Oregon 'Big Country'

Discussion in 'Survival and Wilderness Skills' started by Hammer, May 14, 2018.

  1. Hammer

    Hammer Member

    Messages:
    1,753
    Likes Received:
    6,290
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Thee Free State of Idaho
    There was a request to provide a little more detail on our recent trip, so here it is (and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask). The dream for this trip started about a year and a half ago when some friends and I came across a description for a route in the very remote southeastern part of Oregon/northern Nevada. I had hunted chukar just south of this area, and had been struck at the time by how seriously 'out there' it was, so I had some idea of what we were getting into. This is country that you better be prepared and self-sufficient in, because while the locals all tend to be friendly folks that will help anyone out, you may not actually see anyone for days.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Originally, we planned this trip for May of last year, but the 2017 snow season in the region was far beyond normal, and the mountain passes that we would need to cross on this route (2 of them over 6000' and another @ 8100') were impassable, so we had to put the route on the backburner and wait for a more favorable year. Spring and Fall are really the only times you would want to attempt this route - Summer can be way too hot and dry.

    [​IMG]
    (Lunch break in the Trout Creek mountains)

    A few stats:

    Total mileage: 357
    Total ascent: 18,350'
    High point: 8125'
    Days of riding: 8.5
    Unpaved: 90%
    Number of hot springs along the route: 5

    [​IMG]
    (Crossing the Alvord dry lake bed)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In terms of logistics, we started in the tiny town of Frenchglen, and rode the loop clockwise. Our average daily mileage was about 40 miles/day. Some days we did significantly more than that, and some a fair bit less, based on what the day and trail conditions held for us.

    Some of our group opted to mail the second half of their food ration to the general delivery P.O. in Denio, NV which was our halfway point. This went smoothly for them. My wife and I opted to carry all of our food with us, which worked fine as well. Despite being very arid country, finding water was never too much of an issue for us. Each bike (6 bikes/people in total) carried enough capacity for 4-5 liters of water.

    Given the remote nature of this route, we put a lot of deliberate thought into repair kits - both of the bike and human variety.

    [​IMG]

    (Camp in the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge)

    Without a doubt, one of the big appeals of this route, beyond the remote, wild country we would be living and traveling in, was the number of hot springs it features along the way. While every day was a fair bit of work, it certainly made it easier when we knew we'd be soaking in a spring at some point....

    [​IMG]

    (Hart Mtn hot springs)

    [​IMG]
    (Bog Hot Springs)

    Most of the route was rideable, but there were some sections there was no choice but to hike-a-bike:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Wildlife was fairly abundant on this route. We saw tons of pronghorns and mule deer, coyotes and a huge variety of birds (this area of a big migratory stopover for many avian species). One morning we even saw a herd of about 20 elk that were bedded down near a creek.

    A few wild burros we cam eacross:

    [​IMG]

    In the end, we all agreed it was by far one of the best (if not THE best) bikepacking trip we had ever done, and this group has a fair bit of bikepacking all over the West under it's collective belt. I don't think there was a single day that our bellies didn't hurt from laughing just as much as our legs hurt from peddling our asses off. It's a trip I will always treasure having done, but of course, thoughts are already turning to the next one....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
  2. mtngoat

    mtngoat Member

    Messages:
    2,099
    Likes Received:
    4,666
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Greenville, SC
    I see you were riding a hardtail, any advantage to this over a full suspension for this kind of terrain. I have a Giant Talkn 27.5 hardtail is why I am asking. Do you run tubes or tubeless? I am very interested in the gear carried as well. Looks like a great trip.
     
  3. Hammer

    Hammer Member

    Messages:
    1,753
    Likes Received:
    6,290
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Thee Free State of Idaho
    Yeah, for this kind of trip, I much prefer a hardtail, for a few reasons;

    1) The more remote I am, the more mechanical simplicity I want.
    2) Given the length of the trip, being able to have a full frame bag was pretty critical. With a full sus bike, you'd lose valuable triangle space.
    3) The terrain really didn't require full sus - while it was rocky and rough at times, it was fine negotiating with a hardtail. And the plus-sized tires went a long way toward smoothing out the ride.

    We all ran tubeless, and that's really all I run any more. I said goodbye to tubes a few years ago with no regrets. While one guy experienced a slow leak on the last couple days of the trips, none of us ever flatted out. However we all carried spare tubes, and extensive tire repair options, just in case.

    As for other gear we carried, we kept it as simple and lightweight as possible. My wife and I shared a Nemo "Apollo" floorless pyramid tent with a carbon pole/ti stakes (1.2 pounds total, with pole and stakes), a MSR Pocket Rocket stove, and a Vargo 'BOT' for cooking. We each brought lightweight down quilts made by Enlightened Equipment, and Klymit sleeping pads. My quilt/pad combo weighed less than 2.5 lbs. Other than that, it was just personal clothing, mug/spoon, and minimal toiletries.

    We also carried a 1st aid kit for the two of us, a general repair kit (duct tape, small tube of Aquaseal, ripstop nylon tape, tent pole splint, etc) and bike repair supplies.

    For navigation we had a variety of GPS units, phone map apps and good 'ol paper maps throughout the group. There was very little cell reception along the entire route. Folks with AT&T never had service at all for the whole 8-1/2 days. Those of us with Verizon could pick it up here and there. But most nav apps these days still function in airplane mode, so this wasn't much of an issue for navigation.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
  4. joe_from_iowa

    joe_from_iowa Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    21
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Iowa
    Thanks for sharing!!! Awesome trip!!!
     
  5. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

    Messages:
    10,783
    Likes Received:
    22,071
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    west
    Epic! Love stuff like this.
     
  6. RocketmanDane

    RocketmanDane Member

    Messages:
    1,965
    Likes Received:
    2,926
    Location:
    Here and there...
    @Hammer I LOVE that part of the country!!! I have spent time that in that area for antelope hunting ETC and its just AWESOME! There is also a good number of Sun Stone digging spots out that way also!
     
    Darkhorse likes this.
  7. Strigidae

    Strigidae Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    11,048
    Likes Received:
    13,337
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    United States
    Amazing!!!!
     
  8. Darkhorse

    Darkhorse Member

    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    67
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    UWHARRIE MTNS.
    @Hammer good stuff in your post good to meet a fellow biker
     
    Hammer likes this.

Share This Page