A year ago I was able to do what I now call my “First Annual McKenzie River Mountain Bike Trail Ride” and have been waiting patiently for this years trip. My brother-in-law and I have found that September provides to best weather and the least amount of riders on the trail. The trail itself is a single track that follows closely to the McKenzie river, so you not only have the joy of riding on America’s #1 bike trail, voted by Bike Magazine, but the beauty of the thick green old growth forest, and an awesome aqua-blue waters of the McKenzie. The roar of the river can be heard almost the entire route. The 26.5 mile trail is much longer than the shortened route we take. The upper section involves some technical lava flows which frankly would cause more pain than I wish to endure if I was to have a spill. In my younger years I wouldn’t hesitate to jump on at the top of the trail without even thinking about pain if I were to fall. If you can envision nothing but the sharp edges of lava rock catching a piece of skin, well it’s like my hair, I need as much of it as I can without loosing any more. Once you drop below the lava flows and start riding on the dirt, the only obstacles on the trail are rocks and tree roots that you must keep an eye on to maneuver through. I prefer to take the downhill route as it offers just enough uphill climbs to get your heart pumping at a good healthy rate, then allows you to have that much needed breather as you get to enjoy that downhill break. The beauty is breathtaking as you travel through the lush green ferns and moss covered trees. By riding this trail in late September the leaves in the trees are starting to change to the fall colors, with rays of light that look like light beams directed to light up the forest bottom. The entire forest becomes alive, and you just have to stop throughout the ride to soak up some of God’s beautiful creation.
Planning my 2nd Annual McKenzie River Mountain Bike Trail Ride I knew what to expect. My first trip, and not knowing anything about the trail, I knew better than to bring my good camera that I use for weddings and all my portrait work. I have invested a substantial amount into my photography equipment, so I protect it in every way I can. This trip, I was bringing one of my cameras to capture the forest beauty, but which one? I could bring my backup camera or bring the one I really love to shoot with. I made the choice to bring my good one along with one of my best lenses. I next had to decide on how I would protect it. I could carry it on my back in a backpack, or I could use bubble wrap and place it in the storage bag attached to the back of my bike. It would have more jarring with the bumps and bouncing the bike goes through, but it would be held tightly in the grip of the bag. The choice had been made, it would go in the bike bag.
Thursday morning the alarm clock rings at 6:00am. As I sat up and counted the hours of sleep I was able to get, the number came up to be my typical five hours. I didn’t have to rush the morning, though I couldn’t waste time either. All the camping gear was already packed in the Blazer so I only had to pack the ice chest, shave kit, and camera. You always read in photography magazines “what’s in your bag” referring to all your camera equipment that you travel with. Your bag carries lenses, filters, flash, batteries, memory cards, and is the life line to your camera body. This trip I would go without the camera bag, as I didn’t want to leave a couple of thousand dollars worth of camera equipment in a vehicle with David Michael Portraits written on three sides. On the road at 8:00am we arrived at our camp site 2 hours later. The next morning, after breakfast, it was time to pack the bikes and head up to the trail. That’s when I discovered, I forgot my memory card. I could take all the pictures I wanted but nothing would be recorded. I was heartsick because I really wanted to capture the beauty of the forest to share with you, but it won’t happen. I can’t believe I made such a stupid mistake, but it’s one that won’t ever happen again. The ride was awesome and just as beautiful as in the previous year. We are already thinking ahead to next year where I will have my camera, lens, AND memory card.
As I close this blog, I just wanted to share one final thought and something to think about. We are like a favorite camera to God. He loves us, wants to protect us to keep us from harm, and as you trust in Jesus, he takes out the memory card so that our sins are never recorded.
Next year, there will be photos, but in the mean time, here is a link to learn more about the McKenzie River Trail and see some video clips of the ride.
Thanks for reading