Posts Tagged ‘mckenzie’

By Cameron McKirdy

McKenzie River Trailhead Sign

An hour East of Eugene, the McKenzie River Recreational Trail waits to be conquered.  A 26 mile path skirts the cold, rippling waterway.  It’s one of America’s premier destinations for bikers, and hikers.  Outdoor enthusiasts can also be spotted during the summer on the water in rafts of all shapes and sizes.  Survival Bros floated it.  However, here’s what’s its like to attack the upper part of the wilderness trail on my bicycle.

The 1986 Volkswagen Vanagon is locked.  Bike is ready.  God bless my vintage Univega Alpina Pro mountain bike.  It’s a hardtail with tire liners for extra protection, so I shouldn’t have trouble pummeling porous lava rocks.   This will be my first ride with it off of pavement, or graveled logging roads.  Exciting.  Water, check.  Mechanix gloves, yes.  3M safety shades, on.  Let’s crush this.

And I’m off.  Going downhill mostly, to Clearwater Lake from the top of the trail.  I will have to fill my stainless steel water bottle at the campground.  Problem is, it’s hard to know what’s undrinkable, and what’s potable with all the well pumps around.  I may have to take a chance, because I’m not buying water.  I’m looking forward to adding 2 packets of Airborne Plus Energy into my drink for flavor, vitamins, and minerals.

The plan is to tackle the challenging section of course around the lake first, then take an easy trail back uphill to my vehicle.  OK, get centered.  Where are you?  In the moment.  Faster!!!

Root!  Pop the front wheel over, and peddle.  Good.  Lean into this corner.  Branch…We’re bushwacking today.  Alright, NOW break.  Shift weight back, coming off the seat.  Who put this tree down here?  Ever heard of a chainsaw?  Pick up your bike.  Thankfully, it’s lightweight, full chromoly frame.  I’m so happy I invested in tuning this vintage ride up.  The guys at Canyonview Cyclery took care of me.  This is the video I produced at their shop after the Univega was restored to glory.

 There’s the edge of the water at Clear Lake.  I’ve never seen water so pristine.  I bet I could drink straight from the lake.  Ducks do it.  I almost hit one fowl in my way.  Move mallard.  Already, I’ve narrowly avoided about 10 chipmunks, and a large rabbit too.  I’ve seen squirrels try to take on bikes before.  They ended up in the spokes without a head.  That would ruin my day.  I need a bell on this bike of mine to signal wildlife.  

Now comes the hard part.  Negotiating lava rock fields on two wheels.  But I’ve been here before.  Only I came from the opposite direction last time.  I’m going to have to push it up this long hill.  It feels great to get off my butt, and work other muscle groups.  I like my new bicycle handle bar ends.  Now I have more hand positions, and can really pull myself up steep inclines.  

I’m flying.  Let’s not forget our 5 D’s of mountain biking: dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge!  Corner!  Hard left.  Leaning into it, and looking where I want to go.  Holy guacamole.  I almost sailed into the lake.  The canoers would have liked to see that.  I’d rather not be fishing.  This is what I came to do.

Bump.  My nuts.  Watch the nuts.  You’re going to need those.  Oh God, I have to split between a root, and a rock going fast.  No room for error.  Arrghhh.  Made it.  But that took all of my upper body strength.  I haven’t screamed that loud since…oh, let’s keep it PG.  I’m dumping sweat.  This is my hell workout.  Put it all on the line.  Gasp.  Exhale.  Breath.  Sigh.  Focused.  A few more miles of rocky road, and then a less technical section to savor.  The McKenzie River Recreational Trail is damn tough.  No wonder it’s one of the World’s most celebrated biking areas.  I can do this.  Finish strong.  I’m the man.  BEAST MODE!

mckenzie river map

Map courtesty of the USDA – Link to info on the McKenzie River National Recreational Trail

Watch an exciting video I produced with my GoPro Black Head Camera mounted during another ride here.

I had a horrible mountain bike accident on the McKenzie a few years ago.  I’m still healing from the traumatic crash, but here’s tips on healing bruises and scratches from that with gruesome injury photos for you to marvel at.

bruise legI’m lucky I didn’t break my leg! 

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Produced by Cameron McKirdy

My dad and I just got back to the Oregon Coast, after a 4 day trip playing on the McKenzie River and the trail. First we geared up, and hit the rapids with the Oregon Whitewater Association. A group of 70 extreme outdoor enthusiasts floated 14 miles down the river. The water was brutally cold, at only 47 degrees. I fell off our cataraft for the first time after we smashed into a log along the bank. I didn’t have time to be fearful. I was just trying to catch my breath from the shock of the water, and keep my legs up as I floated down. Of course, I had a class 3 life jacket on. I swam to the back of the boat, but didn’t like being where I couldn’t see the rocks ahead of me. Plus, I didn’t want to get trapped under the massive military grade raft. So I separated from the craft, and tried to swim to shore, but the water was moving too fast, and nobody there could help me. I swam to the side of the raft, and was barely able to climb back on. I had to quickly jump off the river bottom to boost myself up. I was fatigued, and just wanted to sit down and assess my injuries. I hit my knee on a rock, and bloodied by shin up. I was only in the river for a few minutes, but it wouldn’t have been long before my body started shutting down, and hypothermia set in. It was intense.

I had my iPhone 4S in my pocket with a LifeProof case on when I went overboard. It worked. No water got in thankfully. In my other pocket I was carrying the new Coast DX335 rescue knife. It stayed clipped on, but luckily I didn’t have to use it. You’d be surprised how many people die on the river getting tangled in ropes. Below is a funny clip I took with the LifeProof case on my cell. It took great video, and you can hear my dad yelling at me to put it away. He thought it was going to get splashed, or fall in as we hit the drop in the rapids. Also below is an HD video review of the Coast Products knife. I will update this blog as I get media online. I used my GoPro Hero 3 Black camera to record my treacherous mountain bike ride down the McKenzie River Trail. That will be up soon. Thanks for visiting Survival Bros. Follow us on Twitter, Youtube, and join the community on Facebook. Peace.

 

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Cameron McKirdy and his Dad battle rapids in their cataraft. This adventure was well planned. Pops did his homework, and scouted the river as best he could. He asked locals a million questions, read books, and consulted his rafting club before getting her wet. The water was high, so it wasn’t a terribly challenging ride, but it was a lot of fun. The Rouge river is next! Take a float down the river with them. %^).

My summer road trip is almost over. I’ve hiked, camped, biked, swam, and golfed. This post is a quick review of Belnap Springs, and the nearby Toketee golf course.

After biking yesterday I was super tired, but made it out to Toketee. It’s right by our cabin off the McKenzie highway in Blue River, OR. I wasn’t expecting much, but this area always surprises. Toketee is a great golf course. I played the front 9 with a buddy. No hole in one, but I played well. It’s a long course. The green fee was just $18 bucks. I carried my clubs, instead of paying $3 more for a pull cart. Those are for the weak. There’s lots of sand and water to avoid. You won’t regret playing here.

Another thing I did to relax, in between all the strenuous activity was to check out Belnap Hot Springs. I rolled up and the pool was over flowing with French girls! Winning. The pool is 105 degrees, and there’s two. One is reserved for guests. It’s $7 to soak in the mineral pool for an hour or less.

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For dinner I ate at the Belnap Grill by the river. I ordered a South West chicken wrap. It was good. This is an excellent place to camp. There’s tent sites, and cabins also. There are several gardens at Belnap, and a special “Secret Garden” to find. Some little kids were stoked to lead me to the entrance. I will be back. Now I’m at the cabin, chilling, and icing my body. I need more ice packs.

Just when I think our journey is over, Dad starts planning a raft trip. We may float the Santiam river tomorrow on the way home. This should be interesting. More madness soon. Thanks for reading.

Cameron McKirdy

Spyridon LS

Kicking back and watching boats come in on the Mckenzie River

I bought those silly five-fingered shoes. Yup. I paid $120 for the new model. And I go out in public wearing my Vibram FiveFingers too. It’s OK, because I love the trash talk. The following is my take on these trail running shoes. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

I was stoked when I got these kicks. The salesman told me the Spyridon LS is designed specifically for trail running. Perfect! I climb mountains. So I put them to the test. First I went a short distance, just two miles on Tillamook Head from Seaside. They felt great. Snug like a natural extension of my feet. However, one downside to the Vibrams is that your toes can get wet quickly. Once I stopped running my toes were cold and going numb. I got out of them right away and put them through the wash. They were caked in clay and mud.

The second hike I took wearing Vibrams was around Cape Falcon, and Short Sands, in Oswald West State Park along the Oregon Coast. I jogged parts of my 7.35 mile hike, and made a few stops to checkout the surfers and ocean views. I finished in 3:05 hours. My feet started to ache around the six-mile mark, but I just wasn’t use to the shoes yet. That will take a long time, maybe years. You’ve got to hike this state park. There’s nothing like it. Bring your camera.

Oswald West State Park in Oregon

I’ve had my Vibrams for a few months now, and they’ve performed great. But here’s the ugly. I snagged my pinky toe on something and one small part of the sole ripped away from the upper. An easy fix soon with shoe glue, but annoying now. Also, the rubber is pretty thin, so walking on gravel sucks, and going far on pavement isn’t fun. Plus, they are low top and don’t have much support on the sides. My advice to Vibram owners is to go slower than normal. Another annoying thing about these shoes is even though they are the right size, my little toe has a tendency to pop out of its home. Then I have to readjust by hand. It’s best to pull them really tight to avoid toe slippage.

In addition, like it or not, these shoes will attract attention. Be prepared to answer a million questions about them. Strangers approach me all the time to ask questions. And be ready to be made fun of. Lots of people think that Vibrams are ugly. I think they are beautifully designed, so there! But you won’t see me wearing this around town much. They were absolutely created for the outdoors.

Barefoot like trail running shoes

My new Spyridon LS Vibrams!

Having said all that, I strongly recommend you look into the barefoot running, and walking movement. It’s taking off, and for good reason. Shoes may be the worst invention ever! If you wear Vibrams or some other minimalist shoe you will strengthen your ankles and legs, in my opinion. They will take some time to get use to. You may want to buy a transition shoe first that has more of a sole. Try on all the different brands and styles, and figure out what’s right for you. Survival Bros says ditch the kicks and feel with your feet. Peace.

– Cam

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