Mia and I have lived in Oregon for a bit over 4 years now. We have done some of the PNW classic mountain bike rides and hikes in that time, but there are still quite a few that need to be explored. Back in March I reserved a campsite for August up at North Waldo Lake so that I could ride the IMBA Epic Waldo Lake Trail. We didn’t know back then that it would take until the first week of July for the road to the lake to fully open. This was because of all the snowfall in the Cascades this winter.
The drive to Waldo Lake should in theory only be about 3.5 hours. However in typical fashion the metro area traffic on Friday afternoon totally sucked, toss on top of that two accidents on I-5 South and it took us almost 5 hours to get there. It took us almost 2 hours just to get to the dreaded Wilsonville crawl! The good news….that is really the only sucky part of the whole weekend.
Neither did I know back in March that the week leading up to camping would be filled with record setting temps in Oregon. Three days over 100, one of those being 107!! Yowza! So camping up at 5600′ above sea level was sure to bring some much needed relief. Saturday morning we woke up to low 50’s and topped out in the low 80’s.
The start of the loop around the lake was about 100′ from our campground. Mia and I couldn’t ride together since we had Codi with us so I got going relatively early in order to get back and give Mia a chance to do some mountain biking.
I opted to ride the loop clockwise, which seemed to be the opposite of just about everyone else. I passed one dude about 10 miles in going the same direction as me. I passed about 15 riders in the last 6 miles all going counterclockwise. My opinion was that I made the right choice. I got most of the climbing out of the way early and got to ride some of my most scenic parts towards the end.
I had debated between bringing the Trek Farley or the Ritchey P-650b. I think I would have been happy with either choice. The snappy feel of the Ritchey was wicked fun though.
The whole loop has a nice mix of singletrack types. There are some fast flowy sections that you can just rip it on. A few more technical sections that make you choose the correct line, and of course a section through a forest fire area that feels so foreign after 16-17 miles of large green trees.
While I was gone Mia took Codi on a short hike and lots of stick chasing in the lake. That may be why he was so tired after my 20 mile mountain bike ride…….
Mia went out for an out and back option, also going clockwise. I was happy to see her riding her mountain bike. Little nervous about her going out solo, but there were plenty of people out there should things go wrong…plus I told myself I’d head out in search if she was gone more than 2 hours! It did not come to that though.
Mia got back in one piece and we took Codi down to the lake for more swimming and stick chasing. What amazed me was that I was at least 75 feet out from the shore and the water was still only at the middle of my chest. Apparently it doesn’t get very deep very quickly.
Aside from the killer mountain biking, we both wished we had some SUPs to play with. This lake would have been perfect for a little paddling. Hopefully next time we are up here…..
The one thing we were nervous about was mosquitos. Everything we had read said they could be ferocious up here. I only found them a bit annoying on the south side of the lake trail. Around the campsite and right on the lake they were not bad at all. Perhaps the super dry weather and heat of the previous week helped out….who knows?
Well that is about it for now.
Thanks for reading,