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  1. #1
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    Doing the Gila River Ramble Ride Next Weekend Oct 17th Advice??

    Hey Guys, I am going to come down from Utah to ride a 3 day loop that starts in Kelvin to Gila, To the Ice cream loop, then through area 52 and hooks up to the AZT down "Ripsey " and back to the start. I was wondering if any of you guys that may have ridden this loop, or sections of it can give me any advice as far as what the temps will be this time of year day and night, what I should bring clothing wise, and if Kelvin is the best place to start this loop i.e.. Safest place to leave my car for 3 days. Id really appreciate any info as I have never ridden in your great state before. As far as water I have done a lot of research and it looks like there may be some caches of water at the trails. Are they usually available or empty? Thanks again cant wait to come and see your beautiful Trails!

  2. #2
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    I'm sure John S. will chime in as soon as he can. He's got the best route info around.
    Regarding other things... Weather should be great assuming it doesn't rain. Nightime lows 40-50 at the coolest.
    If you've never ridden in AZ, remember to refresh your sealant and be prepared for tire issues (ie, sidewall slashes). That area out there is one of the toughest in the state on tires. Don't run wimpy xc tires unless you weigh 120 lbs. Also, that area is extremely beautiful but is also EXTREMELY remote. If you are going alone, be sure to tell people where you are. Cell service can be a bit sketchy.
    The water caches can be hit and miss...typically as spring approaches, they get stocked up in anticipation for the AZTR. I would not count on them. You can filter out of the Gila if needed.
    I know this may sound overly cautious, but I figured erring on that side is probably good!

  3. #3
    Meatbomb
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    The weather forecast appears to be favorable. Low 80's / Upper 50's and dry.

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    Thanks for the responses so far, and yes, I have a pretty nice plug kit for tears and some burly reinforced sidewall tires as well as a suture kit for any tears bigger than a pug, but thanks for the reminder about the sealant, I definitley could use a refresher top op and probably a small bottle just in case I loose it all on one puncture. Is the river the only natural source of water? and how many times do you come across it on this loop? what do you guys think would be a good guess as far as daily water consumption/needs per day on a ride like this with the temp being what it will be? Im planning on doing about 35 miles a day, maybe 6 hours in the saddle daily? I have a 3 liter bladder in my frame pack and 3 water bottles on top of that Im planning on bringing and I thought that should be plenty, but if i need to, I have a cage for one of those liter water bottles I could throw under my down tube if I needed to I just didn't think I would need it.

  5. #5
    Ahhh the pain....
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    That area down by the Gila gets pretty warm since it's only like 1400 ft elevation or so...you get a little bit of the solar oven effect with so much rock around you. Other than the river for a water source, there are a few natural sources and I think with the rain we've been having, I'd think they'd have some water in them. Again, let's see what Schilling says since he knows the route.
    Personally, I've carried around 180 oz max through that area which has worked for me. But of course, it all depends on your speed.

  6. #6
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    Unless youíre very fast, I highly doubt youíd be doing the 35ish miles from Picketpost to Kelvin in 6 hours.
    Shit happens...

  7. #7
    Ahhh the pain....
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    I'm guessing you found the route here....
    Arizona Bikepacking, Gila River Ramble - BIKEPACKING.com
    Parking at Kelvin (or probably even better, at the TH just up the Florence Kelvin HWY about a mile or so from the river crossing) is good. Just don't leave anything valuable in your car.
    From there, as ECE points out, the 35 miles into Picketpost is tough... you'll want to get water before turning north from the Gila. That 20 miles going north is tough. There is a water cache now just as you exit Gila Canyons near the top of the climb, but it's a super remote cache that requires some gnarly 4wd access...I just would not count on it since its primarily for hikers that can't move as fast as bikes. After leaving Superior, you can get all the way to the river again in less than a day, but there's a lot of work to be done...
    I'd take on a full load of water at the river since your next chance which on the map says "Cattle Trough with Functioning Spigot" is one that I can't vouch for...hopefully someone can.
    After that point, you make a turn down into Ripsey Wash, and there used to be a couple sources down there; I'd check the AZT site to see what the status is on those. I've seen them full of water and I've seen them almost dry.

  8. #8
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    For the AZT portion of the route I would absolutely recommend downloading the AZT App for your phone (I think it's $10 but the money goes directly to the ATA). It has detailed information on every potential water source along the trail, along with frequent reports (during the busy season) on the status of each from hikers who absolutely rely on natural water sources for re-supply. With the amount of rain that the desert has been seeing I would expect there to be plenty of natural water sources to draw from if you have a decent filter setup.

    Here are two screenshots from the AZT app to show just how much detailed information it provides about the route:

    Doing the Gila River Ramble Ride Next Weekend Oct 17th Advice??-screenshot_20181012-144731_arizona-trail.jpg
    Doing the Gila River Ramble Ride Next Weekend Oct 17th Advice??-screenshot_20181012-144745_arizona-trail.jpg

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    I'm guessing you found the route here....
    Arizona Bikepacking, Gila River Ramble - BIKEPACKING.com
    Parking at Kelvin (or probably even better, at the TH just up the Florence Kelvin HWY about a mile or so from the river crossing) is good. Just don't leave anything valuable in your car.
    From there, as ECE points out, the 35 miles into Picketpost is tough... you'll want to get water before turning north from the Gila. That 20 miles going north is tough. There is a water cache now just as you exit Gila Canyons near the top of the climb, but it's a super remote cache that requires some gnarly 4wd access...I just would not count on it since its primarily for hikers that can't move as fast as bikes. After leaving Superior, you can get all the way to the river again in less than a day, but there's a lot of work to be done...
    I'd take on a full load of water at the river since your next chance which on the map says "Cattle Trough with Functioning Spigot" is one that I can't vouch for...hopefully someone can.
    After that point, you make a turn down into Ripsey Wash, and there used to be a couple sources down there; I'd check the AZT site to see what the status is on those. I've seen them full of water and I've seen them almost dry.

    I did find it on backpacking.com, I really appreciate the advice and info, its going to help me a lot as I am completely unfamiliar with the trail. I have a 3 liter reservoir I'm going to be bringing as well as 3 water bottle mounts on my bike, I can also stash extra bottles in my bags or I have a bottle cage I can put on my down tube above my bottom bracket that holds another liter. So I just wanted to know if I needed to actually have my bike set up to hold that much, as Im sure you can imagine carrying all of that weight in water on a bike will affect the handling and slow me down a lot, but if i need to do it I can, nothing worse than climbing a mountain range with 10 pounds of water that you then discover a source at the top, nothing worse of course than running out of water though!! lol

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsrt taco View Post
    For the AZT portion of the route I would absolutely recommend downloading the AZT App for your phone (I think it's $10 but the money goes directly to the ATA). It has detailed information on every potential water source along the trail, along with frequent reports (during the busy season) on the status of each from hikers who absolutely rely on natural water sources for re-supply. With the amount of rain that the desert has been seeing I would expect there to be plenty of natural water sources to draw from if you have a decent filter setup.

    Here are two screenshots from the AZT app to show just how much detailed information it provides about the route:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    That sounds awesome, does the app also have the actual loop I'm looking to do, or should i also download ride with gps as well and have both available? Also does this AZT app work without service like other gps apps? Thanks a lot for the info, i would have never even known that app exists, so I really appreciate the info. I will for sure make sure I have that downloaded.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ECEGatorTuro View Post
    Unless youíre very fast, I highly doubt youíd be doing the 35ish miles from Picketpost to Kelvin in 6 hours.

    good to know, thanks for the info

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fattyrider38 View Post
    That sounds awesome, does the app also have the actual loop I'm looking to do, or should i also download ride with gps as well and have both available? Also does this AZT app work without service like other gps apps? Thanks a lot for the info, i would have never even known that app exists, so I really appreciate the info. I will for sure make sure I have that downloaded.
    The AZT app only has detailed information about the Arizona Trail and the immediate surroundings, you'll need additional resources for the rest of the route. If you enable the 'offline maps' feature it will have the full topo and satellite maps loaded even when you are w/o cell signal, but even without the background maps enabled all the trail details such as water source locations are available offline.

  13. #13
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    Hey Fatty,
    Glad to hear you're coming down for one of our best backcountry rides. As far as parking goes, start from the smaller trailhead on the north side of the Gila.

    3L + bottles should be plenty. Everything Raybum said is spot on, except for the cache box. It is no longer there. The box has been moved closer to Picketpost TH, it's still on the AZT (going northbound) just after you cross FR4 aka Telegraph Canyon Rd. Again, don't rely on it. Last time I was through it was bone dry. Also, there is no water at Picketpost TH. Pit toilets, yes. Water, no. You'll have to rely on Superior for that.

    To access the Gila River on the first day, where the AZT turns north, you'll go left, south, for a few hundred feet. Keep following the jeep road. It goes under a canopy of green then you'll see an obvious opening in the trees. We often ford the river here to make other loop options. The river will probably look like chocolate milk, it filters fine.

    Top off supplies in Superior and head south. Take time to soak in the remoteness of the area. Check out Ajax Mine on the descent towards Box Canyon. You'll probably see some 4x4's out there.

    Area52. If you like freeride stuff, check it out. Just be super careful up there, the rock is loose & slippery!! There are some fun areas to play on, just don't be dumb and break your wrist like I did a few years ago!!

    Also, no matter the temps, wear long sleeves and maybe even cover your legs. I'd expect a ton of appendage snagging catclaw all along the route, especially dropping into Ripsey Wash. I was out at Picketpost today and it's typically fairly clear, but there was still a bunch to trim!! Also of note, there's an 18" dropoff the AZT about 100' south of the Picketpost TH due to storm runoff in a wash. It'll sneak up on ya and could very easily launch you OTB. The ATA is aware.

    Bring a camera and expect 3 long, hard days of incredible riding.

    Here's a two day variation we did a while back: Gila Canyons Bikepack
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  14. #14
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    Wow thanks so much for the info really appreciate it. That was a great write up. Iíd love to check out that mine and what are those ďovensĒ used for are they too far off the route Iím doing?

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    Btw anyone that would like to ride with me Iím going to be solo so it would be nice to have someone to ride with if anyone has the time Iím going down the 17th this wendsday so Iíll get there late wed and probably sleep in my car and start thu am. You can find me sleeping in my car at the parking lot you guys told me about! Lil

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    Doing the Gila River Ramble Ride Next Weekend Oct 17th Advice??-img_1873.jpg

    Here is my set up finally got all of the bags mounted to my bike and I'm about to go do a ride to test everything out make sure I dont have anything moving, figure out where the best place to distribute the most weight etc. Got a bladder in the frame bag, bottles etc..

  17. #17
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    Fatty:
    Wish I could join you; but still in BC; contemplating the new WALL; go over; or under; the quandry!
    That looks like a nice ride; 2.8 tires?
    Post or PM if yer comin down again; and give a trip ramblin recap with pics
    cheers
    TS

  18. #18
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    btw Fatty;
    What've u got in Utah that is similar? And it has to be snow free in Feb/March.
    Could stop bye of way back to BC.
    Cheers.
    TS

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    Theyíre 3Ē room for 3.25 but they only have one kind and they donít play well with tubeless. Weíve got a couple rides in southern Utah that are usually snow free that time of Year like the white rim. Itís about a hundred miles itís close to Moab and has amazing scenery itís not single track though itís like a double track mixed with lots of slabs of rock kinda like the slick rock type of obstacles. Iíve done it but it was years ago. It wouldnít have snow but would be pretty cold at night. It was pretty fun canít beat the views. Iíd try that if you have never done it.

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    "couple rides"?
    I know the White Rim; might be fun to do.
    thanks
    TS

  21. #21
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    Kokapelli trail is also pretty sweet but it heads up the lasals after you get close to Colorado so thatís to high elevation thereís some really cool loops is southern Utah that are around bears ears that have some cool ancient Indian cliff dwellings and cool scenery but they are double track not as fun as far as the trails. Honestly Utah doesnít have much in the way of 50 plus miler low elevation winter rideable trails thatís why Iím heading down there as far as summer rides thatís a different story

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fattyrider38 View Post
    Wow thanks so much for the info really appreciate it. That was a great write up. Iíd love to check out that mine and what are those ďovensĒ used for are they too far off the route Iím doing?
    The coke ovens are about 1 - 1 1/2 miles off route. Not the easiest access and they're technically 'off limits', but if you're up for it....check out a topo map of the area, specifically where you'll be filtering water from the Gila River off the AZT. You'd continue on that dirt road away from the AZT, make a heinous climb, read: hike-a-bike, then hang a left at the top of the climb to bomb down towards the ovens. Head back the way you came to rejoin the route. Good luck!!
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  23. #23
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    Fatty R 38:
    How did it go?
    I'm planning to do it soon; but will likley start at Picketpost and leave the car there.
    Cheers.
    TS

  24. #24
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    Subscribed for the trail report and pixels.👍
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

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