Tour without a goal – 29 July 2014


Traveling this high
mountain trail,
delighted by violets

thunder on the mountain
When the weather gods displeasure falls on you the clouds roll in on the descents and are whisked away to reveal the hot sun on the climbs. Today was one of those days where while it dawned clear and warm clouds rolled in during the initial part of the ascent. The first dozen miles or so were gently up hill, in the woods along the Santiam River. Then he clouds rolled in and there was even some drizzle. I have to admit I enjoyed this quite a bit. When the sun came out I left the trees and was in this hot eerie wasteland of volcanic slag. It was fairly short lived but with the red pumice lining e road and the hot sun it was a dramatic shift. At the junction with hwy 20 the route begins to climb in earnest, the clouds were gone and the sun high in the sky. I’d done 1000′ in fourteen miles now I’d ascend over 1500′ in just over four miles.

red pumice
black rocks vomited out of the earth
pop click-click-click of grasshoppers
valley of burnt trees
under the naked sun

In 2003 the B&B Complex fire ravaged this region and as I climbed this winding road along the valley it was nought be dead trees poking up like burnt matches in spare undergrowth. This was a slow, hot few miles and this road was plenty trafficked. As I reached the summit – only indicated with a PCT crossing – black clouds were in the neighboring valley and I began to hear thunder. I saw a lightening strike over by the bare, pyramidal peak of Mt. Washington and a cooler breeze began to stir. So of course it began to rain on the descent. But happily not much beyond a drizzle. After a fast six mile descent it became gently rolling hills with the breeze at my back all the way to Sisters.


Sisters is a well turned out tourist town that serves all the skiing, mountain biking, hiking and water sport of this region. A bit of a western theme it is one of these tourist towns that has an aesthetic and clearly making money. I rode to the edge of town where there is supposed to be a camp and there I saw a big group of cycles setting up tents in be field: must be the place. Well it turned out to be the Mid-Valley Cycling Club out of Corvalis on a rest day from their 9 day tour in these regions. Well they invited me to stay with them and how could I pass that up? I’d arrived early into town so was able to do laundry, go out to dinner and talk a lot about touring with the club members. After the sun set the thinnest possible waxing moon set over the mountains amidst the traces of painted clouds.

on the edge of town
the thinnest sliver of moon
sets over the mountains

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