My good friend Christine decided to challenge herself. She, like myself, has not had the chance to do too many bike rides yet this year, and we’re both planning on doing some biking events soon. So, she decided it’s time for a challenge to help her get ready for some hills. She chose to bike up Highway 242 from Sisters, OR. This is also known as the old McKenzie Pass Highway, which closes every year for the winter.
Hwy 242 is a phenomenal drive or ride. The peak is not what people expect to see, and it’s just a marvel. It’s at a higher altitude than I’m accustomed to, even at Sisters, so there was definitely an adjustment when we first started pedaling.
On the way up, we stopped to take a picture (and try to breathe) of Mt Washington. Mt Washington is a volcano and was climbed for the first time in August of 1923 by some fellas from Bend, apparently. I think I’ll stick to hiking and biking…
The flashing bike sign made us laugh. It’s the only one on the trip to the top, as far as I can remember. So random! But I appreciate that we’re being thought of. The road doesn’t open to car traffic until around the third Monday in June, so it’s nice to be able to enjoy the road with just other bikers and a few hikers.
Folks, I was SO GLAD to make it to the top! The last mile or so seemed to take forever! But here we are at the top!
On the right is the Dee Wright Observatory. It’s a cool, castle-like shelter made out of the lava and rock in the area. Inside, there are small windows that face particular mountains, and have them labeled so you know what you’re looking at. On the top, there’s a bronze peak finder. It’s pretty cool! Check this out for more information and pictures: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/willamette/recarea/?recid=4403
At the top, we were looking at the North Sister, and you can see the Middle Sister just behind it, to our right a little.
At the top, we enjoyed salami, cheese, and cracker sandwiches, and some fruit bars. Simple and good.
On our way down, we had to start slow because the snow was melting on the road and forming thick sheets of ice in parts, and in other areas the road was kind of torn up. While we were going slow, Christine got a fun video so you can see how tall the snow was by the road near the top.
Well, Christine wanted a challenge, and it was a challenge we got! It was pretty much uphill the entire way to the top, with a few moments of downhill. On the way back down, we got up to around 33 mph, but couldn’t really go faster because we didn’t want to die. Loose rock and gravel, divots in the pavement, etc. kept us at a decent speed. My hands were absolutely cramped by the time we made it down. I think it took a little over an hour and a half going up, and probably 20 minutes coming down. It was AWESOME!!! I’m so glad Christine invited me.
Distance: 13.36 miles; Elevation: 1,398 feet