Diego 2000 px

Slowing Down in Umpqua, Oregon

In North America, Oregon, United States by Dane + PennyLeave a Comment

For days, Dane studied our Oregon maps in search of the right place to test out his fishing equipment. It was January in the Pacific Northwest, so we were constantly attempting to outrun the storms that were pounding the coast and washing out what could be the best places to hook what could be our dinner. The wind howled and the rain poured down while we followed the Umpqua River inland. Meandering up a side road alongside a stream, the storm finally passed and we found a pull out where I could make lunch and Dane could put on his waders and rig up his gear. He didn’t catch dinner, but I’m pretty sure I heard him mumble under his breath, “At least a bad day fishing beats a good day working”.

After so many hours cooped up in the van, I couldn’t wait to pull out my running gear and get outside. I filled my lungs with the fresh mountain air and set out to see if I could make it to the end of the road. Eventually my stubborn self gave up on the mission, but it was a good thing when I learned it was a actually a through road! Once back at the van, I was so curious to know how many kilometers I’d ran, or even how long I’d been gone; things I usually tracked with an app. I was pumped to figure out a couple days later that my Runkeeper App actually works sans data! So, I will  be able to track my running through all kinds of different terrain and altitudes this year! Okay, so maybe I’m a fitness geek…

As the sun started to drop we quickly decided to hop back in Diego and explore a beauty dirt road leading up the mountain that we had passed just before stopping. We threw everything in the van and hit the unexplored path. At the get go, it almost appeared as if a drawing or something out of a children’s book.. perfectly manicured green grass on either sides of the track as well as a trimmed mohawk up the center. Yet it was evident mother nature was it’s caretaker. Needless to say, we were excited about where ever this would take us. It traversed up the mountainside in switchbacks and gullies through a stunning Pacific Northwest rain forest filled with tall, thick cedars, then a combo of lush green ferns and a high canopy of alders. At this point the track turned from finely crushed gravel to mud. Diego proceeded confidently without any slip still in 2wd. At last it felt as if we were nearing the top when the road split into 3. The middle looked very overgrown so we rock-paper-scissored and went left. Shortly after we crested the peak, the trail had turned into a goat trail of sorts along the mountaintop ridge. It was now dusk and the fog was setting in as we weaved to and fro around cliff sides ending up at a muddy turn around point only to be disappointed by finding another truck camper had already found this little spot. Their guard dog kept us at bay, so we turned around to check out the other fork in the road. After back tracking the crown, we started up the unblazed trail on the right which quickly opened to a stunning view high above the foggy Cascade Mountains. We stopped on this breathtaking rocky ledge as there was still some daylight and made camp as the stars shyly began to come out and greet us into the night.

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