Day 6: To Cow Creek - South Oregon Coast and Coast Range 2008 - CycleBlaze

July 10, 2008

Day 6: To Cow Creek

It was sunny and 54F when I got up. Very few insects. And quiet! The pedaling was easy for the first 6 miles, past Eden Valley campground. Then the road climbs steeply and relentlessly to the Mt. Bolivar trailhead, 3200 feet elevation.

High in the coast range near the Mt. Bolivar trailhead.
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I got on the trail just before 11AM. No other vehicles at the trailhead. I have the trail to myself. The trail is well graded with many switchbacks. A sign warns about the danger of falling burned trees but more than half the trail is in unburned forest. The 1.4 mile trail climbs 1300 feet to the summit at 4319 foot elevation. The last portion of the trail is exposed rock gardens. Very scenic up close and very good views all around.

View of Mt. Bolivar from the trailhead. This area suffered a forest fire in 2005.
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Looking southwest at the Klamath Mountains from Mt. Bolivar. Elevation 4319 feet (1309m).
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The mountain is named for Simón Bolívar who led Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia to independence from Spanish colonial rule. The plaque quotes Simón Bolívar in 1815: "The United States was the first to teach us the path to independence". And it says "from Venezuela to the people of Oregon, 1984".

Wide view from the summit of Mt. Bolivar. You can see the anchor points for a fire lookout tower that was once here.
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The dress code is flexible when you're the only human on the mountain. Nobody to complain that I'm wearing socks with sandals.
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Burned Madrone trees on Mt. Bolivar.
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Burned Douglas Firs.
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Looking west from the Mt. Bolivar trail.
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Very colorful "rock gardens" near the summit of Mt. Bolivar.
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Mt. Bolivar trail.
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I finished the hike at 1 PM and was hoping there wasn't much more climbing on the road. The road climbs very steeply for another 600 feet to unsigned Arrasta Saddle at 3800 feet elevation. Then the road descends gently along the top of a ridge. I had descended 500 feet when I got to the ridge top 6-way intersection called Anaktuvuk Saddle (which I had presumed to be the summit). Navigating was easy because I stayed on the paved road, continuing down towards the west fork of Cow Creek. My glorious long descent was interrupted by a 300 foot climb going down to the west fork, then another 300 foot climb shortly after I got to the west fork of Cow Creek.

A 1905 railroad bridge crosses the West Fork of Cow creek where it flows into Cow Creek.
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Cow Creek.
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The weather was hot so it was nice to finally find a swimming hole on Cow Creek. The west fork was too shallow. I saw other people swimming as well. But hardly anybody fishing. I saw more miners than fishermen. Small mine claim signs are posted quite often along the creeks the last couple days. But I seldom saw people mining until I got to Cow Creek.

Rock formation above Cow Creek.
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I could easily ride into the town of Riddle to a grocery store but there is no place to camp in town. All the good camping is along Cow Creek. After getting to fences and ranches I backtracked 2.5 miles to camp at the Island Creek BLM day use area. Several other parties camprd there as well. I got a site on a bluff overlooking Cow Creek with a picnic table. I filtered water from the creek. There was a nice pit toilet nearby.

View from my campsite on a bluff overlooking Cow Creek.
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The evening was very warm and my rocky bluff was in the sun all day long. I waited until 9PM to set up the tent to allow the ground to cool off a bit first. There was a very nice swimming hole 1 minute's walk from the campsite. I didn't bother making a shower because the swim was so refreshing. Very few mosquitoes. I see pine trees now, indicating that this is a drier climate than where I started the tour.

Today was a strenuous day because of the hike. But I'm glad I did the Mt. Bolivar hike. I saw the best mountaintop rock gardens I've ever seen. Even with the hike I had several hours to goof off in the afternoon and evening. Mostly in the shade or in the water.

Distance: 52.1 miles (83.4 km)

Climbing: 2563 feet (777 m)

Average Speed: 9.3 mph (14.9 km/h)

Maximum Speed: 29.5 mph (47 km/h)

Hiking: 3 miles (4.8 km)

Today's ride: 52 miles (84 km)
Total: 345 miles (555 km)

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