Saturday, 15 July 2017

McKenzie Bridge, OR

Myself, Jim and Keith met Jen and Ron at the campground last night. They live in Portland and are on a 10 day cycle tour. The 5 of us set off nice and early to climb McKenzie Pass, around 2000ft of climbing.

We soon rose above the tree line and into the lava field. We stopped at windy point (it wasn't windy) for some views of Mt Washington and Mt Jefferson. Jim shared his snack with the chipmunks. At the top of the pass is an observatory built out of lava rock. You can see views of the middle and north Sisters & Mt Jefferson. Mt Hood is way off in the distance. The landscape was amazing - definitely a highlight of the trip.

Jen & Ron were staying at a US Forest Service Campground near the top of the pass. The rest of us could not wait for the descent!

The 4000ft descent was fast and great fun. 71 switchbacks apparently - I didn't count. We descended into rainforest and felt humidity for the first time in weeks. It was very beautiful with lots of bright greenery and damp forest smell. I was too busy having fun to stop for photos, but I've found before that it's hard to get a picture of a rainforest, you just end up with a snap of an unimpressive looking tree! The road was narrow and winding and barely any cars thankfully. In heavy traffic the ride would be unpleasant. It's strange that a few days ago I was cycling in desert and now am over a lava field into rainforest.

I parted with Jim and Keith at McKenzie Bridge. They were meeting a friend who was driving out there. I was planning to stay at one of the many US Forest service campsites in the area but on a Friday in July they were all booked up. None had any hiker biker spaces. Bad USFS. Luckily a few miles down the road there was an RV Park which doesn't have tent camping but the owner is kind enough to let passing cyclists pitch up for free for a night.

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