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Winter Bikepacking. On my Shake-Out ride, a wolf went through my campsite!

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Winter Bikepacking. On my Shake-Out ride, a wolf went through my campsite!

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Old 12-15-14, 11:20 AM
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mdilthey
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Winter Bikepacking. On my Shake-Out ride, a wolf went through my campsite!

Particularly proud of this post. I had an awesome overnighter at the local reservoir and a wolf stepped past me in the night!

Surly Karate Monkey Bikepacking Setup





There's a full gear list at the beginning of the post, some charts for packed weight, and a good graphic showing how I pack!
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Old 12-15-14, 11:41 AM
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Looks like an excellent holiday greeting card photo.
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Old 12-15-14, 11:55 AM
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"Season's Greetings from that special lady in my life!"
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Old 12-15-14, 12:49 PM
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Awesome! I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated you sharing.

Bikepacking is on my list of things to try. Thanks for the detailed explanation of gear and packs.
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Old 12-15-14, 01:35 PM
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Nice post.

As a former winter camping fanatic I can identify, thus find your minimalist approach interesting, but not something I would want to do these days. I like hot food for dinner, myself.

From the comments about Mt. Greylock I assume western Mass. ?. Thus would ask are you certain wolf tracks ?. Probably coyotes, the eastern coyote being a pretty big animal. I'm not aware of any wolf sightings south of the St. Lawrence river.
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Old 12-15-14, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
I had an awesome overnighter at the local reservoir and a wolf stepped past me in the night!
Very cool! Nice picture too.
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Old 12-15-14, 02:08 PM
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Turns out, these may be coyote tracks (thanks Doug64 and Google). I heard a wolf when I was pretty far up in Maine, but there have only been one or two sightings in the past few decades in Massachusetts. Certainly there's a chance, but a very low one.

The tracks lead out from dense protected woods, though, so it's definitely no dog!
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Old 12-15-14, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
Turns out, these may be coyote tracks (thanks Doug64 and Google). I heard a wolf when I was pretty far up in Maine, but there have only been one or two sightings in the past few decades in Massachusetts. Certainly there's a chance, but a very low one.
Coyotes are getting to be everywhere these days. I think they are now in all of the states except Hawaii. Here in Maryland they have been even seen inside the Baltimore city limits. Still cool to have one wander through camp though.
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Old 12-15-14, 03:43 PM
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Unfortunately, there are also quite a few wolf-dog hybrids that gnarly dudes like to breed.
But then when they become too difficult, they get dumped in the countryside.

"Every year, thousands of pet wolves or hybrids are abandoned, rescued or euthanized because people purchase an animal they were not prepared to care for. A few facilities exist around the country that take in unwanted canines, but their resources are usually very limited. Education about the behavior, health and containment of wolves and hybrids and about laws pertinent to their ownership before people buy may prevent hardships for both human and animal."

Wolf-Dog Hybrids | International Wolf Center
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Old 12-15-14, 06:08 PM
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Erick L
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Could be a coywolf, a coyote/wolf hybrid.
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Old 12-15-14, 06:10 PM
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mdithey, Far better for a coyote to pass through your campsite than a feral dog, IME.

jamawani, My daughter picked up a stray dog which we were surprised to learn was a wolf b*tch. Excellent, very loving animal, but intolerant of other b*tches. I had her for about a year and we found a new home for her on a ranch. We followed her progress at the ranch and she was doing quite well.

Brad
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Old 12-15-14, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Erick L View Post
Could be a coywolf, a coyote/wolf hybrid.
The Eastern Timberwolf, whose range is currently in the lake regions of the upper mid-west and eastern Canada, has a known mix of about 60% wolf and 40% coyote. Likewise, the eastern coyotes have a large wolf mix which results in their being significantly larger then the western breed. And then there's a lot of dog intermingled.

While there have been occasional visual sightings and reports of wolf like howling in New England states, no real proof yet that the eastern wolves have migrated south of the St. Lawrence river. With the eastern coyotes being the size they are, it's hard to tell the difference. I'm certain, as example, it was wolves we heard howling at night, in Mt. Carleton Provincial Park in New Brunswick. I LIKE to think they were wolves !.
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Old 12-15-14, 06:36 PM
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I've heard a whisper of wolf howls up in Maine. Very interesting that the two breeds have intermixed as much as they have. I suppose I don't particularly want to meet a coyote, a wolf, or a feral dog.

Usually I make a big fuss about where I make camp to discourage nocturnal visitors. Bear bags, and (sounds gross) taking a wizz about ten feet out in 2-3 directions is surefire and I've never had an infiltration. I suppose given the narrow corridor I was on last night, the coyote had no choice but to plod past the strange sleeping creature with no food.



I wasn't carrying so much as a stick of gum; I left in the late evening, biked for a while, made camp, slept, woke up, and headed out for breakfast.
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Old 12-16-14, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Coyotes are getting to be everywhere these days. I think they are now in all of the states except Hawaii. Here in Maryland they have been even seen inside the Baltimore city limits. Still cool to have one wander through camp though.
Coyote road kill has been found inside the Philadelphia city limits, thanks in part to a large expanse of wooded area. There are also lots of other city park acreage.
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Old 12-16-14, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
I'm certain, as example, it was wolves we heard howling at night, in Mt. Carleton Provincial Park in New Brunswick. I LIKE to think they were wolves !.
Lakota Wolf Preserve in New Jersey:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/davez2...57633368316419

https://www.flickr.com/photos/davez2...57633368316419

They have a dozen or so of them. I camped next door the night before and was treated to howling in the morning. The enclosures may look small, but they are not. Each one is multi-acre and wooded. They have a couple of bob cats and foxes as well. The bob cats are a sad story. A woman had them as pets in South Dakota, where it was legal to own them. Once they grew up she realized they don't make good house pets.
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Old 12-16-14, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Coyote road kill has been found inside the Philadelphia city limits, thanks in part to a large expanse of wooded area. There are also lots of other city park acreage.
Yeah, Baltimore has a fairly wild corridor along the Jones Falls that has a lot of wildlife that would seem to be unlikely in a major east coast city. That said some of the coyotes have actually been spotted in pretty developed areas.
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Old 12-16-14, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Yeah, Baltimore has a fairly wild corridor along the Jones Falls that has a lot of wildlife that would seem to be unlikely in a major east coast city. That said some of the coyotes have actually been spotted in pretty developed areas.
There's a known breeding pair of coyotes in Van Cortland Park, The Bronx, NYC. The biologists think they use the South County Bike Trail as the travel corridor as there have been quite a few sightings in south Westchester.
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Old 12-16-14, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
There's a known breeding pair of coyotes in Van Cortland Park, The Bronx, NYC. The biologists think they use the South County Bike Trail as the travel corridor as there have been quite a few sightings in south Westchester.
They also live in Chicago and have for over two decades:

On The Loose: Urban Coyotes Thrive In North American Cities

I have seen deer grazing in the park not too far from my house, which is near the center of the city. The raptor population has also been growing. Rittenhouse Square, the landmark park in the center of the business district, is a prime red tail hunting location this time of year. Once the leaves fall from the trees, hawks come there to hunt pigeons, rats and squirrels. Just saw one last week while eating lunch there. Very cool to watch. You can usually tell when one is around. The pigeons get spooked and start flying around in large circles like a school of fish. At home I have a photo of what appears to be a young, female kestrel sitting on the telephone pole at the edge of an alley across the street from my house. I saw another raptor walking home Monday. It looked to lean and fast to be a red tail. I am thinking it was a falcon, which have also called the city home from time to time.

My trash can is out on by back deck. If I don't keep the lid on tight I run the risk of possums and raccoons getting into it. They use the numerous small alleys in my neighborhood to get around.
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Old 12-16-14, 08:51 AM
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October Mt?
Nice setup... I need a bit more gear to go into this part of the winter. (although, with the mild temps I could make it work if I have a lean to or shelter to sleep under).
Who needs a fatbike? You do, you just don't know it yet.
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Old 12-16-14, 11:55 AM
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I had the opportunity to demo a fat bike. It was fun, but it seemed really limited by snow density and depth. In our part of the world the snow is several feet deep most of the winter. In the transition zone, the snow is shallower, but really wet. If there is a crust on the snow that would hold, it would be great. Conversely, a breakable crust would be the pits.

I think it would be OK on snowmobile trails and packed ski trails, but you run the chance of getting skewered with a ski pole by an irate skier. Also, those are not the areas where most folks want to bike anyway. I know someone will comeback telling how they rode in 4' of breakable crust, going uphill while rolling a cigarette with one hand; but that was my take on a very short ride.

I know an hour messing around in the snow is not a good sample, but I'd rather do my winter packing on skies or snowshoes. Besides there is way too much "tent time" this time of year.

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Old 12-16-14, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
I had the opportunity to demo a fat bike. It was fun, but it seemed really limited by snow density and depth. In our part of the world the snow is several feet deep most of the winter. In the transition zone, the snow is shallower, but really wet. If there is a crust on the snow that would hold, it would be great. Conversely, a breakable crust would be the pits.

I think it would be OK on snowmobile trails and packed ski trails, but you run the chance of getting skewered with a ski pole by an irate skier. Also, those are not the areas where most folks want to bike anyway. I know someone will comeback telling how they rode in 4' of breakable crust, going uphill while rolling a cigarette with one hand; but that was my take on a very short ride.

I know an hour messing around in the snow is not a good sample, but I'd rather do my winter packing on skies or snowshoes. Besides there is way too much "tent time" this time of year.


I need to test a fatbike, because I suspect the difference between 2.5 inch tires and 4 inch tires is not going to be astoundingly great.
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Old 12-16-14, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
I need to test a fatbike, because I suspect the difference between 2.5 inch tires and 4 inch tires is not going to be astoundingly great.
My bet is that if you run the tires at similar pressures the difference won't be much, but if you run the very low pressure that the fatter tires allow, the ride will be very different. Note that I said different, not better. Better or not will depend on the particular terrain, usage, and personal preference. Just guessing though
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Old 12-16-14, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
I need to test a fatbike, because I suspect the difference between 2.5 inch tires and 4 inch tires is not going to be astoundingly great.
You suspect wrong.

The contact patch of a 2.4" tire compared to a 3.8" tire or 5" tire is vastly different.

Really depends on the snow, temperature, trail, tires, rims, and the big one - air pressure. (etc. etc.)
And the rider. Took me a while to figure out how to ride on snow.

If its up to your BB, you will suffer, unless its fluffy, dry powder, or packs nicely under wheel. I've ridden miles on snow where the pedals are sticking the surface on every revolution. And then I've ridden 0 miles on snow that was only a few inches thick (mashed potato, sort of parking lot, oatmeal snow where nothing goes).

If its less than the BB, its workable, depending on the density.
But a packed in trail becomes rideable on 5" tires sooner than on 4" tires and far quicker than on 2.4s.
I was amazed at the difference switching from my Soma on 2.4 Nevegals to the Pugsley.
Sold the Soma quickly thereafter, as I was using it as my winter bike.

Not all snow is created equal, not all tires and pressures and riders are either.
And, its not all about snow, fat bikes are useful for other things, and the Pugsley and Mukluk (and others) can take 29+ wheels so you can run 3" tires in them (like I have on my Krampus, which I really like for bikepacking.

And, lots of places are getting hip to fat bikes on trails - grooming for bikes, skis, snowshoes. Although I am going on a group ride at a ski / MTB center (https://catamountoutdoorfamilycenter...y-group-rides/) this week, I generally ride local trails that get packed in by other riders and snow showers / dog walkers / skiers. I've also ridden snow mobile trails in VT and the Adirondacks, on the beach, etc.

So, YMMV. But here are some images:

G0034999 by mbeganyi, on Flickr

IMG_9893 by mbeganyi, on Flickr

whoa by mbeganyi, on Flickr

QBP glamour shot by mbeganyi, on Flickr

IMG_2220 by mbeganyi, on Flickr

IMAG1477 by mbeganyi, on Flickr

IMG_9243 by mbeganyi, on Flickr

deep by mbeganyi, on Flickr

Smuggler's Notch Fatbike by mbeganyi, on Flickr
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Old 12-16-14, 12:55 PM
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Wolf tracks are huge (min. 4" long for adults)compared to coyote tracks or even the biggest dog you've ever seen. Their feet are disproportionally large for their body size.
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Old 12-16-14, 12:55 PM
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So, here is a completely unscientific* look at contact patch (float potential!) on a 2.4" 29r tire (red), a 4" (blue) and 5" (green) fatbike tire.
The surface area speaks for itself.

*I roughed out the wheel shape, aligned them all at the same point on the bottom of the tire, then cut through them at the same point... so this doesn't take into account the tire actually deforming better over the surface under rider weight and the reaction from the ground, its just a comparison of the area of that slice... but its telling how many more sq inches you get with the bigger tires. More surface area = better float on soft surfaces.

(click to make readable)





You have nearly double the surface area with the 5" tire, not to mention the ability to run lower pressures. And in reality, the 2.4" tire would not be cut in the same location as I have here, so it would be less (theoretically) - as it is a smaller tire with higher pressure it wouldn't deform as much.
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