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Keep Moving: Freemont trail beckons, other opportunities abound 

Hot weather and dry trails are going to be the norm now.

click to enlarge cota_lake.jpg

Hot weather and dry trails are going to be the norm now. While the snow is quickly melting away from the remainder of the summer trails, the mosquitoes are advancing as well. Trail runners and mountain bikers would do well to keep moving and avoid these bloodthirsty insects. Repairing a flat tire or stopping for a snack has a sudden new urgency.

Trails recently opened include the North Fork Tumalo Creek trail and portions of the Metolius-Windigo trail connecting to the top of Mrazek. Although there are still a few small snow patches, these will be melting soon and pose no problems for trail users. Other sections of the "Met-Win," including the connection from RD 370 to Three Creeks Lake and from Happy Valley South to Flagline tie, are still blocked by snow and downed trees. Flagline trail remains closed until August 15 to protect elk breeding habitat.

Other newly opening trails include the Lookout Mountain and Round Mountain trails in the Ochoco National Forest, the North Umpqua Trail, the McKenzie River National Trail and the Fremont National Recreation Trail. This week, COTA is sending trail work crews to the Fremont Trail to perform some clearing work and other spring maintenance. If you say you've never heard of the Fremont NRT, you're not alone. Most people haven't. It starts near the town of Silver Lake and meanders across ridges, through valleys and over mountaintops, passing near the towns of Summer Lake, Paisley and Lakeview, finally reaching the California border 175 miles later. Visit the Fremont National Forest website for more info on this unexplored gem.

On the hottest days there's probably no better ride than the McKenzie River Trail, which is only one hour from Bend. The cool waters of the McKenzie River can soothe even the hottest heads. More than a ride, hike or run, the McKenzie is one of those rare opportunities to travel under your own power and see true old-growth forests and more species of moss than anywhere else on earth - a special novelty for us dry siders.

If you are not yet a COTA Member, please consider joining this month. Basic membership is cheaper than a round of golf or a night out on the town. COTA relies on our members for funding and political capital. Please see the COTA website to join, www.cotamtb.com. Thanks for your support.

Be safe and have fun out there. Please send any trail info to chairman@cotamtb.com.

Woody Starr is an avid mountain biker and the chairman of the Bend-based Central Oregon Trail Alliance.

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