Around 4 pm we parked at Candle Creek campground back to the very site I occupied for four days back in 2006.
Through the charred remains of a once proud forest to the foot of Jefferson Wilderness where giant 25 foot diameter Cedars grow right out of the Mountain’s socks, we rode through these various settings trying to take it all in. The scenery is truly bordering on the unreal.
We rode nearly in silence, the pumice gravel crackling beneath our tires, staring off either side of this road, trying to take in the oddly beautiful scenery. And then suddenly as if one piece of a discarded puzzle still remained, the forest engulfed us, lush and tall, saturated. Then we came to the trail head for Jefferson Wilderness. Bikes rested on the entrance sign we stepped in, just a few yards, far enough to encounter a couple of old giants rising out of the ancient lava flow.
On day two rolling on our treaded tires we traced the river on it’s eastern side, over rutted dirt and rocky roads watching it meander through the forest and listening to it’s voice change.
The following day after birthday breakfast Eli brought out carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. After opening a few presents we rode our city bicycles over the red pumice roads through desolate ghost forest stripped in fires. That night it began to rain. We fed the fire and tried to hold our ground in its glow. But eventually we were just cold and wet. In the tent I opened birthday presents by flashlight glow.
The next day it rained some more. It became gentle towards noon and we broke down camp. On our way out we stopped at Abbot Creek campground to check out another spring fed creek trail. Beautiful flowers and exotic Tangiers and King Fishers greeted us. The trail was gorgeous. Along the way a spring gushed out of the rocky creek wall, a visual oddity to behold. It was difficult to decide to turn back and finally conclude our trip.