Salmon Creek in the Snow
As I sit here now a MAJOR spring storm is happening outside packed with high winds, heavy rain and I am guessing lighting…too many trees around my house to see. This is day six of this type of weather in the afternoon, many years we don’t see this at all. I think I just saw it rain the hardest I have ever seen it rain in Oakridge and it is starting to thunder. It’s all good, we could use some rain. This weather made me think about my Salmon Creek snow ride last February for some reason. Why I am not sure; maybe it is the guilt of not writing a blog post for so long.
Last February, we had a pretty good snow in Oakridge. Many people are surprised to know we are only at 1,000ft. We are above the fog line and below the snow line for the most part. I had just gotten my new Giant Trance XO and had only ridden it a few times, so I really wanted to ride it again. I loaded up the truck and all 4 dogs and headed out to Salmon Creek. Normally I ride to that trail because it is right outside of town, but I had all 4 dogs with me this time.
Salmon Creek is actually two trails if you live here, but in the guidebooks it is listed as one trail. The north side is known as the Warrior Fitness Trail and is an easier, flat trail. It was built for the locals and our track and cross-country teams to train on, and has loops off the main trail. Oakridge has a long history of distance runners and teams winning state titles. The south side is Salmon Creek and is harder; it has technical areas of rocks and roots plus some short, steep climbs.
The dogs and I parked at the old forest service workstation and headed down the Warrior Fitness Trail. It is amazing how the snow changes things. I have been on that trail hundreds of times, yet in the snow I was confused at one point right off the start where to go, since we were cutting first tracks or, if you will, freshies with the tires and paws. After a few minutes I realized where we were and down the trail we went. It was so beautiful on the trail. Tires and paws cutting though the fresh snow. Trees and the rocks in Salmon Creek covered in snow. There was so much snow on some trees they had folded down over the trail, so we had to boonie bash around them though the woods in spots.
We rode out to the Salmon Creek Gorge Bridge. One of my favorite spots in the whole area is standing on the bridge watching the cascading waters; it was especially pretty in the snow. Very slick, but pretty. After enjoying the view we headed out to Salmon Creek Falls. The falls are not big by any means, just 20 feet, but they are picturous because they split into to two falls on either side of a large rock. As with the rest of the ride it was extra special in the snow. There is a campground at the falls and in the southeast corner there is spot where across the creek in the winter and spring there is another pretty fall. We hung out at the falls and then headed back. Sumo, my lab, got wind of some elk and so off he went…I could see his tracks and the elk tracks. Thus our quick trip turned into an hour of me, Sikh, Serria and Stud looked for their brother, Sumo. About an hour later Sumo showed up acting like he did nothing wrong. As we headed back it started to snow really hard which made it a really fun ride back.