Ride Around Tidbits Mtn.

Ever since The Logging Road Cyclist turned his attention to the Santiam-McKenzie divide, he has had his eye on this loop around Tidbits Mtn. Like the other rides in this area, it has beautiful forests, striking views both up into the High Cascades and down towards the Valley, and brutal climbs. This is a worthwhile loop, but eat your Wheaties for breakfast. At 46 miles and 10,000 feet of climbing, it takes some doing, and some energy. The ride starts in Canyon Cr., crosses to the upper reaches of the Calapooia, climbs up and over to the Blue River drainage, and then hauls itself back  to Canyon.

Navigation is blissfully simple: follow roads 2026, 2820, 1510,1509 and 2022 back to the start. At every critical junction there is a clear road sign. One could almost dispense with a map. It seems that the Willamette Forest is more fastidious about their signage than the Siuslaw, or perhaps the local fauna are just less inclined to steal or shoot to bits whatever signs the authorities choose to erect. The (for once) adequate road markings are a relief: the first ride around this loop took some serious insult to the Fundamental Axiom, given the long and steep nature of the descents one would have to reverse in the event of a retreat.

There are some pretty creeks along the way, the usual breathtaking steep canyons, and for TLRC on this trip, a cougar, who, having crossed the road in front of TLRC had stopped to sniff the daisies until he (TLRC) whistled, at which the cat took off. Of course, TLRC had to pedal up the hill past where the cat had taken off, always a bit unnerving, even knowing the cat was likely long gone.

This is an excellent and serious ride. Go do it!

Valley of the Calapooia, from the 2820 Rd., just prior to the cat.

A crucial junction, just post cat. Absent the unambiguous sign, TLRC might not have dropped off down this one. It’s a Long Way Down.

The steep country below the 1510. Tidbits Cr. in front, Blue River behind, Three Finger Jack somewhere back there.

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