Monday, May 2, 2011

Commencement of VeloDirt Bikepacking

"Wilderness and motors are incompatible and the former can best be experienced, understood and enjoyed when the machines are left behind where they belong -- on the superhighways and in the parking lots, on the reservoirs and in the marinas." -Edward Abbey

If my Revelate Designs bags could talk, they would have been very vocal about their time spent stored away, not being used for their intended purpose. School, weather, lack of riding partners and life has created many delays-but the stars finally aligned for Donnie, Nick and I to head out into the Oregon wilderness for some good old fashioned adventure.

Being my first bike-packing expedition outside of some trips around Decorah, the process of assembling my kit was both exciting and stressful. (I will dedicate a different post to what I carried in the future when I solidify some more items) The weather reports indicated that we had little chance of being rained on, but the temperatures were expected to be below freezing. My mind raced between what to pack or not, and I ended up carrying more than I needed, which was fine as this trip was intended to figure our kits out.
It felt nice to be out in the back country. Rolling through farmland on hard packed dirt always reminds me of home. If only Iowa had those mountains in the distance....

Nick in the middle of our ascent up to Barney Reservoir.
Nick and Donnie handled the maps-I was just along for the ride.

Less intimidating than a black bear....

Extra time at camp allowed us to experiment with cooking setups

Prime campsite above the valley

Enjoying the warmth of a fire before settling in for the night. If only I had the ability to capture a photo of the magnificent stargazing experience we had......

We awoke to partially frozen water bottles and sun creeping over the treeline

Following the Trask River back down to sea level

Donnie and Nick getting more road information

This trip was a good indication of what gear worked for us and what didn't. Although we moved at a very conservative pace and took lots of pictures, my body felt great both days on the bike and I had no pain while riding my loaded Fargo. Two days spent outside of the city relishing the scenery and beauty of the Oregon coast range provided me with much of what I needed to balance out life with school and my desire for adventure.

For the official VeloDirt recap see Donnie's post here.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Weekend

I've had a few fairly quiet weeks with school and the crappy Oregon winter weather lingering, but this weekend the clouds parted for some well-timed sunshine. A friend from school and I planned a bike ride on Friday after class in the Colombia River Gorge. It felt nice to finally be riding in bike shorts, short sleeve shirt, and sunglasses for the first time since October. A nice 40 mile ride in those conditions with a few thousand feet of climbing was a fitting way to spend the afternoon.
Luckily, this was one of those weekends that just kept getting better. On Saturday morning Aj, Margie and I headed out for a bike ride up Council Crest under some perfectly clear blue skies and views of four peaks greeted us at the top of the hill.

Next on tap for the day was a trip out to Ozone, a place to rock climb across the river in Washington. Learning how to boulder (a style of rock climbing) has been a fun activity to do indoors this winter and I never thought I would get into actual rock climbing outdoors. On Saturday, with chalk barely keeping my palms dry from the constant sweating, I completed my first ascent up a rock face. I struggled with fully trusting myself and the equipment, which is hard when this sport is totally dependent on yourself to get to the top, but like anything in life it requires more technique, practice, and experience .

Climbing has many similarities to mountain biking, where you're getting a killer workout and don't seem to be noticing because you're so focused on what your doing-totally present in the moment. On both a bike and rock, each requires a combination of strength, balance and creativity, being fully aware of where your body is and learning how to quickly adapt to what varying terrain has to offer. Personally, it's also about being committed to the experience and discovering the natural world around you. It can bring you lots of different places and provide you with a unique perspective of the world below you, except that world is a lot closer on a bike!

Hopefully there will be more biking and climbing weekend trips in store sooner than later!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spring Break

For most of the past two weeks, I spent surprisingly little time "relaxing" during my two week break from school. Since it was my first school break spent in Oregon, I decided that I better make the best of my time and spend it outdoors with people whose company I enjoy. My Dad and Ally were able to make the trip out West and I figured regardless of rain, we better explore as much of the Portland area as possible. Aj and I tried our best to plan an active two weeks of hiking, biking, rock-climbing, skiing and of course, eating (which deserves its own blog post)! Some of my time (not enough) during all of this was to capture some memories by photograph but I quickly realized my need to develop some photography skills, so bear with me as I play around with my photos. I uploaded some pictures from our adventures around Oregon including hikes in Forest Park, McKenzie River Trail and Silver Falls State Park. After our hike along the McKenzie river trail we were able to relax at the Terwilliger Hot Springs and after the others we were able to enjoy soaking at the Kennedy School in Portland a few blocks from our house.

It was a fantastic way to spend break and is much better served by pictures than words......I am already planning for my next break back home in Iowa during June! Until then, I am going to enjoy the lingering bliss from an awesome break to carry me though the next quarter of classes.......

Sunday, February 13, 2011