Slightly North Of The Equator
A Family Overland Adventure With the Suzuki Equator 4×4
Editor: Eric Bewley Photo: E. Bewley
Bend, OR – Sometimes it is just good to load up the family and head for the hills and what better a combination than the central Oregon high desert and the ARB equipped Suzuki Equator. Our long-term loaner Suzuki Equator has really become a welcomed addition to our stable of adventure vehicles. It’s peppy 4 liter V6 engine and factory rear locker combine to provide on-road drivability and off-road credibility to this current offering from Suzuki.
We headed off to our favorite stomping grounds to catch a little sunshine and warm temperatures as this year’s summer in western Oregon has been less than ideal for followers of the sun. On our way to a beautiful camping spot nestled in the Ponderosa pines of Pine Mountain we stumbled across a new trail that we hadn’t seen before and it provided a nice change of pace and a beautiful vantage point at the top in which on this clear day, we could see all the way to California. Well, maybe not that far but quite a ways mind you.
The warm temps, clear skies, and mild night made for a enjoyable overnight camping trip. But the real fun, however, was getting to camp. The new trail we found is one that has been used by hunters for some time and because of that, it had a utilitarian nature to it. Meaning it was fairly straight and steep and went directly towards vantage points were one could easily spot game. During our quick assent up the mountain we spotted a red tailed hawk that scared us as we scared him by swooping down from his perch on a pine tree’s branch and leaving the scene right over the top of our trusty pickup truck.
The top of the trail dropped out right at the Pine Mountain Observatory campground where we intended to camp but a large group of Boy Scouts were in the camp so we thought it best to find another spot. The wonderful thing about this area is that dispersed camping is still allowed. So, we camped in the raw and awoke to the wind softly blowing through the tops of the trees.
We packed up and hit the trail on the way out rested and ready for the next week’s battles with the copy machine, coffee maker, and city traffic.