Solo Maze trip, with a twist.

Kullaberg63

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2014
Messages
548
During a recent outing to that certain remote part of Canyonlands I combined three non-motorized ways of travel, namely mountain biking, packrafting and hiking. While it sounds complicated at first it turned out remarkably simple both in planning and execution. This was important as I, as usual, conceived the idea to this trip some 36 hours before setting out.

On the river side of the Maze, there's only one spot where a road leads all the way down to the water: the mouth of Millard Canyon on the Green. It's directly across from the White Rim road in the Island in the Sky district, near a spot where this road also dips down close to the river.

Seeing a potential back door to the Maze not needing 4x4 wheels, jet boats or a long commute to Hans Flat I packed up the bike with some light bivy gear, 3 days of food and a 5 pound Alpacka raft and pedaled out the White Rim. Nearly 10 miles upstream of Millard I launched the boat with the bike and everything and leisurely drifted with the current.

At around noon on day one I pulled up on the beach at Millard and began the 25 mile ride to the Maze Overlook. The huge terrain out here, this early in the year, had a very remote feel to it. It was obvious no vehicles had ventured this far out yet for the 2014 season.

Storm cells, headwind and crusty sand made for a taxing ride. At sundown amidst sprinkles I got to camp and quickly dipped below the rim to a secure rock shelter, out of the wind. Had a beautiful evening and excellent sleep.

A bright clear morning on day 2 was ideal for a loop hike into the Maze involving the super fun descent down from the Overlook, the ridge near Pete's Mesa, Chimney Rock and Pictograph Canyon. 13 miles later, with fresh water from the abundant springs in the canyons I was back at camp for a modest lunch and nap, then relocated my camp to the top of the Golden Stairs, with its far ranging views of the Fins, Ernie's Country and the benches ultimately leading to Hite.

The third and last day started with mare's tails, strong gusts and shortly followed by building darkness to the west. Ahead of me I had a long cruise back to the boat, but hoping for at least partial tailwinds I decided to spend a few hours first descending the Golden Stairs trail and visiting Lou's spring on the outskirts of the complex Fins area. Unable to completely relax, with an eye constantly to the sky, I rushed this amazing hike leading to an area worthy of many days.

Back up I cleared out before 11 and pedaled non stop for 3.5 hours to arrive at the Green in complete overcast, ominous conditions. Relieved to find the raft not absolutely destroyed by pack rats (a worry that stressed me out most of the ride back!!) I recrossed the river and rode the White Rim back to the car. That evening it rained hard over the entire region. Over the span of three days I saw just two jolly backpackers at the Harvest Scene.

For full disclosure I should remark that although I secured a permit for this trip, I was later contacted by the NPS and told that it is illegal to move a bike on the river. Whether this obscure rule is in fact in the regulation book or merely a misinterpretation by an office bound ranger remain to be discovered

All photos with a GoPro Hero 2.


image
by kullaberg631, on Flickr
The boat and bike.


image
by kullaberg631, on Flickr
A minor defile below the Buttes of the Cross


image
by kullaberg631, on Flickr
Rock shelter bivy


image
by kullaberg631, on Flickr
Water in the desert!!!


image
by kullaberg631, on Flickr
If there's a cairn there's probably a way.


image
by kullaberg631, on Flickr
Moki steps


image
by kullaberg631, on Flickr
More fun Maze mazing.


image
by kullaberg631, on Flickr
This catwalk would have freaked me out with a heavy pack along.


image
by kullaberg631, on Flickr
The incredible Lou's spring, unfortunately marred by the bizarre tragedy of last year. Thankfully I had forgot about it until returning.


image
by kullaberg631, on Flickr
Golden Stairs tarp camp.


image
by kullaberg631, on Flickr
The bike, a Surly Krampus. Socalled mid fat technology.


image
by kullaberg631, on Flickr
Golden Stairs trail, a hard to follow jumble of broken rock and debris zig zagging down thru layers of sandstone. On the map marked as 1.3 miles but gps'ed at 2.2


image
by kullaberg631, on Flickr
China Neck


image
by kullaberg631, on Flickr
Yes that little thing of a mere 5 lbs can haul a full size mtb and do class 4 (with an optional spray deck)

Featured image for home page:
slide.jpg
 
Last edited:

BJett

Member
Joined
May 3, 2013
Messages
528
epic!
 

Dave

Broadcaster, formerly "ashergrey"
.
Joined
May 5, 2012
Messages
1,722
It's pretty obvious the park's current permit system is ill-designed for multi-discipline trips such as this. Cool exploration, regardless.
 

w9jim

Badwater Jim
Joined
Jan 30, 2012
Messages
17
Way cool! You've inspired me to use my GoPro for stills.
 

Mph

Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2013
Messages
61
Epic..best adventure I have read in a while...the Maze is fabulous! How was the road to Millard Canyon? What was the tragedy at Lou's Spring?
 

Artemus

I walk
.
Joined
Jun 25, 2012
Messages
4,414
Wild. Great Trip! I'd be curious to hear how the regs work out and what the NPS does about it. How did they know BTW?
 

Kullaberg63

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2014
Messages
548
Thanks for all the comments.

The Millard road is similar in difficulty to the fast sections of the White Rim, although the traffic is considerably less! My guess would be fifty vehicles per year. Some sand.

On the permit one need to state entry/exit points. The only choice for this trip was Millard. As I applied for a jeep/mtb permit, as opposed to the backpacking type, they probably figured that coming in that way a bike was the likely method of travel. Although with a landing craft I could have driven...

The curious part about the whole bike on the river thing is that the tour company working with us at the bike shop here in Moab has, for years, run a NPS permitted trip that involves a ride down Lathrop Canyon from Island in the Sky. When the guests arrive at the river a chartered jet boat loads them and the bikes and zips back to town.
 

slc_dan

Desert Rat-Weekend Warrior
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Messages
1,686
cool creative way to spend some time in the area. Transporting bike via raft a rule? bizarre.
 

uintahiker

Adventure Guru
Joined
Jan 20, 2012
Messages
719
For full disclosure I should remark that although I secured a permit for this trip, I was later contacted by the NPS and told that it is illegal to move a bike on the river. Whether this obscure rule is in fact in the regulation book or merely a misinterpretation by an office bound ranger remain to be discovered

I for one would like to see the verbage of this supposed regulation.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
norwegianxplorer Backpacking Norway, Lysefjorden/Kjerag/Kjerag Waterfall/Kjeragbolten, 4 days Solo Hiking high above the Norwegian Fjords Trip Reports 2
norwegianxplorer Early Season Solo Backpacking during Snowmelt Runoff in Norway Backpacking 0
R Eastern Uinta Solo Trip Advice Request Trip Planning 5
W 9 Days Solo Escalante Loop in October (water advice) - Stevens Canyon, Baker Route over Waterpocket fold, Halls Narrows to Moody Canyons Trip Planning 11
Miya 2nd Solo - Trinity Alps Wilderness - Wildflower Madness! Backpacking 50
TractorDoc September 14th-21st Solo Hiking in Yellowstone and Grand Teton NP Hiking & Camping 12
Perry My First Multi-day Solo this Weekend - Looking for some Beta Trip Planning 0
Yvonne Yellowstone 2018 - a solo trip hiking and exploring America's first National Park: Part II Madison Hiking & Camping 3
Yvonne Yellowstone 2018- A solo trip hiking and exploring America’s first National Park: Part I Mammoth Hiking & Camping 13
fossana solo white rim day trip on the dual sport Off Road 11
Born to Hike Backpacking Northern Windriver Range, solo 60+ miles, 5 days, mid September 2018 Backpacking 17
Parma American man first to solo across Antarctica unaided General Discussion 21
Miya First Solo: I Did It! Backpacking 25
Jackson A Solo Stroll Near Capitol Reef Backpacking 17
Miya First Solo Jitters General Discussion 84
Perry Nepal Bans Solo Climbers General Discussion 9
seekinglost Sawtooth Wilderness, ID - 8 Day Solo Hike August 2017 + Solar Eclipse Backpacking 7
H suggestion needed: 9-day solo Winds near Elkhart Park Trip Planning 5
blueeyes #noplacefamous First Solo Bikepack Trip Everything Else 5
V Yellowstone - Thorofare - Solo? Trip Planning 15
C New Member - Coyote Gulch Solo Trip Noobs: Introduce yourself! 8
kimbur96 First Solo overnight, Navigation Trail, Upper Priest River, Northern Idaho Backpacking 10
CaptnKidd Solo Trek Down South, Advice? Trip Planning 8
kimbur96 Tell me about your first solo overnight trip General Discussion 2
seekinglost High Uintas Wildernes - 8 Day Solo Hike August 2015 Backpacking 10
seekinglost Uintas Highline Trail Solo Thru Hike - Getting to/from trailheads logistics Trip Planning 59
WasatchWill Going Solo in Capitol Reef Backpacking 27
Nick Solo at Powell On The Water 29
outnabout Solo Wind Rivers - Need some advice Noobs: Introduce yourself! 3
Yvonne Priord Lake Solo Trip, Uintas August 2013 Backpacking 20
owyhee Noob looking for solo hike advice in Capital Reef Noobs: Introduce yourself! 12
JoanieBelle Solo Utah Adventure Trip Planning 8
andyjaggy First Solo Backpack Trip Planning 5
tarpon6 9 Days Solo Wind River Range Washakie Pass, Grave Lake, Hailey Pass Loop. Backpacking 6
uinta_eagle Solo Uintas Loop From East Fork of the Bear Backpacking 5
Aldaron Musings from a solo backpack General Discussion 10
MaddMoki A few shots from a winter solo odyssey above the Old Escalante Backpacking 9
PureLightImages Solo Hike with Baby - Northern Swell & Little Wild Horse 10.06.2012 Hiking & Camping 10
Nick Tips for solo backpacking Trip Planning 181
JBPHXAZ Crossing Spanish Bottom from Needles to the Maze (and back) Trip Planning 5
RyanP Maze questions---Sweet Alice Canyon, etc Trip Planning 22
TrailScot 10 days in The Maze - April 2019 Backpacking 22
J Family hike in the Maze in June? (Canyonlands / Moab) Am I crazy? Trip Planning 5
Stephanie B Second Journey into The Maze : Deadman's Trail Hiking & Camping 1
Stephanie B Second Journey into The Maze : The Harvest Scene Hiking & Camping 5
Stephanie B Second Journey into The Maze : Lands End Hiking & Camping 0
Stephanie B Second Journey into The Maze : Cowboy Cave Hiking & Camping 2
Stephanie B Second Journey into The Maze : Moonshine Wash Hiking & Camping 11
Stephanie B Second Journey into The Maze : Butterfly Bend and Chaffin Geyser Hiking & Camping 0
Stephanie B Suggestions for Maze Hikes and Range Canyon Intel? Trip Planning 2

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top