White and I (and maybe Red) are on the verge of embarking on our first bikepacking trip with an overnight stay in the George Washington National Forest. Today White and I did a bit of a shakedown run at Pocahontas State Park. We haven’t received our Slings from Revelate yet. White decided to go with a ghetto setup for good measure. I went with nothing on the bars. I hope to test that out next test run.
White weighed his backpack and I think he said it came in at 19 lbs. I didn’t weigh mine, but it was heavy and I didn’t have everything in it. Gonna have to scrutinize everything in there, and/or find ways to get more weight in my seat bag and Sling.
We decided to ride out of the Qualla lot, but instead of singletrack, we hit fire road today. Geared up and all smiles, we headed out of the parking lot. We followed the fire road down passed the “quarry” and linked up with Fendley Station Trail. Now, ye without sin cast the first stone, but I haven’t gone our to PSP to ride fire roads in I don’t know how long. But man, was it awesome.
We followed Fendley Station around in familiar territory, but eventually crossed over the park entrance road. From there, it was all new territory for the both of us. It was amazing the varied terrain that the fire road offered. We stopped now and again, checked out the spurs up to the parking areas, and just took it all in. All the while, those packs were weighing heavy on us. Eventually, we encountered our first little stream crossing. However, we had no idea that there was a much bigger creek to cross.
We arrived at the spillway, which was a killer place to take a break, have a snack, and walk around to explore a little.
After crossing the creek, there is a killer climb. It’s fairly short, but the rocks are kinda large and loose. I starting bouncing around and finally put a foot down. Walking up to the top, we found the other side of the spillway. While White broke the law, I wandered down a foot path that led to great view of the lake.
Back on the bikes, we decided we had a ways to go and sunlight was starting to wane. We made some pretty good time from there on out. Eventually, we made our way around to the boat ramp and up to the CCC museum parking lot. From there, it was more familiar territory back to the Qualla Connector — the only bit of singletrack we rode today. But I’m not complaining.
All in all I’d say it was a successful shakedown run. We learned a lot, had a great ride, and got to see some places we’ve never been before. Can’t wait for Shakedown #2.