Wednesday 16th September
Much to our delight the rain had cleared by the morning and we were left with a bright blue sky and white fluffy clouds. The town looked so much better in the sunshine, and was buzzing with tourists all out exploring and eager for a chat.
I’m a big fan of colourful things so I rather liked Silverton with all of it’s multicoloured buildings, and particularly liked the dirt streets. The town certainly had character.
After some breakfast in a cafe and my chai tea fix we headed up and back over Corkscrew pass, and were treated to some stunning scenery. Although we’d ridden over it twice now it was a different place in the sunshine, as the greens and yellows of the leaves and the reds and oranges of the rock shone in all their colourful glory.
Nature knows how to do colours, and this scene was no exception. Some days I can’t get over how blue the sky is, I think we take it for granted. When you look at it, and I mean really look at it, you realise that it’s a blue like no other, it’s awesome in every sense of the word.
The stunning scenery continued as we made our way down what now seemed like a familiar pass, and eventually got back on to the Million Dollar Highway. It was gorgeous with all the colourful leaves, and I couldn’t help but feel like we’d hit it at the perfect time of year.
It was weird looking up at the mountains as we rode along the highway, it was surreal to think that we’d been all the way up there navigating our way down. We soon came to the turning for Ophir pass, and as we were getting a photo next to a ‘Recommended: High clearance four wheel drive’ sign which greatly amused us, a couple of guys called Bruce and Perry turned up.
They were really great and a pleasure to chat to, and even gave us a few cable ties as we’d run out. I love meeting other bikers on the road, and it’s always fun to meet people that have been following us online, makes you realise what a small world it is.
We’d been told that Ophir pass was relatively easy and nothing as bad as we’d already ridden, so in my mind I was expecting an average and potentially boring pass. I can safely say that my expectations couldn’t have been further from the truth, in fact Ophir pass was one of my favourite passes out of all of the ones we’d ridden so far.
As we made our way up I stopped and looked back to see an absolutely stunning view behind me. I had to stop and stare at it for a few minutes to soak it all in. I always try to remember to look back, you can often miss some of the best views if you only look forwards.
We soon rode over the brow of a hill and what opened before us was incredible. I don’t know if it was because I had such low expectations that I was so in awe of my surroundings, but whatever it was it was a beautiful surprise.
I often find that it can work the other way round too. You can have such high expectations of a place that when you finally get to see it it can be quite a disappointment, whereas if you’d not known anything about it and stumbled across it you might have thought that it was amazing. Funny that.
The pass wound round the side of a mountain, and the colours, patterns and rock formations were incredible, I loved it. We decided that it would be really cool to film me riding down it, and after asking Ed how fast I needed to go and being told as fast as I can, I said no problem and set off bounding down the trail. The problem was that what looked like a smooth trail from a distance was actually incredibly bumpy and rocky, and after a few seconds of being thrown around like a rag-doll I greatly reduced my speed and happily bounced down the mountain, keeping one eye on the trail and the other on the rather steep drop off.
I really enjoyed riding down it, it was fun navigating my way through the rocks and round the bumps. I don’t know if I’d fancy doing it on a much bigger bike at the top though, I imagine it could be quite scary. The rest shown in the photos was fine though.
And talking of scary I had quite the scare on the way down! I’d ridden back up to collect my camera from Ed, then rode back down quite fast thinking that he was close behind me. However when I glanced back up I couldn’t see him, and wondering where he was I decided to turn around and ride back up again. After riding quite a way I still wasn’t able to see him, despite being able to see all the way up the trail, and it was then that I had a sudden and rather horrible moment of panic. ‘Has he gone off the edge?!’ I started shouting his name while riding up slowly looking over the edge, wondering how the hell I was going to be able to spot him amongst all the trees, when much to my relief I suddenly spotted him. Turned out he’d been perfectly hidden behind a tree taking a video, and hadn’t gone flying off the edge after all. Phew! Panic over.
We eventually got to the bottom and rode through the small town of Ophir, before being deposited on to a paved road. As we continued along the road the mountains looked beautiful as the sun just caught the top of them, and before we knew it were were turning off on to a gravel road and winding our way up in to the National Forest.
We love the National Forests as you can camp wherever you like within reason, but after spotting a sign for a campsite we decided to investigate. It was $16 without any services, so we decided to continue and found a perfect spot by a stream, which was made all the more better as it was free. Why pay when you can have your own private campsite for nothing? And not only that but there was loads of firewood nearby too, so after going on a wood collecting mission on his bike, Ed returned and got the fire going while I boiled the water for our dinner.
There’s something quite satisfying about dinner under the stars, but as darkness fell so did the temperature, and once it hit 8C the fire didn’t cut it anymore and we retreated in to the tent, thankful for the extra warmth as we snuggled up in our sleeping bags.