Table Mountain Summited!

The Logging Road Cyclist can state, without fear of protesting too much, that he has not OCD. Not to say that TLRC doesn’t run a tight ship. Far from it! No clattering derailleurs, rubbing fenders or spectrally creaking frames for him; furthermore, summits once tried must be reached, loops explored must be closed.

Lately, the big radio tower atop Table Mountain has been sneering at TLRC. Visible from most anywhere, it is the symbol of Summit for that peak. TLRC has been close a couple of times. On the first trip, he made the grueling climb up from Drift Cr., only to wander gormlessly around the quarries, lacking any sense of where the tower might be. About a year ago, this time armed with a route to the tower gleaned from the Google Earth, he didn’t get that far, but, citing feebleness and a late start only got to within a half mile or so of the quarries (cf. Table Mtn).

Thus it was that today, in order to enjoy the unseasonably balmy weather and also to take a break from the Valstz Triangle salt mine, TLRC aimed himself once again at the tower atop Table Mtn.

It was a truly beautiful day. No tights. The air went from chilly to spring-like warmth and back again. Ice in the shadows, summertime out of them. Big doings since TLRC’s last trip here. A new logging setup pulling out what was left of the trees at the top of Grant Cr. A lot of new, heavy (4″-minus) rock all around, mostly on new landings, indicating that  Savage Cr. is next.

In good order TLRC got to the base of the big climb, had a rest and a snack and hauled himself up. No stops, in spite of the gorgeous views up the Coast Range, over to the Cascades and down to the surf at Newport. A little side trip to view the quarries and pick up a sample of the nepheline syenite (a blue-tinged, whitish rock used on all the roads around there), and then a jaunt up the obscure road to the summit.

The tower is really big. It doesn’t stand out so much from a distance for nothing:

Table Mtn. Tower.

The views from here are, well, arboreal, and while it’s a nice forest, if you want a real view, stop lower down.

Looking NW from base of tower, Table Mtn. Summit.

Doing this ride again made TLRC realize how much he enjoys it. It’s a grind at 27 miles and nearly 6000′ of climbing, and there are a lot of clear cuts that would make great posters for environmentalists making a point about what not to do. On the other hand, the views, great descents and climbs, feeling of remoteness and pockets of surprising beauty make this a wonderful ride.




TLRC Apparel!

Here at The Logging Road Cyclist, we value a strong sense of community. Further to that end, we are at the design stage of our own line of TLRC Apparel. For a first run, we are considering a hard-rock themed line of black, 100% cotton American-made Tees and hoodies, with front art thus:

and on the back:

Order yours today, and become part of the TLRC Family!

(TLRC acknowledges D., Marketing Genius, for this idea.)

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.


Fundamental Axiom? Ahem.

Following The Logging Road Cyclist’s last foray into the Valsetz Triangle (as TLRC will henceforth refer to the region roughly defined by Valsetz-Logsden-Kings Valley, cf. Nosing Around the Siletz), TLRC’s buddy D. got all fired up again. Perhaps he thought this was all his idea (well, it was, really) and felt scooped. At any rate, rather than his usual passive self, willing to follow TLRC to the ends of the clearcuts, D. took charge and set them off to Green Mtn., plan in mind and map in hand. TLRC, long fascinated by the long ridge of Green Mtn. took little convincing.

The day was not encouraging. An inversion had trapped their Valley homes beneath a mantle of nearly-freezing fog and they hoped to escape by heading towards the coast and up towards the sky. In Philomath, D., who was driving, rather callously refused TLRC his non-fat latte at The Human Bean, and forced him to get coffee to go at the CD&J. Yuck.

Soon they reached the base of Green Mtn. Road and headed up. The ride was surprisingly pleasant along a forested ridge that soon climbed out of the fog and into brilliant sunshine.

Sun and trees, Green Mtn. Road.

Besides being pretty, the landscape was liberally sprinkled with road signs of all types, both alphabetical and decipherable numerics. An embarrassment of riches!

Prophetically, TLRC remarked to D. how nice it was to have such tight nav for a change. D. was really on the money up here, and led them up an indistinct road,

which he hoped would lead to the summit of Green, as indeed it very nearly did. As it was, they got as close as they felt necessary, and saw where to go the next time. They were dazzled by their loge seats above the mysterious Valsetz Triangle. Hounds bayed in the distance.

The peaks above the Valsetz Triangle (l-r): Chandler, Stott, Sugarloaf, Fanno, Laurel

Valley fog creeping over Cougar Ridge, Bald Mtn. on left..

They wandered around the summit area a bit trying to locate a road or two that were on the map, but not actually present, pondered heading down into the Triangle but demurred, citing The Fundamental Axiom, and decided to take a different road back down to the Lodsgen road.

A tributary of the main road they had come up is Fall Cr.-Hatchery Rd. It is clearly marked on the map D. had. Moreover, there is a hatchery on the Logsden road that both TLRC and D. knew. At the top of this road are TWO (2!) signs, one a post with the road name in big block letters, and a BLM sign with the same number as marked on the map, right there with the road name. Finally, every drainage on the south side of Green Mtn drains down to the target Logsden Rd.,  so the chance of going far astray seemed remote. Astute readers may get the sense that TLRC is indulging in a bit of ex ante whining.

With this “tight nav”, off they went, casually whizzing downhill, enjoying the well earned rest and the great day. Soon, as always, the road split into to equally-sized parts. Which to take? Both went downhill and everything at this point (they reasoned) must surely head to the Logdsen road. They went left on the most heavily used branch and once again settled into their happy downhill run. D. started to sing Powderfinger and TLRC joined in, surprised at how much fun it was to be casual, just this once, about dropping off a big ridge.

After a mile or two and hundreds of feet of descent, the road ended in a landing, as in dead-end. The singing stopped. Off came the jackets and gloves, back up they climbed. It was steep.

At the intersection, it was clear which way to go this time, and off they went, but not enjoying it quite so much. They descended into a maze of roads, some named obscurely, others not at all. Another promising (and apparently well-travelled) road led off and they took it rather than face another climb on a different branch. A mile later, another landing, another steep climb back out. Halfway up, they stopped for a rest and to gather their wits. It was 2PM. They had the light and the strength for one more failure, and then things might stop being funny. Here, D. did the unthinkable: he pulled out his iPhone and fired up the GPS. At first, TLRC was horrified at this sacrilege: GPS on a TLRC ride? How dare he? Turning away, TLRC refused to have anything to do with this, while thinking that maybe this wasn’t “his” ride, but “D.’s” ride as well and he should, well, mellow out. But then D. started muttering about how they were about a mile away from the road home, and he could see which way to go, and like Adam to the apple, or a bug to a bug zapper, TLRC was drawn in.

The “correct” version of Fall Cr.-Hatchery Rd. was closed to everything but foot traffic. Big signs said so, and they figured that “foot” pretty much meant “cross bike” in this context. Soon it was clear that they were on the right road and very close to pavement. Then the fun really stopped.

In this rare photo, TLRC is seen negotiating a deep washout filled with various sticker berries on Fall Cr.-Hatchery Rd.


In another rare action shot, TLRC emerges from the berry thickets and washout. Note “Road Closed” sign indicating that this is (was) in fact the road. There is also a stop sign facing the other way. Folks actually used to use this.

Hmmmmm. A bit embarrassing for the boys, eh? Getting lost and all. But, really, honestly, this is the first time TLRC has violated the Fundamental Axiom in a long, long time, and he won’t be doing it again soon. The lesson is this: In the Coast Range, on a bike, it doesn’t take very many small mistakes, or very long, to get into a situation one will regret. Had this happened on the other side of Green Mtn., where they had contemplated exploring on this short winter’s day, things could have become very much more unpleasant. They rejected that because it was obviously unwise, and then were lulled by clear road signs that didn’t signify reality. Ahem.