Feeling sick of the city from being cooped up behind a desk and in the test lab, I had the opportunity to join a couple great friends on a two wheeled journey around Oregon's most beautiful lake, Crater. On top of that, KAVU | True Outdoor Wear was kind enough to send me along my way swagged head to toe in their most durable and comfortable clothes to ensure I was aesthetically prepared for what would become a greatly under estimated adventure.
After what felt like an eternally long solo road trip down interstate 5, through the mess that is Portland suburbs @ 5 PM on a Friday, three car wrecks and one mountain pass later I was home. To clarify, Bend Oregon is not my home, but it was once for a short time... so I tell people I'm from there now. If you haven't been to Bend you're blowing it, unless you like the chaos of a major metropolitan city, in which case you definitely need to visit because you're sick. Check out this Instagram to prove my point.
Saturday morning came far too quickly, breakfast was not eaten, coffee was not located, and we certainly lacked the foresight to pack a lunch. We arrived at the lake just as the sun struck straight up and down, how convenient. I forgot how large Crater Lake was. Wikipedia said it was only 6 miles in diameter, multiply X 3.14 or C = πd and boom its only 18.84 miles around, that's cake, or pie. Imaging a NASCAR track with a pond in the middle. WRONG, hindsight being 20/20, dramatic landscape rarely equates to flat, cycle friendly roads. It was really around 40 miles, 5,200 ft elevation gain and about 7,900ft elevation at our highest peak, its no Everest "Into Thin Air" story but my lungs didn't know that. Don't check my Strava, I never exaggerate these kinds of things. Dramatic landscape does however translate to sheer cliffs and amazing photo opportunities which I capitalized on most of the time, after all I didn't self inflict carrying an extra 20 lbs of camera gear around the lake for nothing. Long assents lead to grand descents, so four wide we raced down every road hooting and hollering like a bunch of squawking chimps.
At one point towards the middle of the ride I left my helmet at a peak and had to turn around, climb back up and get it...my legs at that point didn't need the added exertion.
The whole event was regulated by the National Park, sponsored by Cliff Bar among others and on top of that Sep 26th was FREE because that was National Public Lands Day. If it were not for the pit crews at the top of each peak providing bananas, Cliff bars, water, and an excuse to stop,(speaking for the four of us) we would have been a sorry sight towards the finish line. It truly was an amazing tour around the lake, filled with beautiful vistas on nearly every switchback. I denied it at after the ride, but now that I've had time to think about it, I'm sure I'll be back again....
Check out the events website here.
It was a quick trip, a weekend warrior mission if you will. I came, I was conquered and I returned home, but not before visiting a few of my favorites on my retreat. First was Deschutes River trail just outside of town where we failed at waking up for a sunrise photo shoot and settled with an excursion up the river. Second was the Redmond skate park. My thought process here was that if I thoroughly beat myself up skateboarding a long car ride home would be welcomed, that is just what was accomplished. Third came a last minute right turn off Hwy 97 for Smith Rock. As if a small chunk of Utah was dropped square in the middle of Oregon, "Smith Rock State Park protects a sanctuary of majestic rock spires that rise above the winding Crooked River in central Oregon’s high desert. It is an internationally renowned destination for rock climbing" (Website and more info here). I only had a short time to enjoy the climbers paradise, so I saddled up my backpack, grabbed a bag of Cheetos, filled my ears with Radio Lab Podcast and hit the trail, I like to think I was the happiest person out there. Not a moment went by that I wasn't having a good time with dear friends, and at the end of the day that's all that matters.
Until next time...