Not all who wander are lost. Except on theOBDR.
Sorting all the kinks in our 1986 VW Vanagon Syncro took months, but we finished in high time to rally it and another mobile office, a Parliament JK Wrangler, on Oregon Backcountry Discovery Routes 3 and 6.
Our friend, Jesse Rosten, brought some two-wheel perspective on his kitted Husqvarna TE610. And so began the misfit caravan of a new, heartily equipped Jeep, a 30-year-old toaster on BF Goodrich All-Terrains and a Swedish trail annihilator.
The state’s longest trail system, the Oregon Backcountry Discovery Routes are six sections of untamed off-road public forest service and logging trail covering over 1,500 miles of natural Oregonic wonder. Route 3 traverses many of the Cascade Range’s snowy volcanic peaks and national forests while Route 6 explores a complex of alpine lakes and rivers before crossing the Coastal Range to its seaside terminus.
Trail takes, riverprovides.
Thick vegetation narrowed the trail, claiming the Syncro antenna and pin striping its panels. After a few-dead ends and an oceanic downpour, we got our bearings and made way to Wychus Creek to make camp and fish. Flowing fast and clear, we worked the creek a bit and found some rainbow trout hanging in backeddies.
You have to earnit.
We decamped and took the opportunity to explore Three Creek Lake, some seven miles due east of South Sister. Map navigation was difficult and tested patience with each dead-end, but the process eventually led to a massive uphill climb. Two-foot ditches and boulder-laden rock gardens slowed the Syncro’s arduous progress. The reward was atop — a snowy June view of lakes speckling the topographybelow.
New route, same bloodystory.
The detour put us on Route 6 just south of Crescent Lake, our halfway point. Heading west we climbed trail cut with spines and deep ditches, the Syncro barely clearing one to only get stuck in another. It took everyone’s grit to get the old boxthrough.
To make up time we hauled ass racing against the setting sun, its rays peaking between firs and spotlighting alpine lakes. Marveled by the beautiful stillness, we eventually stopped at an unnamed lakeside spot, just a few feet from thewater.
You shall notpass.
Obstacles are par for off-road courses. When fallen timbers blocked passage, we hacked them up one by one and winched it out. Nothing could have prepared us for the one hundred-foot behemoth, though, not even a burly logger with a chainsaw. Trail improv is inevitable, and fortunately, we came prepared with forest servicemaps.
Discovery is round trip. Thistime.
The Oregon backcountry is raw yet magical. Even with muscley, well-equipped vehicles the going was tough. Naturally, it made the journey all the more rewarding. Pushing pause on work to jumpstart weekend adventure brings the crew together in new ways. This time wassurvival.
Until we routeagain.