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  1. #1
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    Bike Packing the BCT; trip report


    Hi all. Just got off of a 3-day, 2-night solo bikepacking trip on the Black Canyon Trail in Arizona.

    The weather was definitely in my favor; 75 during the day and around 40 at night, although the first night was in a valley and the cold air sunk in early morning to make it feel pretty chilly. This is January? My wife keeps calling it "Juneuary" here in Flagstaff where we should be buried in snow.
    Bike Packing the BCT; trip report-preride.jpg

    BCT has great singletrack riding that is pretty buff but challenging enough to keep you engaged. The trail runs along the Bradshaw mountains through Black Canyon where the Aqua Fria river runs year round. Kind of rare for the Sonoran Desert and makes for a great water resource on the trail. Just carried my 100oz Osprey bladder and filtered once or twice a day.
    Bike Packing the BCT; trip report-aquafria.jpg

    I kept a simple camp and didn't even bother to bring a shelter. To be honest I was hoping the move would jinx me and it would rain. Loving the endless blue skies but we need the precip. Still, no rain and really the only thing I needed shelter from was the intense full moon!
    Bike Packing the BCT; trip report-campo.jpg

    As usual, I brought too much food; 3 tasty bite packs, noodles, 8 huppy bars, a pound of nixed nuts, a pound of granola, 8 starbucks via packs and two ramen noodle packs (which came in handy). For breakfast I had two cups o' joe and hot granola. Didn't really do lunch just snaked along the way trying to get the weight of the mixed nuts down. The Huppy Bars were good trail food too. Diner was Tasty Bites and noodles. Love that stuff and easy to make.
    Bike Packing the BCT; trip report-tastybite.jpg

    After riding the Black Canyon Trail I had to figure an east/west route to get to Cave Creek where my truck was parked at Flat Tire bike shop. I had 4-wheeled through New River Canyon before and remembered water. Bad mistake. Not only did the water (New River) run totally dry but it was the gnarlyest, steepest most rugged road you wouldn't want to ride a bike on. What was supposed to be an easy last day turned into a 65-mile epic through some of the most scenic and rugged country i'd ridden a bike through. Here's where the Ramen came in handy. As for water? Let's just say my lips are cracked.
    Name:  bonk.JPG
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    Got to the bike shop late. I have a Shimano Alfine dynamo hub with Exposure light system that I didn't intend on using but glad I brought it.

    All in all bikepacking the Black Canyon Trail was an awesome experience. It's about 80-miles top-to-bottom single track with a couple loops in between. As for New River canyon? Added about 60mi of hell to my ride (although it was very beautiful). Think I'll stick to 4-wheeling it. I think next time I'll leave my vehicle at the lower BCT trailhead and get shuttled up. Call it a 3-day trip with the loops (which I didn't ride this tour).

    Hope to see ya'll out there. And remember, every tour ends with this...
    Bike Packing the BCT; trip report-michalada.jpg








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    "Riding the Sonoran Desert since 1969"

  2. #2
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    Bike Packing the BCT; trip report

    Great report and photos. I envy being able to bikepack with no shelter. Nice light setup.

  3. #3
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    Nice trip. Ride with me and I will "solve" any excess food problems you have.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  4. #4
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    Thanks vikb, would be happy to feed you. Cool website at vikapproved, btw. How would you feel about reviewing a Black Canyon trip with Sonoran Expeditions? Check out my web site at the link in my signature. Cheers!
    www.sonoranmtb.com
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    "Riding the Sonoran Desert since 1969"

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SONORANMTB View Post
    How would you feel about reviewing a Black Canyon trip with Sonoran Expeditions? Check out my web site at the link in my signature. Cheers!
    Your website looks great. Especially the food pictures!

    I'll keep you in mind for our next trip down to Sedona. I'm up in Canada so it's hard to say when that will be. We got down there twice in 2013, but I'm thinking our next desert MTB trip will be to Moab and other points Utah.

    I've never been on an organized bike tour before. I'd typically say it's not my thing, but I am trying to ease my GF into touring and she would appreciate a fabulous dinner in camp better than me handing her a freezedried pack of noodles and a pot of hot water!
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  6. #6
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    Bike Packing the BCT; trip report

    Interesting to see the JetBoil. I use mine a lot and an always debate if I should switch to a 700ml pot and beer can alcohol stove.

    The JetBoil is so reliable and powerful, but a bulk bulky and heavy.

  7. #7
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    Just the sort of post I was hoping to see! 3 friends and I were also out here this weekend. Sunday around 2pm we parked at Table Mesa trailhead and hiked the 4 miles north to the river where we camped near the place the trail crosses. Hiked out the other side of the loop at about noon Monday. Didn't seen you, saw 2 solo bikers is all but no one with camping gear. Someday I'd love to do something like this.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SONORANMTB View Post
    ....
    After riding the Black Canyon Trail I had to figure an east/west route to get to Cave Creek where my truck was parked at Flat Tire bike shop.
    You could gone to Emery Henderson TH and then south on the little used part of BCT then taken Maricopa east between Anthem and Desert hills. That takes to you right to cave creek park and from there is easy to get Flat Tire in Cave Creek. 20-25 miles max and all dirt (except for in Cave Creek) and rideable.


    All in all nice ride!
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  9. #9
    ballbuster
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    Quote Originally Posted by SONORANMTB View Post

    Hi all. Just got off of a 3-day, 2-night solo bikepacking trip on the Black Canyon Trail in Arizona.

    The weather was definitely in my favor; 75 during the day and around 40 at night, although the first night was in a valley and the cold air sunk in early morning to make it feel pretty chilly. This is January? My wife keeps calling it "Juneuary" here in Flagstaff where we should be buried in snow.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	preride.JPG 
Views:	213 
Size:	178.1 KB 
ID:	863685

    BCT has great singletrack riding that is pretty buff but challenging enough to keep you engaged. The trail runs along the Bradshaw mountains through Black Canyon where the Aqua Fria river runs year round. Kind of rare for the Sonoran Desert and makes for a great water resource on the trail. Just carried my 100oz Osprey bladder and filtered once or twice a day.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	aquafria.JPG 
Views:	153 
Size:	189.0 KB 
ID:	863686

    I kept a simple camp and didn't even bother to bring a shelter. To be honest I was hoping the move would jinx me and it would rain. Loving the endless blue skies but we need the precip. Still, no rain and really the only thing I needed shelter from was the intense full moon!
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	campo.JPG 
Views:	181 
Size:	269.1 KB 
ID:	863687

    As usual, I brought too much food; 3 tasty bite packs, noodles, 8 huppy bars, a pound of nixed nuts, a pound of granola, 8 starbucks via packs and two ramen noodle packs (which came in handy). For breakfast I had two cups o' joe and hot granola. Didn't really do lunch just snaked along the way trying to get the weight of the mixed nuts down. The Huppy Bars were good trail food too. Diner was Tasty Bites and noodles. Love that stuff and easy to make.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	tastybite.JPG 
Views:	191 
Size:	132.1 KB 
ID:	863688

    After riding the Black Canyon Trail I had to figure an east/west route to get to Cave Creek where my truck was parked at Flat Tire bike shop. I had 4-wheeled through New River Canyon before and remembered water. Bad mistake. Not only did the water (New River) run totally dry but it was the gnarlyest, steepest most rugged road you wouldn't want to ride a bike on. What was supposed to be an easy last day turned into a 65-mile epic through some of the most scenic and rugged country i'd ridden a bike through. Here's where the Ramen came in handy. As for water? Let's just say my lips are cracked.
    Name:  bonk.JPG
Views: 477
Size:  101.2 KB

    Got to the bike shop late. I have a Shimano Alfine dynamo hub with Exposure light system that I didn't intend on using but glad I brought it.

    All in all bikepacking the Black Canyon Trail was an awesome experience. It's about 80-miles top-to-bottom single track with a couple loops in between. As for New River canyon? Added about 60mi of hell to my ride (although it was very beautiful). Think I'll stick to 4-wheeling it. I think next time I'll leave my vehicle at the lower BCT trailhead and get shuttled up. Call it a 3-day trip with the loops (which I didn't ride this tour).

    Hope to see ya'll out there. And remember, every tour ends with this...
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	michalada.JPG 
Views:	106 
Size:	131.5 KB 
ID:	863690








    Nicely done! I like what looks like your compact go-fast setup... minimal gear.

    What was your final mileage?

  10. #10
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    JoePAz Ha! As I was up there suffering I was looking down into the valey and thought 'why the hell didn't I just ride the trail down and hack my way across?" Well, partially it was a recon ride so I had to know. But in the future, yes, your route is way more sane. Thanks for the input!
    www.sonoranmtb.com
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    "Riding the Sonoran Desert since 1969"

  11. #11
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    pimpbot Not sure as to the actual mileage. Need to sit down and figure it out. Prob 55-ish on the BCT and maybe another 50+ through New River canyon to Cave Creek. 3-days though, was prepared for 4. I'll admit, I'm not a numbers guy.
    www.sonoranmtb.com
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  12. #12
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    itk1144 sounds like a great hike and I'd love to backpack the BCT! I was outta there friday morning so yeah, missed ya by a couple days. If you want to do a bikepack trip out there let me know. Have lots o' extra gear and knowledge of the area. Cheers!
    www.sonoranmtb.com
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    "Riding the Sonoran Desert since 1969"

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SONORANMTB View Post
    JoePAz Ha! As I was up there suffering I was looking down into the valey and thought 'why the hell didn't I just ride the trail down and hack my way across?" Well, partially it was a recon ride so I had to know. But in the future, yes, your route is way more sane. Thanks for the input!
    Plus where Marciopa gets into Anthem there s Fry's right there across daisy mtn. You can get all the water and food you need right there. Or Circle K or CVS... what ever floats your boat. The trail is marked clear, but there a few spots that can fool you. Still from from Emery Henderson to Anthem it is 6.5 miles and from there to cave creek park 12 or so. From there maybe another 5 miles to Flat tire following the Cave Creek Bike Festival Race loop.

    I will say that your path probably was more scenic and more of an accomplishment.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  14. #14
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    eugenemtbin for me its about the reliability and quickness. definitely a weight and bulk penalty but every time I take my whisperlite I wished for the JB.

    Never used the alcohol stove but super light and compact for sure.

    When I get to camp I want to eat and when I wake up I want coffee... now!
    www.sonoranmtb.com
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    "Riding the Sonoran Desert since 1969"

  15. #15
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    Bike Packing the BCT; trip report

    I'm the same way. Makes me really appreciate the JB. I even take it out in the field while training, so it gets a workout.

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