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ImageFrom The Source Weekly’s Outdoor Column:

They go from town. Pedaling down the shoulder, they ride side-by-side because traffic is minimal and the cars that do pass have bikes on top. The woman is local, the two men are from out of town. She takes a left toward the trailhead and they follow, passing a parking lot half filled with dirty Subarus and Toyota pickups. A 1984 VW Westfalia the color of burnt toast sits off in one corner with the sliding door open, giving the riders a quick glimpse of goose-bumped skin as someone shimmies out of their shorts.

On the trail there are still patches of snow. Rather than avoid them, the woman climbs out of her saddle and goes through them, keeping the single track single. A mile down the trail, she hears laughter from behind and knows what’s coming.

“What is that? A flaming chicken?”

For the whole piece, visit: Trail Blazing.

Forecasts call for a bit of snow tonight and tomorrow. Hopefully it will come. In the mean time, this week’s outdoor column for The Source Weekly checks out the winter climbing scene at Smith. The first bit is below. For the whole piece, go here: Less Crowds, More Routes.

Puffy coats and wool beanies at belay stations. Handwarmers tucked into chalkbags. Thin socks in shoes a half size larger than normal. Sun on south facing rock. Thermoses filled with hot tea. Classic lines with no crowds, and temperatures perfect for sending. Welcome to central Oregon winter rock climbing.

While many locals have been busy deriding the weather for a lack of snow, a few have taken to celebrating the recent high pressure for its resulting extension of the fall climbing season at Smith Rock and local bouldering areas. … continued…

New column for The Source Weekly. This is the first time I’ve ever cursed in a published piece. I usually try to keep it to something I’d want my Grandma to read. I’m not sure what came over me, or the editor who wanted to keep it in. Maybe we’re all getting a little antsy. Here’s the beginning:

It’s not snowing and, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s(NOAA) weather forecasts, it’s not going to snow with substance anytime soon.

I know it’s just barely December, but I’m about one weak storm system away from stripping down and throwing a half-gallon of gasoline and a match on the pile of old straight skis and broken snowboards that has been building up in the garage for the last few seasons. All I want is one big storm. Then another. And another. Piled up on the horizon, loaded and heavy with precipitation for months to come. Nothing like a sacrificial fire and ceremonial booty-shaking dance to get that fickle bitch La Nina and all her snow-god pals on board.

For the whole piece, visit: High Pressure Blues.

I’m doing a bit of outdoor writing for The Source Weekly in Bend. The beginning of this week’s column:

The Tug is the Drug.

This bit of steelheading gospel is plastered on the rear bumper of the Ford Ranger hell-bent on passing every car driving less than 75 mph on Hwy. 97 between Bend and Maupin. Through the canopy’s dust-covered back window, just visible in the grey light, is a rod holder filled with thick-barreled, cork-handled seven and eight weight rods that are half-broken-down to accommodate their length. Mounds of waders and insulating layers peak above the tailgate. In the cab, two grizzled faces—with eyes looking not at the road, but at the rapidly lightening sky—hover over coffee cups. It’s 24 degrees outside, early winter, and a steelhead mission is in the making.

For the rest, click here:
Low and Slow: Foul weather can make for fair steelhead angling this month