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Adventure Sota

nx1p's picture
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Most of the Oregon south coast summits are accessible only by dirt roads.  access to summit bases are on un maintained dirt roads.  Since the South Coast gets, on average, 6 feet of rain a year, well, you can imagine what a steep unmaintained dirt road looks like. 

Most of the maintained roads can be traveled in a 4 wheel drive vehicle.  The unmaintained roads are impassible except for quads or small dualsport/dirt bikes and an experienced rider.  My vehicle of choice is a dualsport xt250. Small and managable on nasty, sloping, gullied, muddy, rocky unmaintained roads.  (getting the picture?)

I made my approach using Google Earth, Garmin and a local topo knowing full well that I would likely be led astray.  The 'preferred' approach ended at a ranch on private land.  Backtracking, I found my self back on the semi maintained road nf100.  This road heads west and up hill along the northern base of Signal Buttes.  At the peak of the road is an interscection and lots of indicators that it makes no sense to continue on nf100.  My topo shows that there is a bridge out and nf100 no longer connects to the main nf road system. Checking the bridgeout location showed that it was impassible by any vehicle (short of using winches).

Returning to the intersection at the road peak, I hesitated as the road leading to the south was severly gullied and steep sloped.  Getting over my initial fears, I headed up nf103, as Garmin showed it might get me closer to Signal Buttes (I was still a good 1 mile away and 1500 feet of climb.

Reaching another peak on nf103, I found another road, nf102 which Gamin indicated that it went to Signal Butte but the topo showed it dead ended.  This raod was _even worse_ then what I had just climbed.  I left the bike and hiked in about 300 meters and decided it was doable but not with my heavy pack of equipment.  I droped my pack and headed back for the bike.  

NF103 is not much more then a quad trail.  Deep steep gullies with narrow lines that a dual sport bike can navigate.  One slipup and it would not be pretty.  Manageing to get past most of the steep climb, I got to a deep long mud puddle.  Again surveying, there was no way arround.  I tested a corner of the puddle by foot and it seemed pretty solid so I went for.  The first 15 feet was pretty easy, then I sunk.  The rear tire was up to its axle in mud but I had good forward momentum and really good knobby tires.  Making it through I found my way to even more challenges. 

But now, I could see Signal Butte to my right (west).  It was within reach.  Navigating several more ditches (the four foot kind) I intersected a rocky but more used road.  Hanging a right I crossed a small medoew at the base of the highest butte and started up a hill climb.  I quickly decided it would be best to leave the bike and make the final asscent on foot.  

The last climb was all loose rock and steep.  It was 3:10PDT. Once I got to the top I recongized that I had actually been here with a group a couple of years ago.  That gave me great relief as I know we used a different, more managable root from nf3680 (the root down to nf3680 is not marked on the topo but it is there).

The weather was cooperating.  Light breeze, sunny with a few clouds.  360 degree views and clear shot of the Rouge River as it enters the Pacific.  

It took me longer then I wanted for the set up. (I need to do a few more refinements).  I finally got on the air at 4:10.  I made 5 contacts on 20 and 5 contacts on 17 meters.  17 meters performed better.  I shut everthing down just before 5:00PDT and was packed by 5:30 (again, taking way to long).  I still had to navigate several miles of un-maintained road before I would reach a maintained gravel road (nf3680).

The trip down from the Buttes was treacherous but doable.  Very technical.  I was unconfortable with a heavy pack on my back making it difficult to throw my xt250 around.  

Once on the main road I high tailed it out to the rt 101 coast road and went home to a waiting cold one.

It was a very hard earned 2 points!!!


btw, I always carry a 'findme spot' personal locator device, just in case....

HG1DUL's picture

Great story

Next time you have to make some pictures, :) very nice reading.