There is no certainty; there is only adventure
We awoke on the second morning of our Sisters, OR, trip to a snowstorm and 17 degree temps. With forecasts not predicting rising temps of any significance, we didn't anticipate a ride of any real duration. That being the case, we generally welcome over-ambition in the context of exploration, so we happily set off for our adult snow day, embracing the conditions and whatever they might bring.
One of the keys to successful – and happy – exploration and adventure is flexibilty. Sure, we go into each adventure and ride with a planned route, allowing what we believe to be adequate time, plus additional time for the unexpected surprises. We also pack enough food, water, and supplies to (hopefully) keep us out of any real trouble. Calling audibles mid-ride is not part of the plan, but allowing yourself the freedom to do so can certainly make the journey more enjoyable. We'd even go as far as saying the more unplanned diversions you take, the better. It's often the surprises along the way which become the most memorable aspects of the trip.
With almost no traction on pavement, we quickly found the gravel roads to be nearly as bad. Within the first 15 minutes, we'd already each crashed more than once; the kind of crashes which don't necessarily hurt, but happen so quickly that you're on the ground and wondering what happened without having any real idea why other than the obvious culprit of ice lurking underneath the snow.
We quickly aborted our planned riding route, and found ourselves chasing each other through trails, jumping over logs (Joel won), testing our wheelie skills (we all lost), and acting like kids riding dirt bikes for the first time. It was a blast.
Calling an audible
The games, single track trails, and exploratory bushwhacking kept us entertained, and something slightly warmer than freezing, for a few hours. Several theatrical crashes proved both entertaining and humorous, though ultimately, the lure of lunch and the opportunity to thaw our frozen bodies led us back to the house, where we discussed alternative adventures with more secure footing for the afternoon.
As a precautionary back-up, we'd packed snowshoes should the weather thwart our intentions to ride. We figured they would cover our bases and allow adventure of some variety regardless of weather. After a quick lunch, we drove south of Sisters as far as the forest service road was plowed of snow. Twenty minutes later we set out on snowshoe for Three Creek Lakes, at the NE foot of Broken Top, an extinct, glacially eroded volcano sitting at 9,171’.
Being alone in the woods on snowshoes was almost as much fun as an escape on bike. Surrounded by a blanket of falling snow and an absolute silence aside from our own breathing, we felt far removed from any thoughts or distractions of our daily lives. Solitude often rewards one with a sense of freedom, heightened by the effort it often takes to reach your destination.
If it hadn’t been for the storm, we would have had an incredible view of the Three Sisters, but the solitude and quiet of the falling snow proved a fair trade. During our 3-hour jaunt, we didn't see or hear anyone else.
We made it back to our vehicles as darkness began to settle around us, and again headed back to the house for a final evening of eating, drinking, storytelling and dreaming of our next trip. Our ragtag team of adventurers will always be about the bike, but our alternative snowshoe journey was a great reminder of the possibility of extracurricular exploits.
With a bit of additional planning and preparation, we realized an expanding potential for adventure surrounding our rides. As Jawaharlal Nehru stated: “We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.“
Let our eyes be open as we plan for the next adventure…
PREVIOUSLY – Seeking Adventure: Embracing uncertainty