Cycle Oregon II
Sept. 10-16, 1989—Portland to Ashland
Day One: Portland to Rippling River, 47 miles
Portland, Oregon’s largest city, is situated at the northern end of the Willamette Valley at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. From Portland, the ride travels east along Highway 26 to Rippling River (located in Welches). An abundance of wildlife and plant life exists in the Columbia Corridor, and you may get a chance to see Great Blue Heron, Red-tailed Hawks, beaver, muskrat and river otters, among others. After the town of Sandy, we enter the lush coniferous forests of the Western Cascades. At Rippling River, where we will camp the first night, there are several short hikes along the Salmon River.
Day Two: Rippling River to Kah-Nee-Ta, 66.5 miles
From Rippling River, we head toward Kah-Nee-Ta. In the morning, we will climb through both old and new Cascade flora to a sub-alpine environment. We then descend to the drier Ponderosa pine forest on the eastern flanks of Mt. Hood and eventually reach the “high desert” of north central Oregon. Wildlife viewing opportunities abound! We will have a tough climb to Government Camp. Take your time and ride cautiously. Once at Government Camp, park your bikes and ride the Alpine Slide at Ski Bowl
Day Three: Kah-Nee-Ta to Bend, 72 miles
From Kah-Nee-Ta, we ride south to Bend. The open grassland, juniper and big sage country enroute to the Deschutes River is raptor country–keep an eye out for Golden Eagles, American Kestrels, Red-tailed Hawks and Prairie Falcons. Smith Rocks’ Crimson Cliffs hosts a multitude of wildlife as well as rock-climbers who come from around the world to attempt the beautiful challenge. You pass through mixed agricultural lands and juniper flats on the last leg of day three. Upon arrival in Bend, enjoy a brief stop at Drake Park, home to numerous waterfowl.
Day Four: Bend to Sunriver, 40 miles
“This is a barren God-forsaken country,” remarked an early pioneer of this Central Oregon landscape, “smoked with dust and death,” remarked another. What would these parched gentlemen think if they could see the planned community of Sunriver with its two 18-hole golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pools, marina, stables…the beach umbrellas, the tall, iced drinks, the sprinklers drenching the desert green. Surely one of those hallucinatory mirages conjured up by thirst, they would decide.
Ponderosa and dense lodgepole forest dominate the vegetation of central Oregon’s pumice zone. While a diversity of habitat is low, there are spectacular views of Bachelor Butte, the Three Sisters and other Cascade peaks. The marsh/forest interface at Sunriver provides the most abundant wildlife viewing opportunity along this stretch of the route.
Day Five: Sunriver to Crescent, 62 miles
Cinder cones, young lava flows (2,000 years), high cascade lakes and pine forests dominate the scene between Sunriver and Crescent. There are a few stretches of large, old Ponderosa pine. The road cuts through large, young lava flows near Davis Lake (north end) and just beyond Crescent Creek. Crescent is surrounded by high peaks and several large lakes. Overnight will be spent in Little Meadows.
Day Six: Crescent to Fort Klamath, 78 miles
Again the dominant features today will be the spectacular views to towering peaks: Mt. Thielsen, Sawtooth Ridge, Mt. Scott. Highway 97 passes through dense lodgepole pine forests until we cross the Pacific Crest Trail and the Crater Lake turn off. A slight elevation rise adds Mountain Hemlock to the forest community. The first sign of Mt. Mazama’s tremendous influence on the landscape comes at Pumice Desert where volcanic ash fills former river valleys to a depth of 200 feet.At mile 71 there is a dramatic transition back into Ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine and Douglas fir forest. We will be camping on the property of Myrtle Copeland, who is the granddaughter of one of the first families of Fort Klamath.
Day Seven: Fort Klamath to Ashland, 71.5 miles
It is possible we will see/hear migratory shorebirds as we head toward the upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge. The Klamath Falls area is home to the largest wintering population of Bald Eagles in the conterminous U.S.
The rest of the route to Rocky Point (lunch destination) will be through mixed conifer forest at the western edge of the wetlands. The wildlife viewing highlight in Ashland is also our final destination- Lithia Park. This pleasant urban riparian area, even though it hosts hordes of visitors, is an important wildlife habitat.
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