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Our detours have all been timely and enjoyable. We set off from Bend feeling energized by civilization and celebration. The way out of town is 40 miles of highway and we are reminded why we stay on dirt roads. An SUV passes us in our lane, just about running us off the road. We are going 5 over the speed limit. Ah, if I could only have a minute of their time…

We stop in Crescent for lunch at a diner that was hosting a vintage car show and welcoming hunters from the woods. We fuel up and then stroll around the show, admiring the royal blue Mach 1 and a yellow Chevy Malibu Han deems “best in show.” Our never-ending lunch dragged on for too long, the small town diner packed to capacity from a Sunday full of hunters and car show patrons.

We finally head out of town to the dusty forest roads we remember. It’s not as cold as the day before but, still, we’re bundled and see the white peaks in the distance, reminding us to keep moving. I ride blinded by dust. It lingers above the gravel and no distance between us brings relief.

I peer through the dust and swerve at the last minute, missing horizontal Han. He slipped going up a switch back but bike and boy are fine. We continue to weave through the deep dark woods and suddenly we are surrounded by monsters. Huge Evergreens cast shade over our path and Han looks so tiny as he rolls in front of me at their base. I’m entranced by their size and reflect on their history, their age.

We round up a smaller gnarly dirt road and head to Hemlock Lake to pitch our tent. The lake glistens with the yellows and oranges of the sun setting. With privacy and a great view, we make dinner, build a fire, and cozy in, back to the wilderness routine we’d longed for.

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