A year in the making, our first bikepacking trip became a reality a few weeks ago. After having the trip delayed for numerous work related reasons and weather we finally were able to set a solid date. A group of six of us with varrying biking experience ranging from the avid weekend warrior, to first time mtber hit the trail for what would become one of our most memorable trips of the year. After coordinating bike borrowing and racking, stuffing and packing our equipment we pointed the caravan North towards Flagstaff. After a quick dinner in Flag we pushed on to complete the car drop and the drive to our Northern trailhead (AKA: The Grand Canyon). After finding a dispersed camping site in the dark we were thrilled to wake up to a view of the canyon's edge from camp. A rough start.
Moments after leaving our campsite and seconds after hitting the trail, we hit our first mechanical. One of the most difficult parts of this route was the lack of reliable water. Typical of the Arizona trail, but most of us are backpackers and our water consumption and carry methods differ greatly. Each of us carried 5-10 liters of water depending on our preparedness. This all leads to the mechanical of a rack failure on Greg bike. With 10 liters of water and gear he was pushing his rack system to it's limits and it didn't take much for a failure. We all anticipated issues and were well stocked to macgyver our way around it. Eventually we made some adjustments and headed back down the 50 mile trail.
With a final green light we hit the winding trail through pine forrest as we made our way away from the Grand Canyon. For Sars and Jon there was no time to waste in learning the mind fuck that is mountain biking. Don't think about what you are currently riding on, look ahead, imagine where you want to go and roll with the punches. Slightly different then hiking down a trail.
After a few miles of single track we were looking forward to meeting up with a fire road for some smooth rolling terrain. It was short lived, but it was fun to throw down a sprint on my cross bike. Speaking of bikes we had four full suspension, one hardtail and one cross bike. Again this goes back to having many different methods of accomplishing the same task.
Day two left us with a few hours of riding and shit ton of time picking up the car drops at the Grand Canyon. Funny when you spend so much time in the canyon, you just pass by the out looks like you are rolling past a Circle K. 'Yeah we've seen it. We will be back in a few weeks.'