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Boreas Campers XT on the White Rim Trail in Utah

WHITE RIM TRAIL REPORT

The Boreas Campers XT is a great sag wagon - we supported 10 bikers on a recent trip to the White Rim!

The White Rim trail in the Canyonlands of Utah is an iconic 4x4 and mountain biking destination. After hearing about @theramblincrandalls trip to the White Rim this spot was high on our list to check out. We were eager to see the canyons, arches, towers and river views from this famed trail. And Matt volunteered to drive the truck and camper as our sag wagon while the rest of us biked it! The stoke was high!

Taking notes from the Crandalls, we identified our first picks for dates and campsites along the trail well before permits opened up 4 months in advance. At 8:00 am when I refreshed the permits page they were already gone, so we ‘settled’ for Airport and Potato Bottom camp sites (spoiler: they had beautiful views and the daily mileage ended up working out well).

When the day finally came, we camped in a dispersed spot in Canyonlands the night before. We got our crew of 13 (10 bikers) sorted at the visitor’s center Friday morning, checked in with the rangers and hit the road! … for about a mile, then we got on the dirt trail and the famed Shaffer switchbacks. I have never experienced a cooler, more breathtaking entrance to a ride.

We took a detour to a river overlook and the Musselman Arch around noon and stopped for lunch. We pulled sandwich goodies and cold drinks out of the Truma cooler and set up the 23Zero 180 awning for some precious shade in the desert.

We kept moving and arrived at the Airport campsite with plenty of time for some face masks, stretching and cookies before pulling out the tembo tusk and heating up spaghetti. To keep things quick and easy I cooked the sauce and noodles ahead of time, so we just had to heat it up. Pulled out the salad and bon appetit!

The crew pulled their tents and sleeping bags from the camper and everyone settled in. Glow in the dark bocce ball was a hit, and the shooting stars were entertainment for the rest of the night. We turned the Propex furnace on a few minutes before jumping in to heat the cabin up and slept oh-so-good.

We hit the road at 8am exactly (just like we planned! that never happens!) the next morning. We had 47 miles before Potato Bottom, which included Murphy’s Hogback, so we knew the day was going to be a long one. That aside, riding that morning was really special (besides a broken chain link which was expertly fixed by a pal – thank you!). The weather was gorgeous, and it was tough to not take pictures of every canyon and tower. After a while you start looking at the pictures and realize it’s pointless to try and capture *all* of it. Thankfully we had the Zamp solar panel and Battleborn battery to recharge the phone at night so I could continue to take hundreds of photos!

At mile 27 Murphy’s Hogback loomed in the sky. The trucks hauled butt to get to the top and I was head down, hike a biking my way, frustrated with a false summit (IYKYK) and finally making it! We enjoyed a yummy lunch at the top of the Hogback and started high fiving each other since we thought the rest of the day would be downhill.

We pulled out and kept going, after a fun steep couple of switchbacks on the other side of Murphy’s Hogback, the terrain seemed to flatten out (am I going up??) and the deep sand made it impossible to keep pedaling in some spots. We had 20 more miles to go! Time to crank it out.

Seeing the Green River around a bend was such a welcome sight. We knew our campsite was along the river so we had to be getting close! Strava said 2 miles. It felt like 10. But we made it! I for one spent a half hour lying in the dirt with no ambition to move at all.

Potato Bottom was so different from our Airport campsite. It had lots of vegetation and a couple of the guys went to jump in the water. And we still had gorgeous views of the cliffs above us.

We snacked on warm bacon-wrapped dates while tents got set, and had ramen for dinner, with bok choy, chicken, mushrooms, bean sprouts and chives for toppings. That was a hit with the crew. And using the ramen cups made clean up a breeze.

After the sun set a few vehicles drove by that were driving the full trail in one day. After some time had passed we could see their headlights way off in the distance and up in the sky going up the Mineral Bottom switchbacks and getting off the trail.

We also had a few riders come by that were attempting to finish the trail in a day. They were only 14 miles from the end so they weren’t in too much trouble, but one was out of water. We filled her up since we had extra from our 30-gallon on board tank and the extra Jerry cans, and we were thankful we were able to do it. Water is the item we prioritized most on the trip!

One thing I love to do when on a group trip is ‘best, worst, kudos’. Everyone has to say the best part of their day, the worst part, and give someone else in the group kudos for something they did. It’s a great way to relive the highs and lows of a good adventure day.

Ok – we knew the rain was coming. Matt was watching on his Garmin inreach and saw the storm headed our way. It was warm and pleasant with a few drops when we went to bed.

Around 2am it started. Steady, constant, is-it-letting-up-no-it’s-getting-harder rain. When we got up around 6:30 fears were confirmed: everything was SOAKED. The ground, the tents, the packs. It was tough to get excited, and no one said it but everyone was thinking it: how are we going to bike in this??

But after a few minutes, the dawn started to break and headlamps were put away, the rain let up so ponchos were taken off, we realized it was not so cold without the moisture and it had actually hardened up the sand enough where you could stay on top. We called it a win and saddled up. Out again at 8am! We really had a great crew. 

We only had about 14 miles to go this day, but that included the Hard Scrabble right out of the gate (an easy deal on the mountain bike, and much more manageable incline-wise than Murphy’s Hogback), and the Mineral Bottom switchbacks at the end.

Hard Scrabble was an incredible spot to bike, such a wild twisty ride, it is hard to imagine how the first person saw where the road could go. With the overcast conditions the fog made it incredibly beautiful and so different from the views we had our first two days.

Past Hard Scrabble was a sloppy road for a mile or so and then: flash flood. The sandy bed that was the road for the next few hundred yards was a raging river. The trucks pulled up and assessed the situation, using sticks to determine how deep and fast the water was. They went through and helped guide a few other trucks that had been planning on waiting it out. The bikers all took their shoes off and waded across two portions of the trail that were underwater. The bikes had gotten so muddy on the road before the flash flood that we used the shower on the camper to clean off the chains and drivetrain.

After passing that hurdle, we were off again. But now the percipitation that had returned turned to freezing rain, and it was truly just miserable riding. If you didn’t pick a good spot your tires got caught in the mud and you hoped you found a dry-ish spot to step while you pushed your bike. But no one whined or broke down, and the consensus afterwards was that it was great to have a high-quality type-2 fun day at the very end so that everyone could know that we are NOT WIMPS and we can figure it out in good conditions and bad. And better to have weather the last day than the first!

At the bottom of Mineral Bottom you can see the switchbacks to the top and the end of the trail. I nervously thought ‘at least we won’t be cold anymore’, and found my way to the granny gear really quick. Once you put your head down it is amazing how much progress you can make if you just.keep.moving.

It was more treacherous for the trucks. The mud made the tight switchbacks and steep cliffs perilous, and a truck did slide at one point. Thankfully the maxxtracks were pulled out and set and the trucks made it up without any more excitement. I wheezed up shortly thereafter and got a round of fist bumps from the crew.

What a trip! It was a wonderful adventure full of some of the most incredible views I have ever witnessed. Having the XT as a support vehicle made the trip so much fun as no one had to carry their tent/sleeping bag/food/water/tools on their bike. And having cold drinks and prepped food meant at the end of a long ride we could all get to eating quicker. 

I would highly recommend this route to any driver or biker, and the experience on this trail will be unique every time.

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