Oxbow Bike Camping, 8-9 May 2017

And whaddaya know, some nice weather for once! After the previous week’s summerlike weather, we had a day of rain, then it dried out and warmed up again. In fact, from Saturday May 6 through Wednesday May 10–the longest streak of dry weather we had since, ugh, January!*

I did manage to snag a “three day” weekend from Sunday through Tuesday. Initially I planned on doing something ambitious, like going to the coast. But my work week was especially long and hard, and I had Pedalpalooza deadlines which took up Sunday. So I thought about doing something like a two day tour using the Banks-Vernonia and Crown Zellerbach trails, like I did in April 2014. But even that was going to take more time then I could afford. But I still wanted to bike camp! So something close…Battle Ground would be nice and quick, but I had already been there in January. Same with Stub Stewart. And I didn’t feel like going to McIver or Champoeg. So…Oxbow? The closest destino? Sure, and I hadn’t been there in a year. And going to Oxbow even on a Monday night means I could snag someone else to come along. Stasia was game (as she always is when it comes to a quick overnight to Oxbow), so we would meet down there!

I still had stuff to do in the morning, so I didn’t get going until early afternoon. But Oxbow is close enough that I can do that–If I took the MAX light rail to the east end of the line, it’s less than a ten mile ride. I opted to ride the whole way via the long way, as I felt like a good ride. I hadn’t ridden the length of the Springwater Corridor Trail in awhile, so it was nice to see everything in full summer mode. And it definitely felt like summer, even though it was maybe 72F/22C–I was definitely not used to “the heat” yet, especially after such a long and cold winter!

The way out was about 35 miles, using a route that was over half bike path, and skirting most of the rush hour traffic in Gresham too. I got down into the Sandy River Canyon around 6:30 pm and found the campsite Stasia was at. There wasn’t that many people down here, which was nice. Come summer, it’s hard to find an empty spot even in the middle of the week unless you book it in advance. The campsite was close enough to the river to hear it all night, so nice and peaceful! (Except for the deer who wandered through, so casual!)

After dinner and a bit of a fire, Stasia and I returned to our respective tents. I decided to keep the rain fly off so I can see stars.** It dipped into the mid-40’s overnight, but I stayed mostly warm with my 0C down bag, liner, and pad. I overinflated the pad and pillow, though, so I was a bit stiff in the morn. I always do this during my first couple camping trips of the season, though. Live and learn.

It was a casual morn of making breakfast and looking at the river. Stasia had the day off, so she went off to wander around the woods, so I took off solo after 10 am. Getting out of the Sandy River Canyon is never fun or easy, though. While the climb is about a mile and a half, the first short section is about 13% grade! And the rest is in the 8-10% range. Once over the hump, it’s a pretty flat to rolling ride home. Once again, I decided to ride the whole way home, though a more direct way. However, I did stop a bunch on the way, so I didn’t get home until evening. That’s the problem with a close-by camping destination and you have all day to get home: What’s the hurry? 😉

I can’t wait for more nice weather bike adventures and more bike camping!

*And that January “dry” streak didn’t count, since it was after a snowstorm, and cold. So it just meant that the snow stuck around too long.

**I did consider using my rarely-used bivy sack, but was worried that it’d be too buggy at Oxbow. It wasn’t.


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