Oxbow: COVID consolation camping

Well, after many years of avoiding it, I finally got COVID, right in time to not be able to take a sweet 6-day solo bike trip that I’d been planning. Which made me very, very sad, since large(ish) swaths of time to adventure all in a row have been hard to come by recently, and it was quite a blow to my wanderlust-stricken soul to have my largeish block consumed not by adventure but by COVID.

But that being said, it’s not like I really felt like biking anyway, since all I did for a bunch of days it felt like was sleep. So in my more generous and chipper moments I tried to see it more as an opportunity to learn about rest, which is a hard lesson for me and probably a good one. So I rested, and slept, and napped, and read a bunch, and slept some more, and for the last two nights of my time off finally felt like I had enough energy to do something, and biked myself out to Oxbow Regional Park.

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(evening daisies by the Sandy River at Oxbow)

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Oxbow was a great COVID bet because it’s only about 25 miles of biking from my house if I take a semi-direct but nice route, and for how close it is it’s still fully lovely. Plus, I figured if I got there and 25 miles of biking totally did me in, no worries, I could just lay by the Sandy River all day and nap, then have a full rest day and two nights before I had to bike myself back up the giant hill to get out of the park. Plus, even though it didn’t really at all scratch my bike tour itch, it did at least get me out sleeping in the woods with the sound of the river to lull me to sleep and the sweet morning birds to sing to me in the morning. (Ha, though unlike normal stasia who would get up with the morning birds, this time I acknowledged them, smiled, and went straight back to sleep for a few more hours;)

It was a nice consolation mini-vacation, even though I would say the percent that it helped my wanderlust was basically zero. But it was a really nice place to spend some mellow days, and a good way for me to embrace rest while still getting out of our house. I brought my binoculars and loved so much all the little birds everywhere (I was excited to see a Western Tanager, which I think of as the most tropical-looking of migrants we get. I’ve never seen them at Oxbow although it seems like they wouldn’t necessarily be uncommon there in the breeding season). I even managed to muster for a trail run, the first time I’d been running in over a week. (That part was pretty exciting. It was great to run and feel pretty muscle-good if not quite able-to-breathe-very-hard-yet again:)

And then inspired by a need for variety, I pioneered a new-to-me way out of Oxbow that was almost entirely carfree until the top of the hill, although now that I look more closely at a trail map I think the very last part of it I wasn’t supposed to bike on, oops! (Though to be fair there were no signs telling me as much like there were on some of the other trails, though I guess if I’d actually looked at a map I would have known.) It’s very much not a practical way out, though, since it is quite steep, steeper than the fully adequate road, and more like a highly strenuous push-a-bike than an actual ride. I probably would just bike out of the park on the road like a normal person again next time anyway.

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(it sure was pretty though, and filled my desire for some kind of novelty and adventure:)

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So, it wasn’t exactly the fun vacation I was hoping for, but I’m grateful for nearby camping to at least get me out of the house for a little bit of woods-and-rivers time. I’m glad that Oxbow exists.

One Comment:

  1. Biking and birding! Doesn’t get much better than that. Enjoyed reading the story of your tour and hope you have recovered from COVID. My family and I had it a few years ago and I too slept for many days. Cheers!

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