Day 4 – Trout Creek to Bog Hot Spring

A chronicle of my 7-day ride of the Oregon’s Big Country route.

Tuesday, July 16.

I slept well despite a bit more rain during. I stayed dry, but the condensation on the inside was pretty bad. I spent the better part of the morning using my camp towel to wipe down my tent and got everything laid out on the second tent footprint to get it dried out as the sun started to arc over the horizon.

So I filtered plenty to water, had a hearty oatmeal breakfast with Nutella, and got everything sorted, dried, and re-packed.

The climb out of the creek valley was pretty dry and immediately sunny.

Cows were flocked together in a threatening manner, but as I started yelping “Git git git!” They started moving along, kicking up dust as it retaliating.

It was up and down for a while, but mostly up. And UP. Never as high as the day before, but it was rocky, steep, and every so empty of humanity. I loved it.

Although I was approaching 50+ hours alone, I never felt lonely. I relished my time alone to get lost in my head and appreciate the utter silence that comes with the territory.

I stopped along the road for a while to take in the scenery, have a bike to eat, and apply some more sunscreen.

After a few hours of riding, the town of Denio started growing over the horizon.

Before I knew it, I was crossing the border into Nevada. A couple miles later and 6 cars passing I realized it had been 52 hours since I had any human contact.

I stopped at the Denio diner for a hearty lunch of burger, fries, a Coors lite, and a soda. It was heavenly to have so much food at once, a cold drink, and picked up some snacks to replenish my stash. Also picked up a couple of 1 litre bottles of water to replace the 1 gallon bottle. Far easier to pack them into my frame bag rather than dangling off the front.

A random goat said hello as I repacked some goodies onto my bike. It was so gross to watch it eat some cigarette butts and lick and ashtray clean.

Hour and a half later, I was on the road again. Quickly, “civilisation” faded out of view as the turn of remote double track welcomed me with open arms.

A short time later, I saw only a few more cars before getting to Bog Hot Springs. A quick soak later, I wandered a few hundred feet from the spring and set up camp.

I wasn’t too hungry at this point, so I ate a tuna packet for dinner, took the wrapper a hundred feet from where I was going to sleep for the night, then set up my tent on a nice flat spot.

As the sun went down, I noticed there were only 3 other vehicles within site, I did start to hear some animals in the distance: An upset donkey, some coyotes, and a lone cow. As I slipped into my pajamas, I started hearing something very close to my tent. Like a hiss-growl. It was freaky. I got out of my tent to grab my knife out of my frame bag, and see if I could spot what was threatening me. The sun was going down, but it was still quite bright out. Another hiss-grown. Where was it coming from!? I started flashing my headlamp around to see if any eyes were reflecting back at me, but that was also the very moment mosquitos decided to start swarming me.

Listen to this “growl” with headphones!

I jumped back into my tent, lights in one hand, knife in the other. It was getting kind of freaky that something I could not identify was making monster noises just outside my tent. I was pretty sure it wasn’t a dog, coyote, cow, or donkey. It had to be a bobcat or mountain lion. I did get it recorded on my phone at least once. It was so quiet out but it picked up. After 30 minutes or so, the growling stopped, but my blood was pumping so had a difficult time getting back to sleep.

As the sun completely disappeared and the moon rose from the opposite side of the horizon, I eventually found myself returning into a much needed slumber.

Although freaked out by the unknown and tired beyond belief. Today was a good day.


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