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For the third straight day, we planned to start early, by 7am, anticipating a very long day in the saddle; the ride would be about 6,600 feet of climbing, and over 90 miles of distance, from our starting point in Fort Klamath. It also promised to be a spectacular day for scenery, climbing early through a coniferous forest, summiting on a hollowed out volcanic peak, Mount Mazama, circumnavigating clockwise around the rim of its’ crater for 30 miles in full view of the Southern section of the Cascade mountain range on our left shoulder, and with a deep blue and very deep Crater Lake on our right shoulder, then descending 3,500 feet in the last 30 miles to our destination in Prospect! Yet again, the temperature started in the high thirties, and yet again there was ice on the tent in the morning. I had been skeptical of riding around the rim of Crater Lake, as it was optional, but Tim talked me into it: He pointed out we had come all this way, and we didn’t want to miss the best part, and that we were in good enough shape to handle it, so I acquiesced willingly, and off we went.
Tim and Tom at rest stop. Oregon Scribbler.
The climb up to Mount Mazama began immediately, and we slowly warmed up on the long climb to the summit. Our muscles warmed to the task, but the extremities did not. We were climbing so high that the air temperature, unlike the first two days, did not warm very quickly as the day progressed. We stopped at the first two rest stops, happy to give our legs a respite.
Tim and Tom on the Crater Lake rim. Oregon Scribbler.
Climbing the rim of Mount Mazama. Nancy Yu, Ride Chronicles.
Rogue River Gorge. Nancy Yu, Ride Chronicles.
We ate a relaxed lunch, meeting many more health care professionals in the process, all of whom Tim seemed to know. We felt very tired, but knew that the last 30 miles would be as fast and furious as we wanted. Starting the descent, we stopped to view a natural wonder on the Rogue river, the Rogue River Gorge. Water rushes mightily through a narrow set of broken lava tubes, in a lush sylvan setting. Gorgeous! Soon we took off down the long descent to Prospect, and just flew, averaging nearly 26 miles an hour for that distance, taking turns leading each other down: What a kick!
Laurie was waiting in Prospect at a lovely RV park by the river, in a park-like setting. We walked around the park and enjoyed the local beauty. She offered us some pizza from the one and only pizzeria in Prospect, and it was good, even better because we were ravenous, especially followed by a cold beer. I went to sleep very quickly that night, knowing that we had completed the hardest day, but knowing that the next hardest day would follow in the morning.