track

Post Canyon Exploration Part 2

I've been having mad feelings about Post Canyon lately. Why did it take me so long to discover you? Why do you have to be so far away? 

"Post Canyon is a large network of trails located on the west side of Hood River. There's numerous riding options, anything from big gaps to flowing downhill and twisty cross-country. You can link it together in countless ways.'

Head over to HRATS for up to date conditions.

OMTM Dark Larch 2017

It’s 5pm and I am still in Seattle. I’ve been living out of the Silver Cloud Inn for the past 10 days. Hotel life is great at first but I am itching to get back down to Portland.

It’s 6pm and we’re still awaiting for approval. Our clients are making last minute changes on their big Monday pitch. The office is anxious, the whiskey bottle is already empty and I can’t stop thinking of tomorrow’s Our Mother the Mountain ride.

It’s 8pm,we’re on the road back to Portland and I am in good company. I guess I really am riding the Dark Larch tomorrow.

It’s 6am and I can hear the pouring rain bouncing off my rooftop. The water is boiling and I sip my coffee while watching the weather unfold through my front window. My phone buzzes and my first friend drops out of the ride. I don’t blame him.

It’s 9am and we’re in the Dabney parking lot. A solid crew of brave souls circle the parking lot waiting for the un-official roll out. Words are had and we pace line down the highway.

I loose track of time, I focus on the pedal stroke, my mind wanders amongst the green and the crunching sound of tires over earth. I am thankful I didn't bail, the Dark Larch delivers. 

Route info via OMTM. 

This year’s Dark Larch V2 packs the same condensed wallop of forest road, singletrack, gravel and faerie footpath as last year but with a couple of fantastic improvements to the original course. It will have the same Historic Highway rollout to Alex Barr and Palmer Mill singletrack climbs to the Larch Mountain gate on the front end, but will bypass the decommissioned forest road NF20 in favor of a quick drop down Larch Mountain Road to the elusive Dark Larch Wizard Trail at mile 26.4. This quiet slice of loamy bliss crosses Buck Creek in the way nature intended before dipping off down the Dark Larch Byway, a forgotten bit of forest road with a few punchy climbs which completely sidesteps the Bull Run watershed boundary. The Dark Larch Byway lets out at the legendary powerline gravel bomb to Gordon Creek. Take it easy on the Gordon Creek hairpin descent at mile 41.7, let’s keep the rubber side down this year.

At mile 42.6 we dive into the Jurassic singletrack of the North Oxbow Trail and the Sandy River Beach Club at mile 43.9 (look for the spur leading off to the left). After some rays and a few piña coladas, we’ll coax our bronzed bods up the herculean OXBERG climb and ease back down the Historic Highway to belly up for some burgers and brews at Shirley’s Tippy-Canoe.

Disclaimers, warnings, caveats and wisdoms:

* The ride will be rolling out of Dabney at 9am sharp, so plan accordingly or you’ll be playing catch up.

* This route requires GPS navigation. Please download the route to your Garmin, or use the fine RWGPS app on your phone.

* Tire sizes of 35c-45c recommended. While we suppose you could have feasibly #roadbikesoffroad-ed this on 28c’s last year, the severity of the rainfall and wetness in many areas of the course make it a really bad idea this go-round. Please please please, nothing smaller than 33c. The course is much, much wetter than the late summer run last year, rendering it very difficult for smaller tires.

* Be very considerate of any hikers or ghosts you might come across – though it’s frankly unlikely you’ll see any. We want to convey how nice cyclists are on trails that don’t often see them.

* You will need to be prepared to filter/treat water for refill. There are many ideal opportunities to do so.

* Dabney State Recreation area does require a day pass ($5)…another parking option w/ no fee would be Glen Otto park @ Historic Highway + the Sandy River, a couple of miles NW of Dabney on the Historic Highway. There are bathrooms and great water at both Dabney and Glen Otto.

* Since the route is close to Portland and not very long, we encourage you to ride to your ride. It’s a 15 mile warmup to Dabney from SE PDX.

Stay safe and enjoy!

The ATCA Trail

My buddy Chris always told me "The less you know the better." This has been my approach to mountain biking in general so when we loaded up the truck and left for Oakridge I really didn't have an idea of what I was getting into. Now don't get me wrong. I am not one of those foolish people that show up to ride in the backcountry unprepared. In fact I am the opposite in that sense. When my friends are rationing their last bits of a cliff bar I am the guy on the trail that will pull out a slice of left over pizza. Ok so back to the ATCA Trail.

The ATCA Trail is a legendary point to point in Oakridge linking up Upper Alpine, Tire Mountain, Cloverpatch and Lower Alpine. 24 miles of singletrack bliss. For some more detailed information on the ATCA Trail system head on over to the MTB Project.

It's late when we pull into our campsite in Black Canyon. We set up our tents and our tents and head right to bed. Rest.

Apparently some people climb up the gravel road but since we had multiple cars we shuttled our way up to the trail head. We even gave a couple other riders a lift up. Trail karma.

"From Windy Pass ride 1.2 miles on Alpine until you come to a trail junction. Tire Mountain is carved into an old log, turn right here, it’s a sharp little climb but mellows out quickly for awhile until you begin a very fun descent to the junction for the Cloverpatch trail. Be sure you are indeed heading up Cloverpatch and not dropping in on the Eugene to Crest Trail. Cloverpatch requires a bit more climbing to get to more run flowing trail. At the end of Clover patch you will be on a forest service road. Up until 2013 you would have had to descend this and ride the North Shore Road back to Westfir but thanks to local trail building efforts and the Cascade Cream Puff they built a connector trail to bring you back out just above Buckhead Shelter. To get to the connector just ride down the road until you see a green forest service gate on your left…it’s a bit set back from the road you will be on so don’t miss it. Ride past the gate and up Road 130 for 1.9 miles until you reach the connector trail. It can be a bit tricky to see so don’t miss it. Climb another 1.9 miles until you reach Road 683 and turn left which will bring you back to the Alpine Trail. Most of this trail is considered to be intermediate except the Cloverpatch section which is rated advanced." - Oakridge Bike Shop

" This trailhead can either be reached by bike or car. Oregon Adventures runs a shuttle from May to October (start up and shut down dates are contingent…please call Oregon Adventures to verify) to the start point (Kate’s Cut In) which leaves you with a 15.4 mile blissful ride, most of which is downhill. The trail itself is considered intermediate but if you want to increase the aerobic aspect (or you just don’t want to shuttle) you can ride up from the Office Covered Bridge. From the bridge take the Aufderheide Scenic Byway to either forest service road 1910 to Windy Pass (7.9 miles) or 1912 (9.8 miles) all the way to Kate’s Cut In. If you take the 1910 to Windy Pass you will then need to locate the 1912 and continue heading up on that the remaining 3.1 miles. Be aware the 1912 is steeper than the 1910 and many people choose the longer road because of this.

The 15.4 mile ride from Kate’s does include a few short sections of singletrack climbing. Right from the start you climb a gentle grade up to Sourgrass Meadow then it’s downhill until you cross over the 1912. Another set of climbs brings you to the fabled Jedi Section. Once you reach the bottom and cross the road it’s a short pedal until you cross over the 1911 and begin another climb for around a mile. Past the viewpoint there are a few short hills to climb but the majority of the ride is downhill so check your brakes and make sure your pads have some substance to them.

If you’ve never ridden Alpine you might be surprised to learn there are a few variations to the trail you can do if 15.4 miles isn’t enough for you." - Oakridge Bike Shop

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Where to camp while in Oakridge? Black Canyon Campgrounds is the perfect jump off spot for shredding in Oakridge. Fall asleep to the sounds of the Willamette and trail access can be ridden to from your tent.

Where to eat? Cedar Creek Meats and Provisions is located on the Willamette Highway just a stones throw away from camp and has always been our go to spot. Breakfast burritos? Brisket burritos? Yes, please. Take one to go you'll want it on the trail.

Bike broken? Definitely make sure to head over to the Oakridge Bike Shop. Show your support. Buy a trail map and whatever else you may need for the trail. Most of not everyone in the shop plays a huge role in the trail system your about to ride.

Need a shuttle or a guide? Oregon Adventures has you covered. Hell they even offer a 17k day!

So thats about it. The ATCA is an amazing trail system. It's a big day. Be prepared. Hope this article helped. Leave a comment below if you have any questions or want some recommendations for other trails in or around Oakridge.

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Waldo Lake Loop Trail

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It’s Sunday morning and we’re hungover at the Willamette Mountain Mercantile in Oakridge. Our goal is to find a new trail to explore before heading back to Portland. Last nights Margaritas and IPAs have done some serious damage. Our crew is beat. With some help from the locals we decide on the 21.2 miles IMBA epic at Waldo Lake. [portfolio_slideshow id=4529 width=1200]

Waldo Lake is one of the largest natural lakes in Oregon and one of the purest in the world. The alpine lake is located in the Cascade Mountains 18 miles from Oakridge. The water is incredibly clear and it is said that on some days you can see to depth of 120 feet.

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Theres talk of mosquitos. Apparently they can be pretty bad up there. Our heads clouded with the previous nights bad decisions. Damn. I am so fucking hung over. Life slowly comes back to the legs as we descend into the loamy forest ripe from a previous rain.

"The elevation gain of the overall ride is manageable, however the relentless short, steep climbs and technical sections will give you a quite a workout. There are incredible views of the lake throughout the ride and plenty of spots to cool off during the hot summer months. Pick up the Waldo Lake Trail from the main parking area at the northeast corner of the lake and complete the loop either clockwise or counter-clockwise.” - MTB Project

Falls Creek

It’s November and the Pacific Northwest is getting pounded with cold weather. We’re in route to the Falls Creek trail head located just out of Carson, Washington in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Like most of the trips I’ve been on with this crew I don’t really know what to expect. What I do know is that I’ll be in for an incredible day on the Mountain Bike. No questions asked. If the wife is ok with it I am in. It’s cold out and we’re all trying to figure out what to wear. I am told the first half of the ride is a climb so it’s all just a shot in the dark. The trail head drops us into the forest and soon enough we’re climbing. The group fans out. We all climb at our own pace. I constantly have to remind myself to take in the experience and not get lost in the pain of climbing. The climb kicks up hard. We fight to keep our front wheel on the ground.

The climb gives way to the sound of the Falls Creek water fall. The trail is light dusted in snow. We take a moment for the view. I feel lucky to be here.

The trail continues to roll through the forest and as we gain elevation the snow begins to thicken. A couple miles from the top we decide it’s best to turn around. Don’t worry this ride was meant to be an out and back. On the snow covered trail we prepare for our descent. I put on a fresh wool jersey and gloves. Nothing lifts the spirits like dry gear.

"The gradual grade of this 9 mile trail slowly climbs away from Falls Creek and crosses 2 creeks before reaching the waterfall in approximately 2.5 miles. Falls Creek surges over rocks and timber cascading from a height of 100 feet, creating a gentle mist below. Approximately 3 miles from the trailhead a large clear pool about 50 feet wide and 10 feet deep, provides a lovely picnic spot. Elk, beaver and otter await the forest visitor.The trail continues on for 6.5 miles, crossing several forest roads, and terminates at Falls Creek Horse Camp on Forest Road 65.This is a popular mountain biking trail." - USDA Forest Service

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"Gifford Pinchot National Forest is a National Forest located in southern Washington, USA, managed by the United States Forest Service. With an area of 1.32 million acres (5300 km2), it extends 116 km along the western slopes of Cascade Range from Mount Rainier National Park to the Columbia River. The forest straddles the crest of the South Cascades of Washington State, spread out over broad, old growth forests, high mountain meadows, several glaciers, and numerous volcanic peaks. The forest's highest point is at 12,276 ft. at the top of Mount Adams, the second tallest volcano in the state after Rainier. It includes the 110,000-acre (450 km2) Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, established by Congress in 1982.” - Wiki