The Skid Lizards are Oregon-based friends with bikes, bags, and jobs. Flies fear them; fish do not. This mission would involve exploring the Metolius River’s length, purity, and gravel – from head to tailwaters and back again.
We heard whispers of the 61-mile route once being connectable between the source spring at the base of Black Butte to its end in Lake Billy Chinook. We also knew that major landslide had closed the road a decade or so ago. Upon hearing the local lore, it was settled that we would bike and bushwhack to the most remote reaches of the canyon in search of wild trout unlearned of line and hook.
What we found were down trees, chunky gravel, mechanicals, flats, mosquitos, two fingerling trout, 100-degree heat, and a forest fire at the top of our 3k climb. But we also found wildness for a weekend- a few moments where modernity skidded to a halt. You see, Lizards like to slow down fast.
The Metolius defines hydrological health and natural beauty. No other river can claim its own rainbow trout subspecies, remaining old-growth forests, water the color of both ink and glass, miles of non-motorized access, the fabled Wizard Falls fish hatchery, and 90,000 adjacent acres still home to three Native American nations. If for a while you listen to the wind and the water, you will learn that this place has a rich story to tell…. the following video is not that story.
Please enjoy and then go ride bikes with your friends :)