The first time The Logging Road Cyclist tried to ride up Grass Mountain, he started from Hwy 34 at Yew Creek and rode up the 13-7-10 into the NF Alsea drainage. He failed to summit for the usual reasons (a multiplicity of roads and a general confusion about where he was and where he should go at any given time), but he was pleased to have gotten into this new drainage which had always intrigued him. The usual flurry of map scanning followed, and soon a loop all the way up the NF, over to Harlan on Big Elk Cr. a grunt up and over the high shoulder of Mary’s Peak and back to Hwy 34 was pieced together. The ride is named for Feagles Cr. where one descends into the Harlan Valley. At 40 miles and 4500 feet of climbling, it’s not as hard as they come, but it’s a tough and long climb out of Harlan, and one needs to be careful that the snow doesn’t block the high country towards the end of the ride up on Mary’s Peak, or there could be a long slog back around the loop.
The ride starts out with a bang on a steep and rocky road, but soon settles down into a moderate climb to the rim of the NF drainage, where there is a good overlook.
The road then heads down towards the river, hairpinning around Parker Cr. on the way.
These were harsh Spring conditions with the weather cycling from rain to hail to snow to sun and back. Between the temperature and moisture fluctuations and the constant change from uphill to downhill, it was hard stay warm. Heading down Parker Cr. towards the river, both D. and TLRC felt a lot colder than they thought they should in April.
Once arriving at the NF Alsea an easy grade leads up to Kilickitat Lake, near the headwaters. Here, the duo met a couple of fishermen heading out into the lake with flippers, floats and poles. D. allowed as to how that was a pretty devoted thing to do given the weather and proceeded to chat them up (D. fishes, suffice to say). Getting a dose of his own medicine, TLRC felt briefly the pain that must flit behind D.’s forehead everytime TLRC pops up with something like “Wow! Those sediments look cooked. I wonder if this could be near the bottom of the big Mary’s Peak sill, etc etc.”, and inflicts yet another pause in the ride. Idly looking around to hide his shame, TLRC’s gaze fell on a valuable prize: A whole jar of colored cable ties by the side of the road! D. agreed to carry them on his beautiful handmade (by him!) front rack, and went ahead and hooked it on with……cable ties!! D., who has an odd sense of humor, claimed they shut out most of TLRC’s “conversation” for the rest of the ride, and communicated this by saying every once in a while: “TLRC, I can’t hear you over the rattling of the cable ties!”, and then laughing really really hard.
Moderate climbing leads out of the NF and down to Feagles Cr. on a long and sometimes dangerously rocky downhill.
At the bottom of Feagles Cr. road, one is in the inhabited Harlan Valley which contains various points of interest.
From the end of Harlan Valley, it’s 7 miles and 2300 feet up to the top of the climb.
Near the top, one crosses Parker Cr. again, a couple of thousand feet higher.
Once the pavement is reached, it is NOT all down hill. There’s a bit of it, and then a deceptively steep climb before the sled ride back to Hwy 34 and the start of the ride down the way.