For anyone as uninitiated as myself in Minnesotan lore and legend, the Boundary Waters is a immaculate sprawling maze of lakes in Northern Minnesota that share a border with Canada. I can’t remember who, but someone a few beers deep around a campfire eulogized about the boundary waters for quite some time, since then its hung in the back of my mind to check it out if the chance ever arose.
Forgotten Highways looks at some of New Zealand’s most breathtaking scenery along the Whanganui River, Explored by Mountain Bike and Packraft.
Last Fall when planning my trip to Colorado for a beta-trip with Lizzy Scully and Steve “Doom” Fassbinder of Four Corners Guides bikepacking in the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park, they invited me to double down for the week and do a bike rafting trip near Kayenta, AZ on the Navajo Nation. If you are like me and have literally spent hours pouring over maps and cryptic hints trying to decipher some of Doom’s trips then the obvious answer to being invited on a bikerafting trip with Dr. Doom himself was a no-fucking-brainer. I just had to prep myself to not be too star-struck.
Quicksand, Camaraderie, and Existential Optimism in Canyon Country
Words and photos by Spencer Harding
Sometimes you plan a trip months in advance and mother nature decides that the normally dry ground you planned to ride your bike will now be a raging soupy brown milkshake of a river.
Sometimes you help a random couple push a broken down vintage Jaguar in the middle of nowhere in the rain.
Sometimes you get stuck in waist-deep quicksand in said raging soupy brown milkshake river and have to yell for help until your friends come to rescue you covered in cockle burrs.
Sometimes you ride your bike even though the map says you are underwater in Lake Powell.
Sometimes you decide to drag your bike and raft upstream for some damn reason.
Sometimes your overnighter was shorter mileage-wise than an average grocery run.
Sometimes in desperation, you make a pipe out of the darndest things and then eat it.
Sometimes you realize maybe you should have left the damn bike at home this time.
Sometimes you decide to go for a leisurely ride to see pretty fall colors on the way home, which turns into a two hour long hike-a-bike ending with Y’all running from a snowstorm.
And finally, sometimes none of these things matter because the people and places around you are so dang beautiful…