How about that weather? Right now we’ve had a persistent ridge of high pressure since about last Tuesday (Oct 9). It looks like it will persist until at least next Tuesday. Two weeks of dry with no rain in sight. Ridgezilla.
I remember the last time we had a persistent ridge like this in October. It was 2013. I was happy about this nice weather, as September was abnormally wet. Plus, this was just after breaking up with April and living in a house where I didn’t really want to be. Since I hadn’t camped that much that summer due to my low mood, I jumped at the opportunity, going on a bike camping trip for Three. Consecutive. Weeks!
Now I knew I wouldn’t be doing that this year.* Despite having more “free time” since I work only two days a week at the hostel, I also had projects I want to work on. Maybe a quick overnight, somewhere close? I thought briefly of doing a Banks-Vernonia/Crown-Zellerbach Trails loop with camping in Vernonia. CZ would be fun, but this would take the better part of two days, plus I hate biking on US 30. I thought of something quicker, something that would probably get Stasia out. So it was decided: hit Oxbow Regional Park on Sunday night, October 14.
I ended up taking the MAX light rail to Gresham around 3pm, getting me out there in time to pick up a little dinner. The ride is about 10 miles. Instead of doing a tried and true route, I decided to mix it up and try something new: Powell Valley-Lusted-Pipeline-Oxbow Dr. I forget that any time I deviate from the tried and true, I’m met with the rolling hills of East County. Thankfully, the traffic was light and the views nice.
I got down to camp about 6 PM, just enough time to set up in the waning daylight. Stasia was there already. There were a couple other sites occupied, but the campground was otherwise quiet.** The sound of the Sandy River would keep us company that night. We managed to get a good little fire going with wood scavenged from other sites, and Stasia and I talked about life until it was time to go to bed.
In the morning it was time for breakfast of oatmeal. Oh yeah, of course coffee! And since this is Coffeeneuring Challenge 2018 time, I used this event as my first submission. (Because I can! 😉 )
This time around I brought the Trangia 27 Stormcooker. Normally I’d go for the smaller Trangia 28 Backpacker for a trip like this. But despite the mild days (70F/21C), the weather forecast called for a good wind, *** and the 27 delivers in this environment. (Of course it wasn’t as windy in the Sandy River Gorge as I expected.)
For the coffee, I picked up some Nossa Familia (local roaster) at the Green Zebra on the way to camp. I also had my Hario slim mill grinder and a Soto “spring” pour over filter holder.
The coffee was delicious, so much so that I had two cups. Then again, I always have two cups! 😉
I took off from camp around 11. The hill getting out of Oxbow can be defined as a “beast” and I even walked the steepest section, as I felt low energy. I debated between riding all the way home or taking the MAX from Gresham, but by the time I got to Gresham I was feeling worn, so I did the smart thing and MAX’d home. I got home, showered, and crashed.
And why was I so wiped? Because I was sick. I had started showing symptoms of a flu or cold on Saturday, but brushed it off. I wondered why I didn’t have much of an appetite for my dinner. And why my sleep was so horrible. Well, that’s why. It’s two days later, and I’m still feeling down. If I had realized how sick I had been, I wouldn’t have gone, wouldn’t have pushed myself. Oh well. At least I got one (most likely) last camping trip in before the winter rains start…
*I did have the slight itch to do a small tour, but I was worrying about my time and didn’t want to spend too much money on travel. Plus, the short days of October don’t appeal to me for multiple nights in the tent.
**There was a salmon spawning fest over the weekend, as the salmon return up the Sandy River. So there was a good number of people in the day-use area when I arrived.
***This is also why I decided to bring the tent vs bivy sack and a thicker camp pad.