The Winter of our Discontent

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Where have you been all  of my (winter of 16-17) life?  Perfection on Grassy Mtn.

If you survived Western Oregon during this winter of 2016-17, then fair-play would have already provided you a settlement for therapists fees incurred…we are a grumpy and soggy bunch.  True, this pattern of eternal rain and bluster has provided an unusually robust season for skiing and TV watching, but the number of viable laps of how to train your dragon is finite, and we are all way beyond that by now.  Add in a bout of injuries, a few random aging events and a weeklong vacation to MOAB that was no less soggy than a normal trip to the Oregon coast, and we have a cabin-fever inducing cocktail of truly extraordinary proportions.

Then, on a recent Friday, all consulted forecasts predicted 100% chance of not rain, and TDM pounced, telling his boss to count him out, and calling around  for partners in solar collection experimentation.  There were any number of possible options, with a long list of list-rides ready to be crossed off, and consultation with Yetiwheel resulted in an agreement to go try an alleged classic del LoggingRoadCyclist:  the Grass Mountain Loop.  The short version; TDM feels much better now, despite the current pattern of returned and utter wetness.  Indeed, TLRC tells no lies this time around…this is a sweet little adventure close to home, and TDM is saved…for now.

Exhibit 1:  The ride up involves some pretty solid climbing, spaced by pleasant sections of relatively low angel cruising, mostly through second growth timber as the road rolls along streams, past waterfalls, and eventually onto the fabulous Easter Ridge.  Several times the promise of vistas in the form of light pouring through the trees taunt, but the first real views come at the clearcut shown above.  Don’t worry…it gets better, as evidenced by…

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Views of Marys Peak and the more distant Cascades, with most of the rough climbing behind us.

The steep stuff hit about the time TDM began thinking to himself that this climb seems like it should have been a little harder, but that is so often the case, no?  Luckily the brutal parts don’t last long, and  scenery like that shown above distracts much of the way.  Sometimes a clearcut can be a best friend.  About this time some patches of snow began to appear, and then, quite suddenly, the road ended.  At first TDM was perplexed, but a scant trail was found.

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The doubts improve the adventure in the end, no?

After a short tussle with some salal and nobles the first meadow is found (see below and the photo at top of page as well).

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The Honzo appears to like this breed of April Day a bit more than most recent versions. Cool geology and views of the summit (and the ocean) don’t hurt.

Some scanning of maps and head scratching took place from the above vantage, but then a series of cool decommissioned roads was found, and two miles later, the top was made.

After a snack and some mucking about playing in the snow and investigating other summit mysteries, the final descent begins by charging free-ride style through a meadow, then picking up an old road that winds a short distance south to a waiting logging road in a clearcut.  Max speeds and a few loose turns took TDM past a few big trees, and then finally back to his waiting car near the town of Alsea.

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Trailish qualities with a freedom to stray off-line.  So damn novel!

More info on this route is available through the Logging Road Cyclist’s awesome website, with a map of his route here.  There are several ways to connect the dots, but the route he shows  seems to be a good place to start.  Enjoy!

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