Tale of Two Trails

After we left Astoria, we headed a ways down the road to Vernonia, Oregon where Jim had found a lovely 21 mile bike trail. He hasn’t ridden his bike again since he broke his wrist, but he thoughtfully scoped this out so I could ride. We found one of those long-termer trailer parks right on the trail and I spent a glorious two days riding as much of the trail as I could. It was a very smooth paved surface. Ha! Enjoy it while it lasts! Another plus: Oregon State Parks don’t allow smoking and there are no trash cans; pack in, pack out.

Banks-Vernonia Trail

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The loop around Vernonia Lake was closed due to construction but that only cut off a couple of miles. Heading toward Banks, fall was in the air.

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This is a lovely crossing but don’t be fooled. The hills behind these trees were clearcut.
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One section near Banks had an interesting series of 11% grade switchbacks. Looking down…
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There were both an excellent Greek and Mexican restaurant in town so we took advantage of them. Again in Oregon, the Holland of dahlias, we enjoyed several large gardens of unusual varieties.
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After a couple of days, we packed it up and headed to Idaho to ride the Weiser River Trail. We had a great parking spot for the bus in a small campground near Cambridge and it was just a short ride to the trail. Our view from the bus:

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Weiser River Trail
I had read the reviews on Trailink and knew not to expect a smooth surface. I headed north along the Weiser River toward Council. Turned out the reviews were right. Between the many large cow plops and the equally sized large rocks, it was an exercise in concentration, to say the least. At one point I considered turning back, then decided to make it into a Zen activity. If you look far enough ahead to plot your course along the rocks and cow mounds, it becomes much more relaxing and fun. I stopped frequently to take photos because…

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For hours I did not see a single soul. No humans, no livestock, no birds, no chipmunks, nothing. I finally did see a cow after his bellow almost made me crash my bike after such silence.
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There were some cattle gates to open and close and some sections of the trail were better than others. Every once in a while I came to a good enough section that I kept going. I knew I was going to have to ride back the same way, but going over it the second time is always easier. Good thing. This picture sort of gives you an idea of the general rocky surface. Shoulda taken one of the cow plops and larger rocks too.

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After about thirteen miles I figured I better head back. I started seeing some riders, lots of them were stopped to fix flats. Not surprising because of all the sharp rocks. It turned out there was an all day event on the trail and they were returning from Council.

Once I got back to Mundo Springs, I wasn’t quite ready to quit riding so I decided to ride on into Cambridge. The surface was a little bit better here but not much. I turned around to take a picture, saw this and headed back.

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It didn’t storm but certainly made the sky pretty. The next day I rode on the paved roads for about 15 miles before getting on the trail and heading toward Cambridge. They actually had a couple miles of the trail paved but it quickly petered out. Ate lunch by the river and headed back to the bus. An ideal day.

What a great trail! Even though it was rocky, the countryside made it totally worth it. I would recommend this trail to anybody who loves, in this order: nature, bicycling, conscious concentration, photography and solitude. Some of my favorite things! When I got back to the bus, my very favorite things were waiting: Jim, kitties, cocktails and dinner.

After wrapping up these trails, we are moving on to Three Island Crossing State Park in Idaho on the Snake River. More river biking awaits!

A final look at the Weiser River…
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More pics on Flickr.

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One comment on “Tale of Two Trails

  1. Your photos are just great..love the cow photo….you bring so much joy to all of us….I hope to see a book about your adventures one day…thanks for sharing😁😁😁

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