Last month some friends & I bikepacked through the Colockum and Quilomene Wildlife areas (we call it "Washington's Outback") from North to South along the Columbia River Gorge. We started at the Wildlife headquarters on the Northern Border (just south of Wenatchee) and finished in the town of Vantage. The route is only a little over 51 miles but everyone agreed it seems much more like 100! The "full traverse" has only been legal since a "land swap" a few years back reverted a section of previously private land to state wildlife land. Also, on Washington State Wildlife Lands (and state DNR Land as well), bicycles are legal on routes that have now been closed to motor vehicles giving us route options that the motorized folks can't take. Though some of us (mt. biker's) have been riding some parts of this area for years, this is the first time we know of anyone bikepacking through both (wildlife areas) in one trip. Trust me when I say, the "cams" don't do the steepness or toughness of this route justice!
Due to a time consuming shuttle from Vantage to Wenatchee and back south to the Wildlife Area boundary, and a return shuttle at the end, we took 4 days to complete the trip. Quite a mix of gear and packing plans as well! two of us on fat bikes; two on full susp.; one 26er pulling a BOB (modified w/ a 20" wheel) and one pulling a two wheeled trailer (lots of good stories about that one... though he did make it all the way through with a big smile on his face).
Best time to ride in this area is Spring for sure!! Already planning next years route...
One of our partners (Spovegas here on mtbr) is doing a write-up on his blog. The intro is back in Aprils entree's and I think (at this time) he's done up through day 3. It can be found here: 26InchSlicks
Here's some footage from the trip. They're a little long to watch but lots included for folks interested in the route.
Day 1: <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/mj9HWge4dFA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Day 2: <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/FA5D9Z2oa_U" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Day 3: <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/S5jCjOPWEZQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Day 4: <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/fR1NmP9lBS0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Happy trails everyone!
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