So far this spring the weather has been a little lackluster for getting in some early season camping trips. Last year we already had a few camp trips in the books by May. This year every weekend seemed to bring rain or cold and we were starting to get a little antsy to get our first camp trip in. Even though the weather wasn’t looking that great for the weekend, we decided to get a camp weekend in regardless. We looked at the weather in some nearby areas and the Maupin area seemed to have the best weather forecasted for the weekend. We have camped in Maupin before and it is a nice area so we headed back to where we stayed last time we were there, which was the Oasis Campground. The Oasis Campground is a BLM campground located a mile or two outside of Maupin along the Deschutes River. Like most BLM campgrounds it is low frills, but it is on the river and it is cheap. There is a RV campground in Maupin with hook ups and a few more campgrounds further down the road along the Deschutes, but most of them only have a few spots and are hard to get on a Friday night. So we stuck with the same campground as last time.
On Saturday we decided to do an exploratory gravel ride out in the Tygh Valley area on the other side of Highway 97 from Maupin. We followed a route that I found on GPSmyRide.com. It was a good route that followed some pretty scenic and hardly used forest roads including some which were closed to cars and a little over grown and with dead fall. The ride was supposed to be 41 miles long, but we cut it short a little bit since the rain clouds were looking a little threatening as we were getting further out in the mountains. With the short cut, it ended up being 29 miles, but was still a good ride and we only got drizzled on a little bit.
The next day we decided to ride the frontage road that goes along the Deschutes River down to Mack’s Canyon where the road ends. The road is pretty rough with large gravel and chatter bumps from all the cars that go down the road. There is also the occasional dust from passing cars, but the views along the route are pretty amazing. At the end of the road is Mack’s Canyon Campground which is pretty nice but would be a pain to get a trailer to with the rough road. There is supposedly an old rail road track that you can hike from here to another gravel road that will eventually take you out to the gorge by The Dalles. We weren’t up for that today so we just turned around and headed back the way we came. Even though it wasn’t as warm as I would have liked, it was a pretty good first camp trip of the year.