Monday, May 30, 2016

McKenzie River Weekend

Eric and Tom invited us to join them and their Syracuse buddies for a weekend at the Paradise Campground along the Columbia River.  We borrowed Jason’s raft and also brought our mountain bikes along.  I wanted to get as much time on the river as possible because that area would be a great spot to take Ellie and my mom camping at when they visit in July.  Read on…

Eric, Emily, Leo and I got a 3pm start from Portland after thoroughly loading the truck up with gear and even putting a rocket box on the roof!  Eric got to share the backseat with Fuzzy Leo for the ride.  We hit traffic but Google Maps took us on some backroads past it and on towards Detroit Lake.  Along the way we stopped for a great dinner at Mashita Teriyaki in Stayton as well as some DQ blizzards on the way out.  By the time we got to the campsite the first night I could barely drink anything from the keg or multiple bottles of booze because I was still too full.  This was a good thing as we had a big day of riding the next day.

On Saturday morning we woke up around 8am and after breakfast began asking if anyone with bikes wanted to join us for the 26 mile Mckenzie River Trail ride but either it was too long for some or too much energy to get ready in time so it ended up being just Emily and I for the day.  Eric drove us up to the trailhead and dropped us off around 11am.  We had a terrific ride down the trail despite the two hard endo’s I took in some technical sections.  The weather was nice and cool and perfect for riding.  

As usual when we hit the Blue Pool we ran into hordes of people we needed to skirt around on our bikes.  Some were happy to step aside while others looked annoyed.  I worry that at some point this part of the trail may be shut down to bikers!  After the beautiful waterfalls, many bridge crossings, and wonderful river side riding we were back at camp around 3:45pm ready for a cool beer from the keg resting in the frigid river.  

On Sunday the whole crew packed up and headed up to the Ollallie Put-in to start our first day of rafting.  Jimmer’s a friend of Chuck & Laura’s used to be a guide on the river so it was great to have him along as this was the 2nd time I would be guiding a raft and the McKenzie had slightly bigger rapids and more wood then the Grande Rhonde which I had done the previous year.  We stopped at the hot springs briefly but there were some nude people in it so we didn’t stay long.  It was a great day rafting.  

Once again that night we relaxed at camp drinking from the keg and enjoying good food and good company.  Tom had some jiffy pop which took quite an effort to pop.  Not really a success but we did get some popcorn out of it.  Leo of course was scrounging all around the camp for hand outs with his adorable flannel coat on.   I also helped Timothy build a stick raft for the river and gave Everett some grief as I always do ;)

After we all packed up on Monday morning I convinced Tom to give me a ride back from shuttling my truck to the Brukart Landing boat ramp where I left the truck.  Upon return to camp we said goodbye to everyone and jumped on the river to float down to the truck.  It was a great way to cap off the weekend and I’m glad we got motivated in the morning to hit the river one more time.  It was also great practice as it was the part of the river that I would later take my mom and Ellie down later in the summer.  It was super easy and we just enjoyed floating down the river in the sun.  

On the way home we stopped at Poppa Al’s Famous Hamburgers in Mill City for some good burgers and shakes after the great weekend.  We were home in the early afternoon.  Great weekend with great people and we hope to get invited again next year!

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