Bikepacking Trip 2017

Hey, let’s strap 60 pounds of water, food and whiskey to our bikes and ride up mountains. It will be fun!!

Right, well, caution be to those who always say yes to adventures far in advance only to realize, “OH SHIT, that’s next weekend?!”

So, to give a little rundown of what crap is carried where:

On the Bars: There is a stuff sack strapped to the bars that holds an MSR Stove, lighter, pot, propane, dry backpacking food, beef jerky, trailmix, my cup/bowl/spork, a down vest/beanie/long johns.

(Also on the bars is the gopro/mount and a high powered LED mountain bike light and the battery is strapped to the frame)

Just behind the bars on the frame (The red one): Bike tools, gopro batteries, snacks for on the go.

Black frame bag: 30oz of water and 30oz of Whiskey. Del Bac to be specific.

2- 26oz water bottles.

Tailbag: Sleeping bag, pad, pillow, tent.

Osprey backpack: 100oz Water bladder, water purifyer, microstart battery charger, more snacks/food, “Emergency whiskey 13oz”, 30oz water bladder, riding jacket, Spot GPS beacon.

I think that’s about it. I weighed it before I added a bit more food and the whiskey and was at 57 pounds. That plus the weight of the bike meant I felt like I was riding a water buffalo.

What could go wrong!?!

We drove up to “That Brewery” in Pine, AZ.

Here is where I google other’s maps to use...

enhance.... enhance...


Too close!

So, that’s us, well that’s Matt and Jeff. (Jeff on the left is the one who got me into endurance mountain biking and racing. He was sick enough to insist Singlespeed was the only way to go so for years that’s what we did. Who needs gears or suspension... We’ve had 100+ mile days on our mountain bikes suffering away, we each did a 24 hour race solo on singlespeeds and I’m sure neither of us is recovered from still, and that was years ago. He’s the enabler, and a great buddy. This is all his fault. Thank goodness we now have gears and suspension).

It’s Thursday night, 10PM. We had all worked a full day and driven to the mountains so I was ready to sleep, but Jeff wanted to just “ride downhill to the Verde River.” That turned into hours of climbing up roads and then descending down and then climbing and then descending. It’s amazing how much you can climb to go downhill. At 1:30am-ish we got to the Verde river and collapsed into our sleeping bags 26 miles later.

Along the way we saw Elk, a Skunk, deer, some hunters camping and a random BMX bike is a section of trail that’s hard to get to... that was odd.

In the morning we woke up to a pretty view. I say morning, but really it was just a couple hours after we’d arrived.

That’s the Verde River. Not far from the Verde Hot Springs on the other side. You may remember Kelsey and I went there in the FJ40 from the “back way.”

Good morning Jeff, this is all your fault!

We had some coffee, and by some I mean 3 starbucks via packets...

We stashed our bikes and most of the gear so we could wade across the river and visit the hot springs.

This area is beautiful. You can see the old power lines above for the “Child’s Power Plant.” No, it was not operated by umpa lumpas or children. History here:

Some more great photos of it modern day are here:

Back to crossing the Verde River. When Kelsey and I were here last the river was nearly neck deep and it was downright dangerous to cross. I watched some college kids having no idea of the real danger make it across, but others were not so lucky this year. Heavy snow and rain made for a high river. Now, it was about as low as it could get during the year which was nice because it was COLD.

Made it!

These hot springs were once quite a resort. What’s left is this main pool, a warmer small pool inside the stone shack, and some cement foundations all around. You can even see where a suspension bridge connected over the Verde river.

You can see a painting of what the resort used to look like here:

Warm water flowing from the rock inside.

Here is a shot looking back from the way you get to the springs. That’s Gypsy, a dog we met there.

The art at hot springs makes you wonder what they were on, it’s pretty, but it’s always pretty weird.

And with that, we crossed back and loaded up our bikes. We had 26 miles of climbing ahead of us... fun!

I can’t show you a photo that represents how steep it was. The pic above was steep enough that 2wd trucks passing us would spit out a rock on occasion. Still, it looks dead flat.

We were hoping to climb past this section and onto the now closed section of Fossil Creek road before it got too late (AKA Busy!) so we could climb in peace without vehicles driving past us.

After what seemed like a days worth of riding we got to Fossil Creek. This area used to be overrun with people and trash. With the advent of instagram this was one place that blew up in popularity and I hadn’t been back in 6 or 7 years. There is now a permit system for access part of the year. We were about a week past the permit time of year and no longer being miserably hot in Phoenix meant that this place was empty. Not a piece of trash in sight too. I have to admit, the permit system worked, it was beautiful.

We moved the bikes down by the river and decided it was time to kill an hour.

This water is all from Fossil Spring making it clean and COLD. It felt like being tasered when you jumped in, but it was great.

Just hanging out under the bridge.

I want to come back and dive down in this deep spot to see what it looks like. With a mask and when it’s about 20 degrees warmer!