Yesterday we learned that an “easy” hiking trail can be decidedly not-so-easy for mountain bikers, especially when the bikers in question (namely, us) are more accurately termed “Mini-Mountain bikers.” That is, we like to ride on big-tired, rear-suspensioned, mucho-geared bicycles, but we prefer to skip the mountains that these bikes are, judging by their name, intended to be rode on by those who are less attached to life and limb than we are.
However, we wish to emphasize that the Deschutes River Trail (from the Meadow Picnic Area to Dillon Falls) is beautiful and well worth traversing, by which we mean, on foot. Unless, of course, you are a member of the species of mountain bikers we saw zooming past us on the trail—the strange breed, quite common around Bend, who ride about ten times faster up hills than we ride down them, and who carry no discernible belongings with them other than a large hydration pack on their back, as contrasted to the Hines’, who never venture more than a hundred yards from their car on their bikes without energy bars, first aid kits, cell phones, GPS receiver, camera, litter bags, maps, repair kits, and more besides.
It isn’t a good mountain biking sign for us when we start right out from the trailhead pushing our bikes up a steep hill. Then, for variety, we carried our bikes over large rocks. Then Laurel walked her bike down the equally steep other side of the hill, since for some reason she doesn’t like riding on sandy trails that slope decidedly sideways in the direction of a cliff that slopes even more decidedly into rapids of the Deschutes.
Plus, owing to the hot day and poor advice from her husband, Laurel was without her bike helmet, since I based our safety equipment choice on a single photo on p. 85 in William Sullivan’s Central Oregon Cascades hiking book, a photo which must show the only section of the Deschutes River Trail that doesn’t feature large rocks, steep inclines, precipices, overhanging boulders, or large trees on both sides of the trail.
If either of the children who were riding with their fathers, and passed us on the trail Sunday, happen to stumble upon this weblog posting, we wish to say: “Kids, you may have said to your dads, ‘Why do we have to wear a helmet when that bearded man and blonde woman were just wearing caps?’ The answer is: ‘Because that man and that woman, though not brain dead, thought, many times, that they would be soon during the course of their anxiety-filled Deschutes River Trail bike ride.’”
We’ll try this trail again, I’m sure, with helmets on and Prozac in our veins. The Big Eddy section, a mile or so down the trail, is a great place to watch rafters hit some fairly large rapids. Great entertainment on a hot summer day, just as I’m sure we offered numerous rafters some chuckles yesterday as we braked and slid our way down River Trail slopes. Anyway, we survived. We met some nice people during our frequent pauses for breath and hydration. And we reminded ourselves that the worst day on a beautiful trail beats the best day spent inside at a desk.