Canyonlands bike/packraft

In May 2017, I did a solo combo bike/packraft in Canyonlands that I would highly recommend.

I got permits for two nights to bike the White Rim Trail self supported. These were super competitive, had to pay my daughter to get the permits exactly at midnight (1A my time) for each campsite, two nights in a row. After staying in Moab, got a ride with a local outfitter to the top of the Shafer trail, just inside the Island in the Sky entrance. Was there at sunrise, started the descent down the Shafer trail. I was on my Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 29. Brought all my water for the planned two days/one night on the White Rim Trail, that was the bulk of my weight by far.

First day was 39 miles to my campsite at White Crack. Got there at noon, found it easy riding. Beautiful campsite, but nowhere to hide from the sun and I got there too early. Next AM headed out early, goal was Potato Bottom A, 27 miles again got there by noon. There were a couple big climbs this day that I had to hike a bike. Really didn’t encounter too many people or vehicles despite being high season.

At Potato Bottom A I had arranged for an outfitter to meet me and trade my bike for my packraft and gear. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a permit to bring my bike on my boat, which the park admits is silly but those are the rules. I was anticipating possibly staying at Potato Bottom A, but I was ready to go early afternoon so I put in there, which is an easy put in. The Green was high and running fast (for the Green), I think I averaged 4 miles per hour. A lot of nice camps along the way. I spent two nights on the Green over 36.5 river miles, hit one storm. Very scenic. All Class I.

At the confluence I took the river boat shuttle back to Moab. If you wanted to add some backpacking, would be a great way to get up into the Maze for a couple days from Spanish Bottom. On another trip, I went up the east side out of Red Lake Canyon into the Needles. You can get to your car in one day but we camped in the Needles, really cool area.

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