2-Day Bikepacking Trip in Hood River, OR: Gumjuac Saddle, Knebal Springs, and Fifteen Mile Creek Trails

Map

Want the GPX version of the map or just more detail?  Click here.

The Ride

This past weekend I yet again made time to go on a weekend warrior bikepacking trip, this time heading for the hills of Hood River, more precisely the ridges surrounding Mt. Hood, covering a smidgen under 50 miles and almost 12,000 feet of elevation gain.

My Oregonian bikepacking partner was none other than the ever-faithful riding companion Andrew Glick, who for the first time in our bikepacking history, had no major mechanical breakdowns. Mountain Biker Score = 1, Trail Gremlin Score = 0, at least this time around.

This was only a minor derailleur malfunction, where his smallest cog was pushing the back-derailleur into his wheel spokes. No more granny gear for Andrew!

After camping at Nottingham Campground just off highway 35 on Friday, we began our ride Saturday morning with an exhausting 2 ½ mile climb up Gumjuac Saddle, which started at 3,600 feet and ended at 5,300 feet. You do the math on the elevation gain there… it’s not pretty.

We got to our campsite with just enough time to set up camp and build a quick fire.
Building…
Built!
Our campsite at Nottingham Campground wasn’t half bad.

 

Ready to ride.

We then found ourselves looping in and out of view of Mt. Hood, which seemed almost close enough to hit with a rock at times, though we never tried. The mountain was mostly covered in clouds throughout our ride, but it still managed to give us the sensation of being punched in the solar plexus every time it came rushing into view. It was a nice distraction from the 6,400 feet of elevation we climbed that first day.

The overall ride went without a hitch, and was a great way to relax and enjoy some of the finer things Oregon has to offer. I’ll let the pictures explain the rest of the story.

Just part of the 2 1/2 mile agony called the Gumjuac Saddle.

 

A bit cloudy, but still beautiful.

 

And then back to climbing.
And more climbing.
Facebook Profile?
Yep. Still climbing. Andrew’s face says it all.
Until finally, we made it to Fifteen Mile Campground.
Which was next to a beautiful little creek.

 

 

With camp set up there was only one thing left to do…
Head towards Knebal Springs Trail.
A viewpoint along the trail.
Feet dangling.
Rare footage of a Krampus lounging in its natural habitat.
Then it was back to camp for some much needed rest and relaxation.
And some chocolate.
Andrew decided to rough it with no tent. Although there were some threatening sprinkles, never did it fully start raining.
The next day I got up a bit early
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
And with Andrew still asleep,
Boiled some water,
Made some coffee,
And enjoyed some alone time on the water.

Then we were off again to ride Fifteen Mile Creek Loop.

 

 

 

 

We got back to camp around 10am, ate a snack, packed up, and then headed for home.
After lots of up the day before as well as at the start of this day…
We were awarded with lots of down.

 

As well as a burger and beer for our troubles. A great weekend.

I seem to have lost my soapbox … Oh wait! Here it is!

I sometimes feel like I live in an ADD-inducing society, where I’m getting stuck in a mire of fragmented thoughts and responsibilities I have throughout the course of a work week (school, curriculum, insurance payments, bills, student loans, mortgage, yard maintenance, self-maintenance, to name a few) and can only keep myself from being suffocated by them through a combination of sticky notes, interminable coffee consumption, google calendar, and my trusty hand planner (notes I write on my hand that are of high importance). And while I have minor recharging habits that help me to slow life down a bit, like commuting to work by bike, exercising regularly, and practicing short bouts of meditation, this is not a sustainable lifestyle in my opinion, and that’s where bikepacking comes in.

Focusing on basic needs like food, water, and shelter is a refreshing change from the myriad responsibilities that make up adult life. Bikepacking help slow things down, and provides a bit of a rush for those of us adrenaline junkies who would like a side of endorphin high as well, thank you very much. I hope everyone has something in their life that helps to refresh and calm the soul. For me, it’s bikepacking.

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