Coming into Focus

Like a pair of Jack Russels with a meaty bone, The Logging Road Cyclist and his buddy D. kept gnawing away at The Valsetz Triangle last weekend. As will be seen, there is a method beneath their frenzy, and much has been accomplished in a few weekends.

As so often lately, they had a beautiful day, 22 degrees in Philomath and bright. This time TLRC drove and got his nonfat latte from Hooters. Up past Hoskins they found a suitable sunny spot, parked, suited up and hustled up the icy road. A mechanical glitch held them for a bit. D., who is a crackerjack bike mech has lately been less than fastidious about his maintenance and has been plagued by minor problems. There are reasons for this that are best not dwelt upon here. This morning the circlip and post fell out of his Paul top lever which distressed him no end. TLRC empathized, but empathy vanished in the face of sheer mechanical aptitude:

Allen wrench qwik-fix

There were two objectives for this ride, both modest, in keeping with the ignominious thrashing at the hands of Fall Cr.-Hatchery Rd. last weekend. The first was to complete the Big Rock Cr.- Valsetz traverse begun by TLRC (cf. Nosing Around the Siletz), the second to climb up to Green Mtn and locate their bike tracks from the trip up the other side (cf.  Fundamental Axiom? Ahem.)

The first turning point (to the right) was marked by a spectacular example of art logeaux, most commonly manifest as big rocks balanced on tree stumps, but here, unusually, by a tire hoist upon a snag.

They crossed over to the Siletz divide without problem, and with one minor deviation soon found themselves atop Chandler Pass, the gateway to Valsetz Lake. D., rightfully wary of violating the Fundamental Axiom yet again, asked TLRC how he would know they were at the Lake. TLRC told him there would be a cloud of “little trees”, he thinking of the dense stands of young alder that have taken over the old lakeshore. For some reason, D. found this beyond humorous, and kept chuckling “Little trees! Oh, that’s distinctive, oh, yeah.” until TLRC told him he had had enough fun.

D. contemplates the belt of “little trees” that unambiguously identifies the edge of Lake Valsetz.

After completing their navigational tasks and watching a huge Sikorsky helicopter swing across the valley from Fanno, they headed back over to the Luckiamute drainage and completed their loop at the tire art. Easily done, this excursion showed the pair that  a judicious bit of downhill exploring could yield big results.

Branching left from the tire tree, they began the climb up Green. Shortly they encountered a pair of hunters who stopped to ask what on earth TLRC and D. were doing. “Same thing as you!”, chortled D., “wandering around out here, out of the house!” The hunters laughed and D. (fellow stopper of hearts) chatted them up about hunting, and in particular, about all the elk scat he had been seeing on the last couple of rides. Their ears pricked up at this, and soon all four were around the hood, pointing at the map.

While D. engaged the younger about hunting, TLRC talked about the demise of modern youth with the older, a retired teacher. The usual questions about biking gear and gears and how steep of a hill could be climbed on the bikes followed. The hunters also told TLRC and D. that they had seen bicycle tracks up ahead, theirs from last week, welcome news. The parting shot of the elder was to TLRC: “How much did that bike cost?” TLRC avoided the question by pointing out that D. had built his bike, but the elder pressed the point. When TLRC told him the (admittedly obscene) estimate, the elder shouted “I knew it! I knew it!”, and all parted ways, warmed by the encounter.

The road up to Green Mtn. got progressively steeper, and TLRC, following the uphill, led them astray for a bit. Back on course, they found one of the steepest pitches of good road to date.

This horizontal shot from not very far away shows how steep this hill is by how far overhead TLRC is with respect to D.

After grunting up to known territory, they had completed a path from north to south over Green Mtn., and headed back to the truck, well satisfied with their day.

What has been accomplished by these three successive weekends in the Triangle? An impressive list. From only the crudest knowledge of the road net in the area, D. and TLRC now have the pleasant Chandler Pass Lollypop (probably 25 miles, ignoring the side trips, and maybe 35 if started from  Hoskins) and the following potential loops, all of which start in Hoskins, and return there via Nashville-Summit:

1) Over Green Mtn (42 miles)

2) To Big Rock Cr. Rd. (46 miles)

3) Via Sunshine Cr. (60 miles)

4) To Valsetz and down the Siletz (70 miles)

The above mileages are approximate, and measured from the TOPO! software. Since Hoskins is only 20 miles from Corvallis, this is a lot of big riding, close to town. Burly purists could climb over Mac Forest and down Price Cr. and do these without driving at all. Logging road gold.


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