“Perhaps”, thought The Logging Road Cyclist, as he climbed a very tricky 15% slope covered with ball-bearing like 1″ gravel, “things aren’t so bad after all, TLRC-wise”. The climb required a nice judgement of balance, front-to-back, to keep traction on the rear and weight on the front, and a certain amount of torque just to keep things going. He felt strong, and the doing of it wasn’t causing him a lot of thought.
Moreover, earlier in the day he had managed to pack quickly and not forget anything. Further down the road, the weather deteriorated, and it was a lot like the old days: all buttoned up with all his gear on, munching a bar to keep warmer.
He had decided to climb up Bald Mtn from the backside, up the Luckiamute. The routes up Bald Mtn were vague in his mind for some reason. On almost all of his routes, TLRC could pretty much visualize the path, and could likely do fine without a map. Not Bald Mtn though. Funky BLM map in hand off he went to spiral around the peak, spin off to Valsetz and arrow back to the truck.
The first part, up the river to the first view of the summit was easy.
Beyond here, finding the way is a bit tricky, but there are BLM boundary markers and section markers that bolstered TLRC’s shaky memory. There are some great views east across the Valley and a high waterfall below the road that pops out of a culvert. The final part of Bald Mtn Rd. heads about west and is a lot steeper than TLRC recalled. There are good views south and west through here.
TLRC had intended both to climb the peak, and then circumnavigate it. As to the former, the weather was deteriorating, and, having climbed up there a couple of times already in zero-zero, wet and cold conditions, he gave that a miss. This chink in the armor weakened his resolve and this is where he had the old self doubts. But maybe it was time to have a new, untortured TLRC, one that just had fun? That sounded fine, actually. But in this moment of pondering what to do, he noticed an old idea on the map, a direct route up from the west, certainly not something to be descended today in contravention of The Fundamental Axiom, rather A Project. He liked this. He felt some of his old energy return.
Heading back to the Luckiamute road, he found some some sketchy climbs, and encountered a family out for a day of fun in the clearcuts, wandering around in the rain with their rottweillers, both of whom charged TLRC from about 100 feet out. They seemed friendly enough, but…and they turned out to be. These people weren’t taking any chances: besides the livestock, the cute young Coast Range gal in the group was packing a 9mm (lefty!)
Driving back towards Hoskins, trying to get warm, TLRC noticed his friends The Little Black Pigs who had shamed him into eschewing ham last fall. Once again they came running to greet TLRC just as they had when last they induced so much guilt in him for his eating of pig. There were a lot more of them today. TLRC was glad that he was doing his part to keep them around and thriving.