The Logging Road Cyclist has spent a lot of time riding both north and south of the Siletz drainage, but not much right in it. There is a large area north of the Blodgett-Eddyville Highway and south of the Laurel Mountain Massif that TLRC has visited, but not really tried to learn in detail. He and the oldest buddy of them all, Stumpy, once did a Hoskins-Valsetz-Logdsen-Hoskins loop that was a tiring 75 miles, and of course, back in the olden days, TLRC used to go paddle the Siletz once a year or so, and he ran the NF Siltez a couple of times. The impression left by these trips was that the Siletz drainage is sort of a clearcut Bermuda Triangle, a region logged enough to look like the Somme in 1916 with a road system so complex and unmarked that one entered, got blendered around in it for a few hours, and then spit out, hopefully somewhere recognizable enough that it was possible to find a way home. Add to this the absence of name-brand peaks (TLRC, that well-known braggart, loves to tell folks at parties “Yes, just the other day I rode my bike up Condenser Peak, the 12th highest point in the Coast Range” and bask in the resulting blank look), and the reader may get an inkling of why TLRC has not spent much time riding around the Siletz.
Of late, however, TLRC has felt some stirrings of interest in this area. For example, on his local training rides up the back side of McCulloch Peak from Sulphur Springs, he has noted a substantial peak looming above Kings Valley. Straight in line with Price Cr. this turns out to be Little Grass Mountain, a nice peak with a meadow at the top, and no slouch at nearly 2700′. Also, TLRC’s buddy D. has been poking around out there lately and has been agitating for some bike time in the area.
Thus the ever-methodical TLRC began to weave a web of known roads around and across this new area by taking a bite out of the southwest corner. The plan was to head up Big Rock Cr. Road, maybe over to Valsetz, then back around somehow to descend the ironically-named Sunshine Cr. to the Siletz R., whence the truck.
As TLRC expected, things started out inauspiciously.
But after a while, while heading up a steep bit next to a narrow part of the creek, TLRC realized that not only was he rubbing shoulders with a gabbro outcrop, but that it was juxtaposed (across a small creek) with a nice example of Tyee sediments.
Interesting indeed! Dropping down to the big 5-way intersection, TLRC took stock and headed off for Valsetz. Navigation was purely by road intersection and topography since the only road signs (which were clear and abundant) were private timber company designators, and thus as useful to TLRC as if they were in Swahili, and there was not a section marker to be found. The maps indicated that Chandler Pass should be traversed, but TLRC soon realized that he was just wandering around in the clouds and probably was as likely to loop around to some unknown swamp as he was to make it to Valsetz. Retracing his steps back to the 5-way, he headed off down Sunshine Cr., feeling sure that with one of the biggest rivers in the Coast Range for a backstop, he’d get to the Siletz for sure.
On the way, more fascinating rocks:
Off the photo to the right, and at the very tippy top of the quarry are Tyee sediments. The massive grey-black rock comprising the bulk of the quarry face are Siletz basalt, and the light brown exposure on the upper left of the quarry wall is our old friend Mr. Gabbro. While these sorts of contacts may be common, TLRC hasn’t run into them.
Finally, the Siletz. The visual shock of this cut-over valley was mitigated by the undiminished beauty of the Siletz itself and the peacefully soaring bald eagle above it.
Here is where TLRC went today.