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Category: Bike Camping

Hunting by bicycle is punk rock.

Hunting by bicycle is punk rock.

The homey Garrett, involved with Off the Chain in Anchorage- went on a hunting by bicycle trip this month along with a large handful of other co-op members. It looks like they were successful. Alaska being Alaska, I saw a couple of the hunting party members in the Anchorage airport on my way home from Interbike.

 

I’ve combined guns and bikes on a few different levels, most of the time carrying a sidearm or shotgun as bear and moose protection while on solo rides. Last fall I cobbled together a lightweight scabbard for my .22LR for hunting small animals, like rabbits and grouse. It worked well- though I’ll be doing some more to improve it’s design this year.

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For small game, my setup is pretty slick but with a heavy, high powered hunting rifle or shotgun- something more substantial would likely be necessary. I would likely just shoulder my rifle if headed out for a larger mammal, or use a rack like the folks at Cogburn have designed.

Nice work on the hunt, as well as the video. I like when the face of hunting is of real people in search of real food and a connection with the land.

I’ll leave you with a song I listened to quite a bit when I moved to Alaska as a vegan, in 1999. Also- save me some of the tongue!

Thanks to Brandon for the heads up on the video!

Twenty Dolla Make You Holla

Twenty Dolla Make You Holla

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Middle Fork Road just outside of North Bend, WA has been under construction in some form since dinosaurs roamed the earth. However, a series of small landslides washed out sizable sections of the road leading to some of the Seattle area’s best  hiking and camping, rendering the road impassable to any  motor vehicles short of Bigfoot V. While that sucks for those who insist on travelling by car, it’s a boon for those of us who don’t mind powering our own adventures.

I recently heard about Goldmyer Hot Springs, which is a 20 mile trek up what’s left of the Middle Fork Road to an old mining camp featuring a volcanic spring that spews hot water out of the side of a mountain like a college freshman who’s bonged one too many Peebers. At some point, someone decided to corral this spewing flow and create a couple of small jacuzzi tubs and a grotto carved into an old mine shaft…heh heh…shaft. Thus, creating the Goldmyer Hot Springs “resort.”

It is highly recommended that you call and make reservations at Goldmyer, as they only allow 20 people per day to pass through the area. There’s no just “popping in” to take a peek.

Entry to the hot springs is $15. Oddly, it’s only another $5 to spend the night in one of a handful of unique campsites. I’m bad at math, but I think there are roughly 10 sites to choose from, each with its own flavah. I chose site #1 because it was the easiest to access with my Spinnabago single speed cross bike towing a craigslist BOB trailer.

11154774_10205179267575073_4577988705517924289_oThe ride up was the longest 20 miles of my life. Single speed cyclocross bike with a trailer meant walking and portaging sections I probably could have cleaned on a geared MTB.  Live and learn, I guess. Most of the road is potholed gravel. Only a few sections are truly washed out, but probably doable on a more off-road oriented bicycle.

But not having to worry about a single car was peaceful and fantastic!

Once I got just a few miles away from the newly “improved” Mailbox Peak trailhead area, I only saw a couple of mountain bikers and one or two errant hikers the entire trip.

There is no water on the road up or at Goldmyer, so be sure to bring filtration equipment. I carry a Lifestraw with me and designate an old water bottle to crappy water duty so I don’t have to carry extra water with me all the time. Since this trip parallels the middle fork of the Snoqualmie river most of the way, stopping to refill on unfiltered water is never a problem. The river also cuts through the campgrounds at Goldmyer, so that’s handy, too. I also brought along a 96 oz Nalgene collapsible bottle to reduce the number of trips to the river once at camp.

When you “check in” with the caretakers at Goldmyer, you get your choice of a couple of sizes of bear canisters to choose from. I guess that’s what the extra 5 bucks is for. The campsites are first come first served. Since the road access is pretty much nonexistent, you should probably have your pick of the bunch. Each campsite has its own unique features, as well  as a simple line and pulley system to hang your bear can. Most have old mining equipment biodegrading away, which I thought was pretty cool. The “resort” features the nicest outhouse I’ve ever seen. It’s clean and heated with gas (no pun intended). The caretakers provide TP, Glade poop smell camouflage spray and hand sanitizer.

Glass bottles and campfires are not allowed at Goldmyer. However, you can cook on a camp stove at your campsite. I brought along my trusty $30 Esbit solid fuel stove, which works great for solo trips.  No alcohol or weed is allowed at the hot springs themselves, but you can drink at your campsite so long as things don’t get out of hand. Basically, don’t be a dick, and you should be fine.

Speaking of dicks, Goldmyer is classified as a “clothing optional” place of relaxation, so just be aware of that.

If you make a trip to Goldmyer and enjoy yourself so much that you want to stay, they are looking for caretakers for a 4 month summer stint. You are afforded a cool cabin to live in, complete with satellite TV and interwebs and a stipend to help pay for your real world bills.

11164877_10205179267095061_1781251600744071379_oGoldmyer Hot Springs

206.789.5631

Reservation Rules and Policies

 

Mountain House needs a feedbag accessory.

Mountain House needs a feedbag accessory.

The wife and I went on an overnight trip out to Sheridan Glacier the other day and this time I was going to do the cooking.

This meant that I had to do a little preparation. What should I make? My wife eats food like someone that actually cares what it tastes like. I couldn’t mess it up, or she may not want to go bike camping with me again. Thankfully, I had reached out to Mountain House a while back and they were kind enough to send over some samples. In my backpacking, touring and vagabonding over the last 20+ years it occurred to me that I had never eaten a prepared, freeze dried meal. I’ve eaten instant hummus, rice, oatmeal, MRE’s and various other snacks- but never a freeze-dried meal in a bag. I thought I may wait and use them for a trip I have planned for the spring but there’s not time like the present, especially when a critic with such a refined pallet was to be there to share.

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First of all- since I had the meal plan on lock, it took an element of stress off the trip to be sure. There is something to be said for only having to add water to a meal. You don’t even need to bring salt. I left my cook pot behind in favor of my lightweight Optimus kettle. We brought the pizza that was made the night before for lunch, and though I brought more calories than needed, what the hell- we were going to eat well. And of course there was the possibility that the meals would be gross. Thankfully they weren’t.

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On the Cheap

On the Cheap

The Seattle metro area is one of the priciest areas in the nation to call home, and while cycling has been called many things by many people, “cheap” is not one of them.

For those of us who live in and around Seattle and like to ride and race bikes, but don’t make anywhere near a six figure income, something’s gotta give.

This usually means that you find yourself sharing a $2000 a month 300 sq. ft. studio apartment with your 2 cats, a dog named Freewheel because you had one too many PBR’s one night and thought it was a good idea to name him “Freewheel,” your road bike, fixed gear bike, fat bike, SS hardtail, full suspension long travel trail bike (to show off your prowess at Duthie Hill), full suspension short travel trail bike (‘cuz it’s faster, goddammit), CX race bike, commuter bike and, since it’s Seattle, your full fendered rain bike.

You eat ramen noodles because your Safeway card gets you 10 for $1 and you’re saving up for that sweet new cargo bike so you can go car-free and  the “N+1” rule of bike ownership mathematically dictates that you need another bike or else the universe may collapse in on itself.

For those not familiar with the “N+1” rule, it states that the number of bicycles you should own is one more than you currently own (N). The same rule applies to snowboards, but that’s another blog.

Algebra’s fun!

…and expensive…..

Even though rent may be expensive in Seattle, with so many great shops in the area, building a bike doesn’t have to be.

I stumbled upon a 1993 RockHopper Comp on the local craigslist for $75. I was looking for a commuter/light touring rig on the cheap and I thought that with some creativity, this old machine may fit the bill.

While I’m not a fan of Specialized and their business practices as of late, their old frames always fit me well (short legs, short arms, round torso) and were pretty reliable pieces of steel, so I thought I’d check it out.

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