On a sunny October weekend, I hatched a plan to follow part of Oregon Bikepacking's Gunsight Ridge route and do some bikefishing. From Portland, I drove up through Zigzag, OR and parked at the Bennett Pass Sno Park.
While I was getting ready, I noticed somebody on a motorcycle with a mountain bike on the back. We were the only two people in the parking lot, and I said hello as I rode by. Turns out it was Ira Ryan on his BMW R65 and a beautiful Breadwinner JB Racer. I took that as a good omen.
I packed light on this trip, using a backpack to hold all of my gear except my wading boots and waders which I put in my Wald basket up front. By the end of the trip, I decided that the geometry of the Stumpjumper is really just not suited to carrying a front load up high.
The weather couldn't have been any better, and the 8 miles up NF-3550 to the lake were honestly too short. This ride should really be an overnight to take advantage of all of the possibilities up here.
The ride up ended at the boundary of the Badger Creek Wilderness and a short trail marked by a cairn down to the tiny Jean Lake.
Stashed the bike behind a log, and hiked down to the lake.
I was really excited to see such a beautiful little lake nestled down in the trees.
First, I needed to keep my energy up with meat, cheese, and whiskey. The only thing we had around the house was Evan Williams over-proof and it definitely did the trick.
On the ride back down, I was treated to this exceptional view of the SE aspect of Mt. Hood with very little snow. The next weekend there was snow on the top, so I guess this photo represents minimum snow cover on the mountain for 2014. This is the best photograph I have produced all year.
This ride was serious fun, and will be the catalyst for many other off road adventures in the future. I built on my expectations for gear and bike set up, and hope to dial in a plan for a capable, comfortable off-road tourer in the Stumpjumper.