Annual Gifford Camp & Ride Report

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liv2day
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Annual Gifford Camp & Ride Report

Postby liv2day » Sun Aug 07, 2016 8:58 am

Thanks to better weather this year, we were able to plan the trek up to Gifford Pinchot and my buddy booked flights from the Cheddarland. Initial research into conditions after the crazy winter showed lots of flood damage with many roads closed due to washout. One of the guys going headed up on his DS bike to do some recon for camping and found that we could get to Council Lake and farther north on FR23, but only 12 miles before the road went bye bye.

I picked up my best bud from college Wednesday morning and we made it to camp early in the afternoon. Found our friend who'd done the previous recon already setup and heading out for a quick rip when we arrived. We had a couple Giff newbs coming up this year, and a smaller group than years past - only 5 nutballs could make the dates work for their schedules.

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After getting camp setup, we decided to head out for a quick afternoon rip to get warmed up for the next 3 days of riding. Two of the five guys wouldn't be there until Thursday morning and afternoon respectively, so three of us jumped on the Boundary Trail with the intention of riding out to Trail 2 (Summit Prairie). Figured we'd ride 3-4 miles "down" Summit Prairie and then turn back toward camp.

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The trip out Boundary was uneventful, though I did catch my buddy Al goofing up the root step you have to clear after the wash. We had one navigational issue as we were heading west and ended up bombing down trail 18 for several miles before realizing I'd taken a wrong turn...lol. Trail 18 is a ton of fun anyway, so we kept riding it for a while, then turned back around to keep heading out to trail 2.

Al decided he was going to head back to camp and check out how bad the wash was on the bail-out road off trail 18, so Jim and I hit trail 2 to see what it had to offer. Fun trail with some decent switchback climbs and other things to get past. Al thought he remembered the trail getting a little rough as you started the descent toward the road, so we stopped around the top of the trail and turned around. It did have a couple of cool view points, and one flat spot that had concrete footings or what appeared to be something like a foundation base. Not sure what was there, but the concrete was the only thing left - be curious to hear if anyone knows what was there.

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Think we logged just over 30 miles, perfect start for the trip - especially as there was lots of cold beer and good whisky back at camp, and target practice with a great pellet gun.

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Our buddy Aron showed up Thursday morning and being his first time to the Giff, we figured we take it somewhat easy on him and rip out to East Canyon Ridge; then make our way to the Dark Meadows trail (263) as we'd never been on that trail. 265 was a blast as always, amazing views of Mt. Adams as you climb up, and then the crazy, long arse downhill rip heading back down. We saw two other riders on that trail, they passed as we stopped to enjoy the views - didn't see 'em again.

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Getting to trail 263 proved to be interesting, found that mother nature decided FR23 needed to go a different direction than it had previously. The road was simply gone for ~100 yards or so. Bikes had an easy way around thanks to the treed area, but there's no way a vehicle was getting by. We scouted for a way down to the river and across as the trail head was on the other side. Found the easiest spot to cross and then started into the unknown.

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The first section of 263 is outstanding, some of it's fast and flowing and some of it cuts along the edge of where a stream flows to the river. After crossing that stream though, she starts to climb and proved to be a heck of a challenge in a couple switch backs. I ended up on my arse two times trying to make a switch back lefter, took a good beating and just about wiped myself out making it past that damn thing...lol. Unfortunately, we pretty much killed our buddy Aron. He'd been having issues with his throttle arm (elbow) and this trail didn't do that injury any good. The good news is we made it to the top where 263 intersects with Juniper Ridge (261), just took a bit longer than originally anticipated...lol.

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Al and Aron were spent after the fun of 263, so they decided to hit the bail-out off trail 1 back to the road. Like fools, Jim and I figured another 9 miles of trail 1 wouldn't be too bad to get us back to camp, so we headed that way. The carrot of cold beers, whisky, and good grub made it wall worth it. We logged 38 miles for the day, not a bad day ride for the Giff.

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Our final buddy showed up Thursday afternoon and had rented one of the Venture Pods for the weekend. Pretty cool setup for getting out like this, tent on top of the rack with hot water, a kitchen, and all the stuff you need to enjoy some time out in the woods "in style"...lol.

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More drinking, eating, and target practiced commenced to kick off our 2nd night in camp.

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As Murphy never misses a chance to screw with a perfectly good trip, weather moved into the mountains around midnight. I'm guessing it was around midnight based on how wet stuff was when I was suddenly awakened by a fine mist descending upon my face in my nice warm sleeping bag around 2 AM. And like a moron, I never put the rain fly on the tent - why do that when it's supposed to be great weather for 4 days...duh. Lesson learned there. So, in the dark in my damn boxers and boots, I pulled the rain fly out of the tent bag, threw it over the beast of a tent we have, and pulled the canopy out of the truck to get over the cooking stuff so everything wasn't totally soaked come wakey time. Needless to say, the morning started nice and wet and rather chilly compared to the previous two days.

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We waited around until the skies finally stopped dropping mist and appeared to sort of clear. The plan was to head over to trail 270, then up 271 at the west end to the Yozoo trail to Hamilton Butte and then loop back toward camp. Aron joined us for the trek out 270, but his arm was too beaten up to try and do Yozoo, so he bailed back to camp. We encountered several warning signs that trail 270 was closed west of where 271 cuts up to intersect with Yozoo. Turns out it's closed well before that 271 intersection - mother nature decided the trail needs to be re-worked as it's simply gone.

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We turned around and headed all the way back 270 to the other intersection of 271 at the east end. As we started climbing 271, the rain decided to make another appearance and didn't stop. By the time we arrived at Yozoo, everyone was soaked through and we were a long ways from camp. It's too bad too, riding Yozoo offers awesome views as you drop down to the valley floor. I'd say it was cool riding in the clouds, but it really wasn't...lol. Thanks to the rain, every encounter with a tree or brush on the trail was like a small shower...nice squishy boots by the time we found the road at the bottom of Yozoo.

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Once we hit bottom (lol), Gavin & Al decided they'd had enough of wet weather riding and figured they'd take roads back to camp. Little did they know they were in for an adventure attempting that navigation. Jim and I decided to press on and hit Hamilton Butte, then start the trek back to camp. One of the crazy things about weather up there, it can be bad on one side and not so bad on another The west side of Hamilton Butte was nice and wet, but when we moved around to the east side...it was dry. Not bone dry, but there were sections of trail where dust was being kicked up. Pretty crazy.

After enjoying Hamilton Butte, we hit the east end of trail 270 and stopped along one of the cool bridges out there for some pics.

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Getting back to camp, we realize we beat Gavin and Al...and that shouldn't have happened given the time we spent on the trails. Turns out they found a road that went missing and had to engineer their way around/threw the wash. The retelling of that adventure is a good one, wish they were on here to do so. I know it involved using a tow-strap and launching their bikes 5-6 feet up an embankment. Apparently, Gavin was a little happy with the happy handle and launched his 8 feet or so, bounced it off a tree right above Al's head.

We logged just over 57 miles and even though it was a wet ride, it was a good one.

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Being completely soaked, we hung a rope and attempted to use the fire to dry our gear. I can tell you this, even after going through the wash once, gear dried over a campfire will still smell like smoke...lol. At least it was mostly dry when we put it on the next day.

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The last day of riding saw our group dwindle to 3 riders, which was too bad as the weather cleared and the day was perfect. Al needed to get back to PDX to take care of stuff and Aron's arm was completely shot after doing part of trail 1 with us. So, the tres stooges continued on trail 1 with the goal of doing Juniper Ridge and possibly Tongue Mountain.

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Although there are some dicey spots along Juniper Ridge, it's such an amazing trail. We made it out the woods and up to Jumbo Peak with only one minor get-off. Upon hitting the crest, I was surprised at how many riders were up there. Not sure where they came from, but it was packed. All of 'em made it that far and were turning back, so we'd have the rest of the ridge to ourselves.

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We had a great time riding the rest of Juniper Ridge, endured going down the Devil's Staircase (and amazingly watched 3 guys come up past us...nuts), and found out that FR 29 and our planned return route was gone. So, we were going to do Tongue Mountain after all.

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I'm glad we ran Tongue Mountain south-to-north, that trail has some steep steps to climb and I don't think it would be much fun heading the other way...lol. Had a fantastic time running that trail, caught Gavin doing some acrobatics on the way down and ended up dirt surfing once myself, but no other issues. One of the things I didn't expect upon hitting the road after that trail was being so close to Randle - we were only 9 miles away. Nuts to be that far north in the riding area.

Unfortunately, Murphy decided to screw with us once more and Jim found a stick/log in the wrong place at the wrong time while bombing the single track section of trail 270. Fubar'd the radiator guard and put a hole in the radiator to boot. Fortunately, a quick application of Quicksteel and some luck sealed the leak and we limped back to camp. We covered close to 60 miles the last day and rode roughly 8 hours. All in all, we covered 180 miles over the 4 days of riding and had an awesome trip.

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Great group of guys to camp with and such an fantastic area to ride.

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I have tons of video to post, will do that sometime soon.

Revival2013
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Re: Annual Gifford Camp & Ride Report

Postby Revival2013 » Tue Aug 09, 2016 8:34 pm

You guys are definitely hard core riders and campers. Awesome trails and thanks for the report.

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liv2day
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Re: Annual Gifford Camp & Ride Report

Postby liv2day » Fri Aug 12, 2016 1:40 pm

Revival2013 wrote:You guys are definitely hard core riders and campers. Awesome trails and thanks for the report.


Thanks bud, though hard core is probably a bit of a stretch...lol.

Here's the last day's loop as well as the elevation profile.

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And here's some of my favorite sections of video.

This is all from running Juniper Ridge, one of my favorites up there.




























Some fun chasing one of the guys on the Boundary Trail, and then catching an oops trying to clear a root step.




Completely screwing up a left switch-back turn and chucking myself onto the ground twice in short order. This was on Trail 263, Dark Meadows.




Had a great time on East Canyon Ridge, trail 265




Chasing my buddy up trail 2, one of the trails we'd skipped previously




Have tons more, might post it if there's any interest.

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tempus fugit
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Re: Annual Gifford Camp & Ride Report

Postby tempus fugit » Thu Sep 15, 2016 11:30 am

Looks like a great trip. Thanks for taking the time to post the ride report and videos. Detailed and professional, as always.

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edgy
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Re: Annual Gifford Camp & Ride Report

Postby edgy » Sat Sep 17, 2016 3:29 pm

just got back from 5 days in the nortern giff. Beautiful weather, thats some real awesome country...especially for mountain goats.

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liv2day
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Re: Annual Gifford Camp & Ride Report

Postby liv2day » Wed Sep 21, 2016 12:26 pm

edgy wrote:just got back from 5 days in the nortern giff. Beautiful weather, thats some real awesome country...especially for mountain goats.


Outstanding Bill - where did you camp and ride? Sounds like you guys were up around Randall?

5 days is a good chunk of time to spend up there, bet you had a blast exploring the area. Did you get a chance to check out Yozoo trail (276) and the Hamilton Butte stuff? Hope you didn't endure Bishop Ridge...that's an exercise in beating yourself up...lol.

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edgy
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Re: Annual Gifford Camp & Ride Report

Postby edgy » Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:31 pm

Let's say we ate good and too much and had a good time.the rest is imagination


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