2 Amigos on the Grand Canyon Backcountry Adventure Route (GCBAR)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by cactus_reese, Sep 29, 2019.

  1. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile

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    On top of Angel's Window:
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    #21
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  2. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile

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    Bright Angel Point:

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    #22
  3. Ladybug

    Ladybug Bug Sister Supporter

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    :lurk
    #23
  4. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile

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    Point Sublime:
    The 30 mile road to Point Sublime starts out as a graded dirt road and leads into a meadow where the road is deep sand (caused me some trouble). From then on it is a rugged 4WD road through the forest that was fun in retrospect.

    We reach at Point Sublime about 1.5 hours before sundown and find two couples already there and setup to camp at the point, a young couple in a Tacoma right at the point and an older couple with an off-road tent trailer pulled by a 4-Runner. A little way back from the point was a really nice camping spot on the rim so it doesn't concern us that someone was already there. I was thinking that the point was going to be windy anyway because the wind had picked up.
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    We spoke with the campers and mentioned that we had our permit to camp. The young couple then said they didn't know they needed a permit. They offered to let us camp in their prime location. We told them we liked the camp spot up the road and we would be fine. Not to worry. The older couple said we were nice to let them stay. We were thinking the other camp location was better. Out of the wind, had trees, and had a bathroom...and still had a view. We stayed at the point long enough to take some photos and watch the shadows creep across the canyon, then went back to our camp spot.

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    The wind picks up as the sun declines. About 10 PM the young couple in the Tacoma drive by heading out. About 11 PM the 4-Runner comes out and sets up their camp next to ours to get out of the wind.
    #24
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  5. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    I'm enjoying your view of these places. I just finished riding this route today.
    #25
  6. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile

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    I used the great reports by you and larryboy to estimate our destination each day and to know what permits to get.
    #26
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  7. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile

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    GCBAR Day 5, Sep 17, 2019:
    As the sun rises on Point Sublime, we groan ourselves awake later than usual having been disturbed multiple times by our fellow campers trying to escape from their windy perch.
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    On yesterday's ride we discovered that our next destination per our GPS track, Fire Point, has ironically been closed because of a fire. We need an alternate route. We huddle at our nice picnic table and lay out the paper maps.
    (I should interject that it is a very good idea to bring maps of the area apart from a GPS. It is difficult to determine alternate routes with a small GPS screen and I am not sure I would trust auto routing in this situation.)

    We determine that we must ride the 30 miles back to the main North Rim road and top off with gas because our planned next route will test the limits of our gas range before another fuel stop. There are a
    myriad of roads in this region and not all are through roads. We came to appreciate what dave6253 must have gone through to map out these routes. Russ had downloaded an Avenza map for the region and that, together with the paper map, helped us plan our detour.
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    We breakfasted, packed up, and went on our way. One of the sand pit meadows caught me out and I went down but no damage or injury occurred. When we were finally back on the GCBAR tracks we began riding the multiple finger overlooks, starting with Timp Point. If I ride this again I will skip Timp Point.
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    North Timp Point is better and does not require much of a hike to get to the views.
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    There is a rim trail in this region that mountain bikers like.
    #27
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  8. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    The fire closure grew. Last week we had to go from Pt Sublime to Crazy Jugs Pt via the 22, as everything else along the Rainbow Rim was closed.
    #28
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  9. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile

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    We visited all of what I am going to call the "finger points" from Timp Point northward. Frankly, it started getting a little tedious for me going back and forth on all of those vista roads but the north-bound route connecting them was a fun ride. I think my problem was that we were using up our gasoline range and the views weren't much different from one another. My personal recommendation would be to just pick a couple of them and go on to Crazy Jugs.
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    I enjoyed the ride out to Crazy Jugs and the view was different and worth it.
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    Likewise, the ride out and views at Sowats Point were terrific.
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    Our destination or the night was Jump Up Cabin. I had reserved the cabin at https://www.recreation.gov/camping/campgrounds/251825. We made the mistake of thinking that Jump Up cabin was on the track. We kept riding thinking that we would come upon the cabin but it is actually on a turnoff before Jump Up Divide. By the time we realized we had missed it, we were 7.5 miles out of our way and had to backtrack, using up more of our limited range between fuel stops.

    VIDEO LINK to DAY 5: https://photos.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/GCBAR-Sep-2019/i-F9QPjtV/0/1ff62385/1280/GCBAR%20Sep%202019%20Day%205-1280.mp4

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    #29
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  10. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile

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    GCBAR Day 6, Sep 18, 2019:
    Leading into day 6, we got up from a nice sleep on a real mattress and didn't need to take down a tent or dig a cat hole to poop. Russ was telling me about what he read in the notebook of history in the cabin.

    The cabin is located at the head of Jump Up Canyon, it was built in 1906 as a Ranger Station. Cowboys and hikers used it over the years. It was rebuilt in 1997. Jump Up Canyon is a side canyon of Kanab Creek. The name refers to a high fall that can only be circumvented by climbing up or down a huge old, cottonwood tree (source http://www.grandcanyontreks.org/place.htm). A prominent early explorer of this Arizona Strip region was Jacob Hamblin. He established the settlement in Kanab, Jacob Lake was named for him, as was Jacob Wells that Russ told me we would come near on our way to Mesquite. Jacob Hamblin was a Mormon leader in the region famous for his relationship and ability to mediate with the Native Americans. Jacob Hamblin's rules for interacting with Native Americans of the time were:
    1. I never talk anything but the truth to them.
    2. I think it useless to speak of things they cannot comprehend.
    3. I strive by all means to never let them see me in a passion.
    4. Under no circumstances show fear, thereby showing to them that I have a sound heart and a straight tongue.
    5. Never approach them in an austere manner nor use more words than are necessary to convey my ideas, not in a higher tone of voice than to be distinctly heard.
    6. Always listen to them when they wish to tell of their grievances, and redress their wrongs, however trifling they may be if possible. If I cannot I let them know I have a desire to do so.
    7. I never allow them to hear me use profane or obscene language or take any unbecoming course with them.
    8. I never submit to any unjust demands or submit to coercion under any circumstances, thereby showing them that I govern and am governed by the rule of right not by might.
    These look like pretty good parenting rules.
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    We went from Jump Up Cabin to Jump Up Point. The riding was great on this trail.
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    We next were faced with the dilemma of having 10 miles less range in Russ's gas tank than we had left to go to get to Fredonia. We decided we needed to divert to Jacob Lake to get fuel and skip Gunsight Point to make sure we got to Kanab Point where we had the permit to camp. We were told by the backcountry office that we could not camp at SB Point. We formulated the plan to get fuel at Jacob lake, skip Gunsight Point, slab to Fredonia/Kanab for lunch and more fuel, then visit SB Point and then go to Kanab Point to camp.

    All went according to plan until we got to the SB Point turnoff. Russ was leading and he only had the segment to Kanab Point loaded so we blew past the SB Point turn (barely visible anyway). We arrived at a point and had to figure out what point it was. When we realized it was Kanab Point and considered how twisty and turny the road in to Kanab Point was (there was clearly a commitment to leaving as many trrees as possible), I stated I did not want to ride back out to go to SB Point only to have to return on the same tedious track to get back to Kanab Point. We were there 2 hours early but we were going to setup camp and stay.
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    The smoke in the distance is the Fire Point fire.
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    Kanab is a Piute word meaning willow. Apparently Kanab Creek has them in abundance.

    VIDEO LINK for DAY 6: https://photos.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/GCBAR-Sep-2019/i-TLSJw8X/0/5af76887/1280/GCBAR%20Sep%202019%20Day%206-1280.mp4
    #30
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  11. Blaise W

    Blaise W Long timer Supporter

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    The cabins that the FS has all over the West are cool and I have always wanted to stay in them, but having a fixed schedule can be challenging. Have to give it a go next year when our group is up there, and this Summer in ID, WY and MT.
    #31
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  12. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile

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    GCBAR Day 7, Sep 19, 2019:
    We slept rather fitfully during the night because of the constant wind. I opted to open up the window and door of my tent to let the wind blow through so the tent wouldn't be swaying back and forth as much. Below is a picture I took looking out of my tent door in the early morning.
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    The sun came up...
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    Our next destination is SB Point (as officially known...the GC backcountry office told me there is no such thing as SOB Point). The road into SB point was similar to Kanab Point with lots of tree dodging turns.

    SB Point:
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    The next location was Toroweap Overlook. When we arrive at the Tuweep Ranger Station, the ranger lady warns us about rocks and deep dust pits and that bicycles and motorcycles frequently go down traversing the sand/dust. We ask if she has water and she lets us fill up with her collected rain water. She says they're not allowed to call it potable but she says she drinks it. Hint: the Bar 10 has plenty of cold spring water when you get there.

    With great caution, we proceed through the treacherous path to ToroWeap only to discover at the end that there was nothing as bad as some of the silt pits we had already gone through coming from SB Point. Toroweap was, for me, the highlight overlook of the trip. It is 3,000 ft straight down to the river. It takes your breath away to step up on the edge. The photos don't convey the feeling of being there.
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    We had a permit to camp at Toroweep but we were there in the early afternoon and did not want to sit around waiting for the sun to go down. The ranger told us we were the only ones with a permit there that night so we decide on the way back out to ride over to the camp ground to see what we'd be missing. The photos below are at the campground.
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    We continue our ride to Mount Trumbull Schoolhouse. We pass through a really nice pine-forested area on the way to the schoolhouse. Coming down off the mountain where the pine forest was toward the schoolhouse I came in a little too hot to left-hand 90 deg turn. I think I was distracted looking at the Bundy Ranch entrance which is where i would have gone if I had gone straight. By the time i realized I was supposed to tun left it was too late. I found myself embarrassed with my front wheel in an irrigation ditch. Russ came to help me back the bike out of the ditch. I failed to photograph any of this.
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    The school was established in 1916 and has been restored and maintained by donations of those who attended.
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    Our next stop is Bar 10 to fill up. Their gas is now $8 per gallon.
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    Russ asks if I wanted to go down to Whitmore Overlook. I had just watched "Riding, Remote, and Alone" (https://filmfreeway.com/RidingRemotedotdotdotAndAlone) with a camera crew and a support truck. In the video he said that I would fall down if I rode down there and I wasn't feeling like jeopardizing the trip at this point so I deciding we should just go back toward the Schoolhouse and camp in the forest.
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    VIDEO LINK for DAY 7: https://photos.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/GCBAR-Sep-2019/i-d5xtjc8/0/c344f9b9/1280/GCBAR Sep 2019 Day 7-1280.mp4
    #32
  13. DesertSurfer

    DesertSurfer Tail sprayin

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    Another great GC Ride Report. Nice job Reece. Lot’s of work put into this which I appreciate. Valuable and inspiring insight for others.

    And thanks for plugging my little video “Riding Remote...And Alone” which started out very much like your videos with my numerous solo rides out to Toroweap and Whitmore using a video camera on a selfie stick. I have tried to explain this in a newer update of the show.

    After the Rangers and headquarters told me I couldn’t legally release my footage on subscription websites without filming permits... I payed the exorbitant fees and did the complicated political song and dance to reshoot with legal permits.

    My riding buddy Stephen Gregory shoots stills and videos for BMW and rides a GS12. He rode out with me to shoot most else of what you see on screen aside from another reshoot requested by BLM and Indian Tribal counsel. Contrary to what many would think this was made on a shoestring and I did most everything myself.

    I also had to hire an entertainment law firm for L&P coverage for all signage, architectural structures, faces, etc. Truth is many “grey market” productions shoot and post videos of GC and Nat Park events on pay sites all the time and the government doesn’t have the resources to penalize everybody. But since I’m an entertainment professional I can’t take that slim chance.

    Live and learn. Labor of love. You know how it is.

    Also in my show I recommend renting a side by side at Bar 10 to ride down to Whitmore Canyon lookout. Not to completely discourage the opportunity because it’s an amazing lookout experience minus the sketchiness of a big bike drop. But honestly the final decent down and back up at the overlook is a steep baby head volcanic rock wash that the BLM doesn’t allow grading or maintenance of any kind. A big bike breaking a clutch lever here would be a serious issue that I nor the BLM wants to underestimate for the sake of machismo. And Bar 10 doesn’t carry spare motorcycle parts.

    Anyways, I hope you enjoyed my little project as much as I enjoyed yours. Keep it going.
    #33
  14. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile

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    Hey DesertSurfer, I did enjoy your movie and I wish there were more like it. My comments were tongue-in-cheek. All quality reality shows require someone else to be filming to get the best sense of the adventure. The view from a gopro never captures the full sense of the terrain.

    Your movie covered a very accessible adventure that should inspire more to get out on weekends. I appreciated your description of all the hassle involved in making a professional film. I am glad that you were willing to commit and get it done. I hope enough of us here view it to make the effort worthwhile for you.
    #34
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  15. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile

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    GCBAR Day 8, Sep 10, 2019:
    This is our last day in the dirt and it will prove the most challenging terrain of the ride. On the docket is a ride out to Twin Point or Kelly Point (the signs say Twin Point and my map says Kelly Point so I don't know what it is really). I was not expecting much from ride out to Kelly Point, but I was pleasantly surprised. There was a lot of graded road but before long we were in rutted pine forest roads and then the rock stretch out to the overlook. We saw some wildlife and had a nice view at the point.

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    From here, the video tells the real story. We will encounter rocky washes, challenging rock steps at Nutter Twists,...
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    ... incur damage,
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    ...ride miles of sand/silt, ride some red rock,
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    ... see a ghoulish formation,
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    ... and find a shower and comfortable bed.
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    At Nutter Twists, Russ got off balance and his bike started tipping but he jumped off and caught it mid fall and lifted it back up. I have no idea how he did that.

    A little later in the loose sand, I also got off balance and was able to slide part way off and stop the bike from falling but couldn't lift it back up. I had to stand there with one foot on the ground holding the bike from falling until Russ could casually stroll back to me and pull the bike upright. I don't think I could have held it another 5 seconds beyond when he arrived.

    See the VIDEO LINK for more of the story: https://photos.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/GCBAR-Sep-2019/i-5vNZhVn/0/11951db7/1280/GCBAR%20Sep%202019%20Day%208-1280.mp4
    #35
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  16. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    Nice video @cactus_reese . You 2 are skilled riders to complete that last day.
    #36
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  17. thegraydog

    thegraydog 2 wheels X 6 ways

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    Hurray! I rode a couple weeks ahead of you, and have been following along to see what you thought of the drop through the caprock at Nutter Twist. You guys are onnit! I too thought the slog from Nutter Twist out to Mesquite was persistently taxing -- not scary but I had to Ride The Bike the whole way. I'll be going back to that country, but maybe try for an easier exit toward St George. Those water trucks in Hidden Canyon can't be using the roads we followed.
    Good ride and good report. Thanks!
    #37
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  18. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile

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    When riding through the area with multiple rock-strewn wash crossings we met a large group consisting of about 15 side-by-sides and 5 dirt bikes and a Ford Raptor pulling a trailer full of gear behind them all. The whole group, including the Raptor, was moving very fast in the opposite direction we were going. When we got to Nutter Twists, both Russ and I wondered how the Raptor with the trailer got through there.
    #38
  19. DesertSurfer

    DesertSurfer Tail sprayin

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    Nice report Reece. I’ve ridden that route through Hidden Canyon on my KTM 950 Adv where that red silt is deep and hard to find a rhythm. The ride up to Lime Kiln to Mesquite had some steep waterfalls last time I was there. And of course the ride up Elbow Canyon is probably the nastiest of them all!!!

    Thanks for posting the trail out to Kelly Point.

    There’s an interesting trail out of Paradise Az to Tasso through wide open washes on the northern plateau overlooking Lake Mead which is on my short list!
    #39
  20. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    Hey @cactus_reese the last point you visited was definitely Twin Point. Kelly Point is the longer point just east of Twin Point. Kelly Point is supposedly 30 miles of rocks. I haven't explored Kelly Pt as it woul add about 75 miles.
    #40