Oregon Sweet 6: Deschutes National Forest
30 minutes North of Sisters, Oregon, the Metolius River starts its journey north as a series of clear cold springs that emerge from the base of Black Butte. An oasis in the surrounding forested valley, the Metolius snakes its way through towering orange ponderosa pines, and clearings of fire scorched earth where only charred toothpicks remain. On the East boundary of this valley is the 4600 ft Green Ridge basalt formation. The slopes of Mt. Jefferson and Three Fingered Jack form the Western boundary.
When we suggest to ride in the Deschutes National Forest…
Big riding window here; late spring through fall is golden. Be conscious of snow and wildfires on either side of the ride-able timeframe. Most likely to encounter snow in the Mount Washington Wilderness area.
What KOMPAS learned from this event ...
This is greater than just riding bikes
Organizing an event that brings people together and fosters a place to share time with each other outside is what motivates KOMPAS. While we first had this epiphany on the Hells Canyon ride, it was truly special to be able to open up these adventures to ALL and see a culture shaped by our community start to emerge. The genuine connections formed on this trip were priceless between old friends and new ones. It was inspiring to be a part of many relationships being built through trust over the course of a weekend, both on and off the bike.
We left this event with a renewed sense of purpose. Our mission runs much deeper than just riding bikes. Our mission is to build community - the bike is just a conduit to get from point A-B. Take away the bikes and we’ll still be outside sharing laughs, and enjoying each other’s company around the fire. We want to spread infectious friendship energy and create spaces for genuine human interaction. What better place to do this than in the middle of the forest, away from the distractions of daily life.
What inspired this event...
The two Oregon Sweet 6 rides that preceded this in Siuslaw Nat'l Forest and Hells Canyon, shaped our thinking and revealed to us the ride we wanted to facilitate in the Deschutes Nat'l Forest.
Planning this event was guided by the following questions:
How can we create an event that is accessible and welcoming to anyone who wants to come?
How can we break down some of the barriers to entry of a bikepacking trip?
KOMPAS put on its party planning hats and organized what we now call a community celebration; celebrating new friends, old friends, and most importantly making the effort to spend time with each other outside. While making sure to stay true to our adventure spirit, we created a route that was far less ‘extreme’ than previous ones, making the journey more accessible to everyone. We then sprinkled in a diversity of road surfaces and widths to keep things a little spicy.
A KOMPAS community celebration is a no-cost, overnight bike/camping (“bikeglamping”) trip welcome to new riders, experienced riders, non-riders, hikers, fisherman, dogs, and more. Come one, come all. Bikepacking isn’t your thing, meet us at the campsite for the gathering that night.
Our goal was to really pull on the thread of community and facilitate a bikepacking trip. Since there are pretty expensive start up costs if someone wants try out bikepacking – bags and bags and bags – we organized to have drivers carry camping gear if someone didn’t have bags.
The ride quickly went from bikepacking to “bikeglamping”. Within minutes of the group catching wind of the support cars, everyone’s non-ride essential bags were jammed in the trunks! While this was certainly luxury bikepacking, we acknowledge that the gear needed to give bikepacking a shot can cost a couple hundred bucks.
Breaking down these barriers of riding and bikepacking is a way we feel we can have an impactful to our community. This event inspired us and got the gears in our heads turning. What more can we do to facilitate people trying this whole bikepacking thing out? Stay tuned.
The Weekend... in photos.
Deschutes National Forest, Classic
FULL RIDE WITH GPS ROUTE + GPX FILE
BIKEPACKING – 2 DAYS (SUGGESTED)
69 MILES / 5,000 FT
SURFACE: 65/35, GRAVEL/PAVED
RECOMMENDED TIRES: 38MM+
RESUPPLY: SUTTLE LAKE (DAY 1) AND CAMP SHERMAN (DAY 2)
WATER FILTER: REQUIRED
SUGGESTED GEAR: KOMPAS BIKEPACKING CHECKLIST