Unicycling the Oregon Timber Trail

On June 21st, Jamey Mossengren—also known as the Unicycling Unicorn—departed on a solo unicycling trip on the 669-mile Oregon Timber Trail with a plan to average 21 miles per day. Here’s a look at Jamey’s gear list and his thoughts on the trail from a unicyclist’s perspective…

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Words and photos by Jamey Mossengren (@the_unicycling_unicorn)

The first question I always get is, “Why do the 700-mile off-road Oregon Timber Trail on a unicycle… isn’t a bike more practical/easier/faster/more fun?” My answer is always that yes, it may be all of those things, but I like a challenge and I guess I’ve always been unique most of my life. I grew up learning to unicycle, and not only is it my hobby but I’ve also turned it into my full-time job as a professional performer. Unicycling is my life and I love it. I also think it’s kind of cool to say that you’ve done something no one else on the planet has ever done, especially since it seems like almost everything has already been done by someone.

“Why the OTT, and why now during this pandemic?” Well, I wasn’t planning on doing it this year but it has been on my to-do list ever since I heard about it two years ago. My summer was booked solid with fairs and festivals all over the USA, Canada, and Europe, but in April everything got cancelled. It was a huge bummer and after watching the news and my Facebook feed for months, I was starting to get a bit depressed and needed to look for the good in the bad. So, to make the most out of my unplanned unemployment and to escape from all the bad news, I decided that a month in the woods of Oregon sounded like a perfect solution. And it was.

My first rodeo was unipacking the Colorado Trail in 2014 and I absolutely LOVED it. It was so cool riding across the Rockies solo on one wheel, and I just had to do it again. So, two years later I planned to do the Arizona Trail, but this time I convinced two other crazy and like minded people to do it with me. Of course they were also riding munis (mountain unicycles).

Unicycling Oregon Timber Trail
  • Unicycling Oregon Timber Trail
  • Unicycling Oregon Timber Trail

Let’s talk a bit about the OTT. Before starting I was warned that the Forest Service wasn’t doing much maintenance on trails due to COVID-19. Furthermore, the OTTA weren’t organizing any trail volunteer days to maintain the trail. This meant there was a very good chance the trail would have lots of downed trees from winter storms. And I found this out for myself the first day. After riding just 14 miles I counted 159 trees down. This sucked, and really slowed my roll. I honestly contemplated quitting because if this continued for 600 more miles, I knew I would hate it. But never quit on a bad day because the next day was awesome with only a few trees down and I had a ton of fun, so I kept going.

Out of the 31 days it took me to complete it (including two “zero” days), I definitely had a couple more bad days where either there were too many trees down, it was too sandy or bumpy to ride, or it was just too overgrown/rocky. But I kept pushing on, knowing that the next day would probably present an amazing 10 miles of fun singletrack. The yin with the yang.

Unicycling Oregon Timber Trail
  • Unicycling Oregon Timber Trail
  • Unicycling Oregon Timber Trail

The weather was perfect for the entire trip, with only 10 minutes of a rain/hail/snow/wind storm. But that was fine as I was headed into Silver Lake where I decided to get a motel and take rest. There were a ton of highlights (mostly all the downhill singletrack) but among my favorites were all of the kind people I met on trail. So many nice people, even one woman mountain biker who offered to drive an hour to Hood River to buy me brake pads and deliver them to me back in Parkdale so I could finish the trail without being metal on metal.

I highly recommend this trail for any bikepackers (or unipackers) but I would recommend doing it on a non-pandemic year so the trail is a bit more maintained and rideable. It definitely was a bit more challenging than I thought it would be, but I’m glad I did it and checked it off my list. Life is too short to sit and stare on your screen. Get out there and ride!

I did daily vlogs during my trip with highlights/lowlights and I tried to not be too serious, so they’re a bit silly. Feel free to check them out at www.UnicyclingUnicorn.com where you’ll find a link to my YouTube videos. I’m more than happy to answer any questions you have. Life is all about love and Laughter. Be kind to one another!

  • Unicycling Oregon Timber Trail
  • Unicycling Oregon Timber Trail

Jamey’s Oregon Timber Trail Packlist

Find my complete pack list below. I actually go through and show all my gear in one of my youtube videos here. I also have a much more detailed list with links to most items and the weights of everything here, although that was for when I hiked the Appalachian Trail last year, so most things are the same but it doesn’t have any of my unicycle stuff.

Clothing

– Wool Hat
– Darn Tough Wool Socks x3
– Unicycling Unicorn Trucker Hat
– REI Quick Dry Button-Down Shirt
– Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants
– Crocs
– Bike Shorts x2
– Five Ten Freerider Pro Shoes
– Aviator Sunglasses
– Cotton T-Shirt For Sleeping
– Cotton Pajama Pants
– MEC Rain Jacket
– Rain Kilt
– Wool Gloves
– Thermal Long Underwear
– MEC Puffy Jacket
– Buff (used as facemask)
– Giro Gloves
– Fox Kneepads

Sleep System

– Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite Foam Pad
– Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 Tent
– Zpacks Arc Blast Backpack with Raincover
– Zpacks 20 Degree Sleeping Bag
– MEC Inflatable Pillow
– Bug Net
– Dry bags
– Small Microfiber Towel

Unicycle and Tools

– 27.5” Kris Holm Mountain Unicycle with Bracket
– Unicorn Helmet
– Spare 27.5” Tube
– Revelate Bike Bag
– Lightweight Bike Pump
– Tire Levers
– 5 Spare Spokes
– 6 Zip ties
– Spare Patch Kit
– Allen Keys
– Spoke Wrench
– Spare Brake Pads
– 2 Bungee Cords

Misc

– Ziploc Bags
– Credit Card
– $100 Cash
– Driver’s License
– Indoor/Outdoor Bocce Ball
– Emergency Whistle
– Joby Gorillapod Hybrid Tripod
– Printed Maps of Entire Trail (~60 pages)

Toiletries

– Toilet Paper
– Sunscreen
– First Aid Kit
– Bug Spray
– Nail Clippers
– Chapstick
– Toothbrush / Toothpaste
– Floss

Cooking

– Jetboil Flash
– Fuel Canisters x2
– Long Spoon
– Smart Water Bottles x3
– Dry bag for food
– Sawyer Squeeze Filter System
– Lighter
– Deuce Trowel
– Hand Sanitizer
– Knife

Electronics

– Anker PowerCore Speed 20,000 mAh Portable Battery
– Anker Wall Plug-in (Fast Charge)
– Cord For Android
– Earbuds
– AAA Rechargeable Batteries (For Headlamp & SPOT) x6
– SPOT Emergency Device
– Black Diamond Headlamp
– Android Samsung Galaxy A20 Phone With Case

Food

– Dinners (Mac & Cheese, Instant Mashed Potatoes, Ramen Noodles)
– Breakfasts (Oatmeal/Pop Tarts)
– Beef Jerky
– Gummies
– Trail Mix
– Granola Bars
– Cliff Bars
– Potato Chips
– Goos
– Snickers
– Instant Coffee

Learn more about the Oregon Timber Trail via our full route guide, here.

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