‘Forgotten Highways’ is a film of documenting self-supported travel bike bicycle and cultural discovery set in the Whanganui District of New Zealand. The film is a journey through a challenging landscape following the historical trails to and from one of NZ’s most significant rivers (or Awa).
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.
To fill in the gaps between normal, group-ride-oriented bicycle stories, we’re featuring a few rides from the staff over here at the Radavist, beginning with Spencer’s Orbea Loki.
When it was finally time for me to accept that my fatbike just wasn’t that good of a trail bike, I looked to the next best thing, a plus bike. I finagled my way into Interbike a few years back and made it my mission to ride all the plus bikes at the dirt demo. Turns out they were damn fun, the Advocate (now Esker) Hayduke was the winner of the day in my eyes, right in front of the newly updated Karate Monkey. At the time I worked for a guide company that had a fleet or Orbea’s bikes, and they sent our company a closeout list with some discounted bikes at cost. I saw a swoopy aluminum 27.5+ hardtail that looked like it might just be the ticket. I figured I could fit an XL and hopefully, that would give me the most framebag space since I planned to use this as that ever-fleeting idea of a quiver killer.
In the summer of 2019, Bjørn Olson and Kim McNett completed a fat-bike and packraft route, entirely above the Arctic Circle of Alaska – Kotzebue to Point Hope. Enjoy the trailer for the upcoming film about this human-powered expedition.
When Alpacka Raft approached me about shooting a trip to New York, my mind started running with places upstate I had heard so much about in the past. But, that was quickly tempered as I inquired further to find out that they intended to raft the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn.
The latest video from Bjørn Olson is not to be missed!
“Alaska’s Seward Peninsula lies just below the Arctic Circle. The protuberant peninsula is the millennia old home to the Inupiat Eskimo, situated in the northwest of Alaska – a land that stirs the adventurer’s spirit and kindles the insatiable. Visions of paleo-Arctic ancestors, sweeping tundra, rugged mountains, winding rivers, compacted beaches, intact ecosystems, and a land before contemporary time excite the Iglaak – the traveler, stranger, and visitor.
This three-minute film is a snapshot of a fat-bike and packraft tour through the Imuruk Basin, the villages of Mary’s Igloo, Brevig Mission, Teller, and Nome.”
Fluid Trails follows a group of friends as they navigate New Zealand’s Kahurangi National Park, via mountain bikes and packrafts. The landscape is one of immense awe and inspiration with a rich history and a rich cache of biodiversity.
Already into Episode 32 of documenting his journey bikepacking from Alaska to Argentina and around the world, Iohan Gueorguiev shares a rather intimate look at Chile, from the mountains to the coast. Watch the rest of Iohan’s episodes at his Youtube Channel.
Paddles n’ Puppies: A Visit to Alpacka Raft HQ
Words and photos by Spencer Harding
I’ve been fawning over Alpacka rafts for years but have yet to obtain one. I have used the shitty Klymit one, which resulted in my raft flipping while holding my camera at the end of a rapid. I learned the hard way that there is only one true name in the packrafting game: Alpacka Raft.
Last year my friend Molly (see our last trip for more cute photos of her and Sprocket) got a job working at Alpacka Raft HQ in Mancos, Colorado. Mancos is a quaint town nestled right between the full-on Rocky Mountains and the eastern edge of the Colorado Plateau. Ever since she got the job I had been waiting for an excuse to stop by and check out the factory. Turns out Mancos is not even close to being on the way from Salt Lake City to Denver (to meet up for this year’s DFL the Divide trip) but was well worth the detour.
The Colorado River is where Joey likes to play in his free time. On this trip, it’s home to a solo packrafting excursion.
Five people set off into the wilds of New Zealand over the course of 6 days for a 300km unsupported trek using bikepacking and packrafting to assist on their journey. If you’re looking for views for days, the backcountry in New Zealand is the place to go!
Three riders set off on a bikepacking journey in New Zealand using their packrafts. What will they encounter?
Keeping your head in check on a trip like this is of the utmost importance, because… you want to have a good time!
Down on Muddy Creek, She Sends Me
Words by Spencer Harding photos by Spencer, Molly and Tyler.
So, I had a week off from leading bike tours in southwestern Utah and like any sane individual, I headed straight for Moab. I met up with Tyler and Molly whom I had connected with last fall through a mutual adventure buddy (thanks, Tommy!). Anywho, they had been pestering me to get a packraft for awhile and I finally just bought a lil’ dinghy raft from Klymit before heading out to Utah. There was some deliberation on route options and at the last minute, we decided the conditions for running Muddy Creek would be perfect.
The plan was to drop off bikes and camping gear at the take-out, drive the truck and boats to the put-in, raft down, camp out, and bike back to the truck the next morning.
As we are heading towards Wyoming, Julia turns to me and says “this book says you can float the Snake River and it looks pretty cool.” Sounds good to me, let’s do that. This trip is all about this, this right here, we see something we are interested in and we do it. This is a luxury we are both very thankful for and are lucky to have in this moment.
We pulled into Jackson, worked our way through the hellish traffic, dodging National Park tourists, making the reality of where we were very apparent. A damn National Park town. Now don’t get me wrong, Jackson and Teton are very beautiful but shit, the crowds, and traffic are horrific and gave me flash backs of LA. This is not why we are here, this is enough to make me want to just keep driving, but alas I fought the urge, and well let’s face it, I wouldn’t make it too far in this traffic.