Day 3 – Willow Creek to Big Trout Creek
A chronicle of my 7-day ride of the Oregon’s Big Country route.
Monday, July 15
My morning was rather uneventful. I felt well rested, sore, but ready to put on some miles. It was going to be a very long day of mostly climbing to the next stop on my route plans. I had a good breakfast, filtered enough water to top off my bottles, and packed up just as the sun was starting to peak through the clouds that rolled in over-night.
After a few hours, it truly started to feel alone. I hadn’t seen another human face in 24 hours ever since leaving Alvord Hot Springs, and cell service was starting to cut out here and there. It was rather desolate, lacking any sign of civilization save for the long stretches of barb wire dotted by thin posts. I was alone at last, but not at all lonely.
The climbing seemed relentless. It was a gradual incline that didn’t want to quit punctuated by short but steep climbs that required me to actually push my bike. It was on this day I really started to notice the thinner air and how it affected me.
As I neared the top of the climb for the day, the sky started to thicken with clouds and the scent of rain started to fill my nostrils. As a few drops came down and I put the rain over on my backpack, a single ATV cruised with a nod. This would be the only human for another day.
The descent along the creek was fast and rocky. My brakes started to feel weird and a stench of burning emanated from the calipers. Here I realized that I failed to bring extra brake pads should one or more burn out. Oops.
As I pulled into what would be my camp, the rain started coming down a bit more. It was a mad rush to get a jacket on and set up my tent. Quickly, everything got a bit damp as the temperature plummets just inside “chilled”. No time like the present to test the water resistance of a new-ish tent.
But I buckled down, got everything set up to have dinner then called it a night. It was yet another exhausting day. The hush of the creek put me to sleep within seconds.
Even though it was only 30 miles, it was still a good day.