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  1. #1
    Senior Member wisaunders's Avatar
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    Trip Report w/ Pics - Overnight Bikerafting The Lower Mountain Fork River

    Most of my friends look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them I want to buy a bunch of stuff so that I can load my bike up with camping gear and go on multi-day rides. Add in a raft and their heads start to spin. My younger brother has always been my adventure buddy. Unfortunately (for me) he moved away to Boston this Summer, but he was back in Dallas for Christmas so we had to plan a quick trip up to The Lower Mountain Fork in Oklahoma, just downstream from Broken Bow Lake, for some overnight bikerafting.

    Our plan for the first day was to park at a canoe rental business, bike up to the put in, just south of the lower dam, and paddle until we found a good place to pull over and camp for the night. The next day we would paddle down to the highway bridge (About 3 miles total paddling) and ride home from there.



    We ended up having a white Christmas in Dallas this year. I was starting to think about canceling the trip, but when I looked at all the awesome presents my wife and family had given me, everything I asked for (SPOT GPS, GoPro Camera, Camping Stove...), I couldn't imagine canceling. When we left the house Thursday morning it was 25 degrees F. We picked up a friend of my brothers and off we went on our 3.5 hour drive. As we neared the Oklahoma border, the ground and sides of all the tress were covered in a thick layer of snow. We drove in silence for a while and I know we were all thinking this trip might not be a good idea, but no one said a word about that.

    We arrived at the canoe rental spot around 12:30. I had asked the owner, Greg, about parking overnight at his location earlier in December when we were planning our trip. I had emailed him the night before to let him know we were indeed going to come out. Here's the response that I got from him as we were nearing:

    Hello Will,

    I doubt you will be floating in the next few days, 28 degrees F and 2 inches of snow here this morning. If you decide to float at a later date give us a call 580-584-XXXX and leave a message.

    Thanks Greg
    [img][img][/img][/img]

    I did not respond to him out of fear that he would say we're crazy and don't park at his place. We pulled up, got packed up and off we went. In the picture below, the bikerafts are rolled up in dry sacks and strapped to the handlebars.



    A couple miles down the road a pick up truck waved us over. It was Greg, saying we're crazy and offering his home and mobile phone to us incase we got into trouble.

    The first part of the ride was a mix well traveled dirt and paved roads.



    About six miles into it, we came to a dead end. After looking at the map, we decided to climb the dirt pile road block and press on through the woods along what used to be a road. There were several saplings that succumbed to the weight of the snow that we had to duck under.



    After about a mile of hike-a-bike trough the snow, we came to a clearing where the dirt roads appeared again. After a couple more miles of dirt roads we came back out to the paved road where it was an easy, mostly downhill ride to the put in.

    It was about 4:00 PM when we got to the put in and we knew it would be getting dark soon, so we inflated the bikerafts and loaded them up for a quick paddle to look for a good place to camp along the river.



    After about 30 minutes we found a great spot with rocks that made a perfect natural boat ramp to take about and camp for the night.




    We set up camp, gathered the driest wood we could find and settled in for the night.



    We had Mountain House Chili Mac for dinner and polished off the night with a flask of scotch. I guess it was continuing to warm up through out the night. We slept to the sounds of ice falling from the tree limbs throughout the night.

    The next day we awoke to a small rain storm, but by the time we were ready to get up and going the showers had passed. After cooking some Mountain House breakfast packs, we broke down camp, packed the rafts back up and set off downstream to the chutes and falls on the steaming river.






    Being the only people on the river, there was no one ahead of us to scare off the wildlife. Along the way we saw deer, turkey, hawks and cranes (sorry no pics of any of those).



    After about three hours of paddling, we reached the take out at the highway bridge. It was starting to rain again as we packed everything back onto the bikes and had a short 6 mile ride back to the car.

    When we got back to the car we were soaked and freezing. We quickly loaded everything back in the car and changed into dry clothes. On the way home the sun was finally trying to come out from behind the clouds.

    It was a really great trip. I'm so glad that no one said what they were thinking on our dive up.
    Last edited by wisaunders; 12-31-12 at 09:58 AM. Reason: Fixed broken picture links

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    test

  3. #3
    Senior Member wisaunders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
    test
    So I guess I was able to see the pics in the preview because I was still logged in to the hosting site. You should see them now.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by wisaunders View Post
    So I guess I was able to see the pics in the preview because I was still logged in to the hosting site. You should see them now.
    2 brave souls what more can i say fair play to you.

  5. #5
    Senior Member brockd15's Avatar
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    Great report and it looks like an awesome trip!
    What rafts are you using?

  6. #6
    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    Nice job. What did those pack rafts set you back, if you don't mind my asking? I have a 12 foot whitewater boat. It is reasonably small, but WAY to big to carry on a bike. If you are ever in the mid atlantic, the New is a cool place to bike shuttle and camp. The Lower is class IV, but the upper sections are really forgiving class II, with a few maybe class III thrown in.

  7. #7
    Senior Member GeorgeBaby's Avatar
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    Outstanding! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  8. #8
    Senior Member wisaunders's Avatar
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    What rafts are you using?
    Nice job. What did those pack rafts set you back, if you don't mind my asking?
    The rafts are Denali Llamas by Alpacka. They weigh about 5 lbs and pack down to the size of a small two person tent. They run $850 brand new and are tough to find used. We purchased four of them along with paddles, PFDs, dry sacks, backpacks and all the straps that you need and started a rental company called Big City Bikerafts. I'm not posting to advertise so if you want more info check out bigcitybikerafts.com.

  9. #9
    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    Cool concept. I have heard Texas is very unfriendly to paddling. Even by western standards.

  10. #10
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Wow...
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  11. #11
    Senior Member wisaunders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebel1916 View Post
    Cool concept. I have heard Texas is very unfriendly to paddling. Even by western standards.
    I'm not sure about unfriendliness, but I know its not that popular here in Dallas. It's something we wanted to try so we just went for it.

  12. #12
    Senior Member brockd15's Avatar
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    Sounds like a lot of fun. My wife and I both ride and paddle but have never combined the two.
    I may need to add a couple of those rafts to the wish list.

  13. #13
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    Bravo!

    From one hardcore outdoor enthusiast to another, "Well done."

  14. #14
    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wisaunders View Post
    I'm not sure about unfriendliness, but I know its not that popular here in Dallas. It's something we wanted to try so we just went for it.
    Maybe unfriendly isn't the right word. Just that the law regarding riparian rights and navigability was slanted heavily away from the paddler, and that there was so little whitewater, and what there was only ran during major rain events, that the police and other authorities did not react well to seeing people on the river during high water conditions. Either way, you and your bro are studs. Respect.

  15. #15
    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brockd15 View Post
    Sounds like a lot of fun. My wife and I both ride and paddle but have never combined the two.
    I may need to add a couple of those rafts to the wish list.
    Another great way to combine paddling and cycling is using your bike to run shuttle. Logistically and gaswise it is a great choice on stretches of river that are relatively short and have easy, direct shuttles.

  16. #16
    Senior Member wisaunders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebel1916 View Post
    Another great way to combine paddling and cycling is using your bike to run shuttle. Logistically and gaswise it is a great choice on stretches of river that are relatively short and have easy, direct shuttles.
    But it is 10X more fun to carry everything with you and be completely unsupported! There are some great day trips you can do on the Trinity River and it's various branches in the DFW are. In a couple of weeks we're going out with the author of the http://dallastrinitytrails.blogspot.com blog to bikeraft through the Great Trinity Forest near downtown Dallas.

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