Day 5: To Buck Creek campground. - South Oregon Coast and Coast Range 2008 - CycleBlaze

July 9, 2008

Day 5: To Buck Creek campground.

Overnight was refreshingly dry and somewhat cool. The lake is to my east so the sun starts shining on the tent at 6:30 and it warms up quickly. A mile down the road I stopped at the Powers grocery store to stock up. I plan to spend two nights in the forest before I see the next store.

Sleepy downtown Powers, Oregon.
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There were places with river access for swimming but it was early enough in the morning that it was too cool for swimming. I kept pedaling upstream, climbing gently.

Diving board on the south fork Coquille river.
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Reflections on the south fork Coquille river.
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Just after entering Siskiyou National Forest I hiked a short trail to see Elk Creek falls. The road has nice views of the river near the trailhead thanks to a team that had just cut down vine maples to open up the view.

I hiked 1/4 mile to see 70-foot Elk Creek falls.
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The road climbs steadily, eventually getting much higher than the river. Traffic had been low but steady all morning. A car every minute or two. At the intersection of forest road 3348 I turned sharply to the left and started climbing steeply. 10% grade for most of an 800 foot climb. Unexpected but I can handle it. Riding was fairly easy after the steep climb. Just gentle upstream and gently rolling hills.

Big boulders in the river.
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After a while it occurred to me that there is no traffic. I haven't seen a car in an hour. Apparently all the traffic from Powers was headed towards Agness and the lower Rogue river, not up the middle fork of the Coquille. I have the road to myself. The trees are very tall but the forest has less understory than it had along the Smith river. This is a drier climate.

The temperature got up to 90F in the afternoon as I climbed above 2000 feet elevation. The elevation should offset the heat a bit. The humidity was extremely low and I was in shade most of the time. The heat felt good. I wanted to get as far upstream as practical because I have a big day planned for tomorrow.

Very tall trees.
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I passed the Buck Creek campground and noticed some people there, so I continued another 5 easy miles to the Eden Valley campground, the last campground that appeared on my map to be next to a creek. It has a very nice campground but no nearby source of good water. The creek was nearly dry, with stagnant pools. So I backtracked 5 miles to Buck Creek campground which is next to a big creek. It has only 2 designated sites. Two men occupied the other site. They had guns and ammunition spread out all over the picnic table most of the time. But they did give me two COLD beers which were much appreciated. I set up in the other site with the tent having a view of the creek. I waded in the creek and later used the water sack to have a shower. I had a few hours to relax before the temperature started to cool down. The free campsite has a picnic table, shade, creek view, and a nice toilet nearby. And no highway noise because there is no traffic. The living is good...

Creek view campsite at Buck Creek campground.
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It was an easy day overall but that 10% grade 800 foot climb tested my limits for a while. I really enjoyed the forest and the river even though I didn't take as many photos as other days. This is a great paved back-country touring route.

Distance: 40.5 miles (64.8 km)
Climbing: 2830 feet (857 m)
Average Speed: 8.1 mph (13 km/h)
Maximum Speed: 27 mph (43 km/h)

Today's ride: 41 miles (66 km)
Total: 293 miles (472 km)

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