Monday, March 14, 2011

Bikepacking: A Shakedown.

Apparently scraping my shoulder off wasn't enough.

So I've been wanting to get into more bikepacking/camping/touring-in-general for quite a while, since before my attempt at the Grand Canyon. What I know now, is I was doing it wrong then. Since then, I've been doing a lot of reading, scheming, plotting, and making. And this past weekend was the trial run for it all.

Josh and I packed up our gear, and headed down to Black Canyon City to camp out from Friday night to Sunday. After weeding out some bad directions, we made it to the trailhead and proceeded to get ready. The camping spot we had been told of was only a mile and a half away, all of 2 miles from I-17, and 3 miles from Black Canyon City. Extra water was in the truck if needed, and we had plenty of bailout options. Josh brought his dog Lucy, and would be hiking to the camp spot. I brought Tri, and would be riding.
Tri, all loaded down. The backpack on the tailgate is also mine.

I've never ridden this trail, let alone at night with a loaded down bike. Adventure!

All went well, and I wound up at the Agua Fria River in short order, where I waited for Josh. He made good time, and before too long, we found a spot to set up our tents.
Josh's on the left, mine on the right.

Testing my little alcohol stove to make breakfast.

After waking up and getting everything situated, we set off to do our different things for the day. I had seen pictures and read about the Black Canyon Trail System, and I've been wanting to ride it ever since I heard of it. It looked like an incredibly fun trail, with stunning views and well routed singletrack. So I set off to ride.

Looking back at camp.


The trail has a very natural look and feel to it. It really is a part of the landscape, not an addition to it.

Bike sculpture at the top of one of the climbs.

Riding amongst the Saguaros. It's a lot different than dodging trees.

Black Canyon City.

I found Josh and Lucy at the bike sculpture on the way back, and had lunch, before heading back down to camp. I had ridden 7 miles out, and while I wasn't tired, I had limited water, and knew I had to either go to the truck for more, or boil water out of the river.

First thing's first, though...
Always wanted to chill with my feet in a stream after a ride.

Josh returned not too long after, and we spent the afternoon boiling water for drinking with our stoves, reading, and napping.

Sunday, we packed up, biked/hiked back to the truck, and headed back up the hill.

Overall, it was a fun and successful trip. I think I packed the perfect balance of gear and food, and had room for more, which I probably would (Should) use for more water. Everything worked, nothing failed, and while I do have a couple niggling changes to make to the setup, they're very minor and by no means necessary. I feel more confident in that bikepacking is entirely doable for me, and that it's fun.

So, now to do a real bike packing trip... once the weather warms up here a bit more.

Mileage: 4.5

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