Bald Mountain or Bust

After his ignominious retreat from Bald Mountain (cf. Bald Mountain FTMO) The Logging Road Cyclist was determined to prevail (gpx), and so the next Sunday found him again parked on Pedee Cr. Road, heading off into the mists. This time, he took the “main” road, BLM 9-6-20, aka Bald Mountain Road. According to the map this nipped neatly up to the spur that leads to the summit. TLRC was cheerfully anticipating no repeat of the last weekend’s unfortunate events.

As is common in Oregon’s Spectacular Coast Range, public (in this case BLM) land is dispersed among huge private parcels. Whoever owns this (and judging from the consistent signage it is one owner, but this may not be the case) uses it heavily.

Colorful and redundant signage along Bald Mountain Road.

TLRC pedalled up the South Fork of Pedee Cr. and soon passed the end of last week’s FTMO, but now he felt highly oriented, and once again marveled at how flawed “sense of direction” is as a tool for serious navigation.  The higher up the road climbed the thicker the rainy mist became. Although not as dark as on the previous ride, it was still much like riding a stationary bike. The next waypoint that TLRC was shooting for was the hook around the headwaters of the South Fork that he was following. Until there, TLRC sure the “main” road would fit his purposes.

Stay on the “main” road!

At this signless intersection, the right looked like the better direction, but the left looked way more “main”. After pondering a bit, TLRC took the road more travelled. And that made all the difference. For a while at least….

The next intersection with a BLM number was 9-7-13, which was clearly marked on the map as well. TLRC felt smug, as he now had a secure waypoint under his belt. So off he went to find the wonders ahead.

There were steel monsters looming in the mist:

Heavy Iron below 9-7-13.

And the rhythmically-bedded forearc sediments of the Tyee Formation:

Sediments of the Tyee Formation along 9-7-13.

DeSalvo admiring geology. Note extra muddy road and cripplingly low visibility.

This was all a lot of fun!  But TLRC could feel something was not right. In particular, there was no punishing climbing being done: indeed, the ride was kind of pleasant. TLRC dug out his handy pocket compass, and laughed aloud when it told him that the “main” road was heading roughly south, rather than west, as it was supposed to be.

At this point TLRC felt as if he had fallen into his own personal Bermuda Triangle. Normally TLRC homes in on his target verily like a Hellfire missile. Bewildered two weeks in a row! If not the mist and poor signage, is this an incipient indication of early-onset senility? Who is TLRC to deny it?

At any rate, it got sorted out. The fateful turn was in fact onto the unmarked 9-7-13. The signed 9-7-13 that gave TLRC such confidence was a parallel branch of the road he was following. All in all, a pretty minor loss. Regaining the “main” road, the punishing climbing began. There is a very nice and big falls on what TLRC would guess from a good map is the South Fork of the South Fork of Pedee Cr. Further along, is a hard-to-see-through-the-trees falls that marks the very tippy-top of the Luckiamute River that is fed by very pretty marshes. It’s always fun to get to the source of the local streams. Some more climbing leads to a pass and the obvious summit road on the right.

Gate across road to Bald Mountain summit. Note the interesting “yellow arrow” design of this gate. TLRC finds it esthetically pleasing, and wonders why such an obvious design is so rarely seen.

Just to be sure, TLRC dropped over the other side a little ways to locate the next intersection. On his way back a plague of hounds descended. Being partial to dogs, TLRC

Walker Hounds in Oregon’s Spectacular Coast Range.

asked if he could photograph and pet them, unsure if the latter activity would be acceptable to either hounds or master.  With one exception (who seemed afraid of the helmeted, lizard-skinned TLRC or his DeSalvo, or both)  the hounds wriggled with joy when petted (TLRC would have tugged on their jowls, but one must exercise restraint when on one’s own out in the back of beyond).  When TLRC allowed as to how they seemed more like pets than a pack of hunters, the hunter grunted back “They’re more pets than anything.”

After which, the summit. Pretty bleak in the fog. What could be seen of the big western bald was nice, but there is a lot of tree mortality, and trees-be-gone on the cleared off east side.

Dying trees along the crest of Bald Mountain.

Bald Mountain Summit.

Still, it’s an interesting area, and there are likely very good views when it’s not socked in. TLRC will return.