Sunday I rode a loop up and over the Cascades via Forest Service roads, then back on Highway 26. The route began in Sandy under cloudy and misty skies. Although it was warm and somewhat muggy, the air was damp so I had my waterproof pants on. It was warm riding but that’s better than getting soaked. I topped off my gas tank in Estacada and already needed to pull out the liner from my Aerostich Darien. Cooler, I headed up the Clackamas River Highway toward Ripplebrook.
See the full route here.
Although I had a few rain drops on my face shield as I passed by Promontory Park on the North Fork Reservoir of the Clackamas River, I could see breaks in the clouds and within a half dozen miles I had sunshine, which stayed with me for the remainder of the trip. Riding conditions were perfect, actually. Temperatures were in the upper 60s to low 70’s, the pavement was dry, and there was beautiful sunshine highlighting the rapids of the Clackamas River to my right.
At Ripplebrook I continued south on FS46 toward Detroit. I had to meep-meep my way past several people walking in the middle of the road at Austin Hot Springs, but once I was safely past them, I continued on to the junction with FS42 / Pinhead Creek Road. This is a paved one-lane forest service road that’s in remarkable condition, albiet narrow in many spots. The road climbs in elevation nearly 2,000 feet, up into the high Cascades.
It was getting warm so I pulled off onto a gravel fire road and took a break. Water and granola bar inside me, I stripped down to my skivies right along the road side and put on my denim Draggin’ Jeans — much cooler than my insulated waterproof Fieldsheer pants! Re-dressed in cooler attire, I continued on, joining up with Skyline Road.
At nearly 4,000 feet, I saw a sign for Summit Lake, 1 mile, and pulled off for some exploring. 100 yards up the road I saw a pickup pulled over into the brush and a wooly bearded man standing amidst the bushes with a white bucket in his hand — picking huckleberries. As I slowly rode toward Summit Lake on the narrow gravel road, I looked at the huckleberry bushes to see if they were ripe yet. Although I saw a few red berries, they’re not yet ready for picking. Maybe in another week or two I’ll get up there and pick a gallon.
I was soon at Summit Lake. A couple of cars were parked in the unimproved campground, some packing up to head home, back to the weekly grind in the city, no doubt. I parked the bike and took some pictures, then headed back up the gravel road to rejoin Skyline Road.
Skyline passes by the entrance to Timothy Lake, but rather than detour to the lake I kept heading Northeast to hook up with Highway 26 and the slow-moving traffic of everyone heading back to Portland from recreating east of the Cascades.
After getting home I gave my bike an oil change (31,430 miles on the odometer) because it deserves it.