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Old 07-13-2009, 10:40 PM   #1
PistonPants OP
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Location: Cantwell, AK
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Alaska Alpine Omnitracking

This Sunday, we made another trip into the Schist Creek backcountry. Same place as my last ride report, but this time lots more pics!

My homey Shutter Monkey and I finally get a day off at the same time. This mission we scout a crossing of a creek 15 miles in that should open up more terrain that climbs over the 5000 foot level. The ultimate goal being to reach a pass that divides Revine and Bruskasna creek drainages.

Shutter Monkey guides a fly fishing trip in the morning and meets me at 11:30. After breakfast and some prep, we shove off around 1:00.

Not a slave to fashion, the Shutter Monkey sports shorts and knee pads and his 1972 vintage helmet purchased from a thrift store in Arkansas for $6.

The Kawasaki Monster:

2 miles up the highway, across the Nenana and into the woods...the adventure begins.

Crossing Schist Creek:

And climb the hill we call 'the price of admission'

It's a long steep rugged climb up out of the forest to the alpine. Once on top, it's like riding on the moon.

Better not mess with the Shutter Monkey.

The Helmet.....You all should take a closer look at the helmet:

That gold metalflake and chrome trim can't cover up that red neck.

Is there a part of a Gas-Gas that does not have 'Gas Gas' cast into it?

Sweet machinery.

From our vantage one can see the vast cleft in the earth's crust where the Denali Fault runs east-west. This is the front range slopes of the Alaska Range.

More report coming later...

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Old 07-13-2009, 10:48 PM   #2
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:50 AM   #3
PistonPants OP
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I call it 'omnitracking' because it is the opposite of singletracking.

Routefinding involves taking in the entire landscape to best plot a course, being careful to pay close attention to the landscape immediately in front of you.

We arrive at the first tributary to Bruskasna Creek. An old hunting camp with its wall tent frame sits beside the creek.

The main fork of this tributary is what we try to find a way to cross. It is lined with thick willow and alder, has swift current and a rocky bed, and steep rocky banks. After some poking around and scouting, we find a spot that has potential. We spent better than an hour cutting brush and rearranging rocks in the creek bed to make a crossing spot. I think we can make it, but we opt out of trying it out. It is gnarly and requires the next level of commitment to slog bikes through there (twice for a round trip). So we eat lunch of fried chicken and oatmeal raisin cookies in the stream.

We climb back up to where the bikes are parked, mark the location for future convenience, and wring out our socks. The Gas Gas has a busted kickstand and leans against my bike at every stop. They seem to like one another.

We decide to climb into a high cirque at the headwaters of Schist Cr.

Last time I was there, I broke off my clutch perch and was pelted by a hailstorm and freezing winds. This time:

We park the bikes and walk back across the granite strewn cirque.

The bikes are parked just below the nearest horizon in this shot.

Back when we left on this ride, I told Mrs. Piston the flight plan. "If we aren't back by 7:00, you should start to worry." At this point, it is 6:30. We have a 6 mile ride to the first point where a cell phone gets a signal. Hustle back down the mountain.

Snow on an 80 degree afternoon:

We make the dash and get a signal and place an 'all is well' call back home at 6:59. How time flies.

The view back toward home:

The return crossing of Schist Cr.

Shutter Monkey in the mud hole

From here we can practically taste the cold beer. Another awesome ride right from my driveway.

Shutter Monkey had his Female's camera with him on this ride and took a bunch of pics as well. A few technical wrinkles need to get ironed out and I'll post those photos soon.

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Old 07-14-2009, 04:35 AM   #4
Dessert Storm
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Fantastic pictures of an amazing place. On your doorstep? Jammy git!
Pretty soon I knew the tune,
And we sat and sang under the Moon
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:25 AM   #5
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Beautiful rugged terrain and action
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:20 AM   #6
Ride now. Talk later.
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Awesome RR, Piston! Hope to see you out on the trails one of these days
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Old 07-14-2009, 02:38 PM   #7
just passin' through
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Spectacular - nice lid too!
What's next? More action!
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Old 07-14-2009, 02:56 PM   #8
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sweet ride, guys. i wish we had some scenery like that down here in tejas...
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:03 PM   #9
Where did I put that
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Well done, thanks for the pics!
"Even though my trip turned out badly, I don't regret the kind of life I chose to live. Adventure!" RIP-Clay Schwartz 9/14/07
The bike never has been, never is, and never will be the limiting factor in my, your, or anyone else's ability to have an adventure. -jake28-
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Old 07-15-2009, 05:04 AM   #10
Gaston Gagne
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I'm glad to see my pal Slam Dunk Monkey was in the mix. That is some eye popping scenery.
Cela est comment nous roulons.
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Old 07-16-2009, 12:48 AM   #11
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Nice write-up.

Thanks for sharing the expansive terrain above tree line.

Mark H.
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:46 AM   #12
PistonPants OP
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shutter monkey photos

The Shutter Monkey finally hooked me up with the images he took while on our last ride. More Photos!


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Old 07-20-2009, 11:04 AM   #13
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That's beautiful stuff. Off the beaten path is very good!
No problem, that'll buff right out!
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Old 07-20-2009, 05:34 PM   #14
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I spent a couple days in your backyard a couple years ago. I stayed at Backwoods Lodge there in Cantwell... loved it. Thanks for the great photos.
IBA # 33113
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