Unbounding into Spring

snechemias Member, Moderator Posts: 22
edited March 2023 in ROUTES & TRAILS

Two years ago I hiked a 135 mile route crossing the Columbia Plateau along the John Day River. This April three hikers will be thru hiking the route. When they finish and I have the benefit of their feedback I'll publish the full route and guide here!

I went out with Chris "Foggy Mountain" Pechous for a weekender so he could see a few changes I'd made to the start of the route, try out his new Alpacka Scout raft, and his new HMG Unbound backpack. Highlights of our weekend scouting trip are in the video above, with a somewhat tongue in cheek tribute to the disco powered library music genre of the 70s.

A man, a plan, a paddle, and a pack.

Beyond the stunning scenery, John Day river country offers increasingly stable and favorable weather conditions throughout the spring, making it an excellent early shoulder season destination. The barrier to entry is being comfortable with cross country travel, as there are no trails, but often plenty of easy going wide open spaces, old jeep roads, and game trails:

Room to roam.

On the river scenic established camps abound due to the Lower John Day's popularity with rafters, though early shoulder season we had the whole place to ourselves.

Our two pups came along, and an Ultamid 2 makes for a pretty cozy home for two hoomans and two pups. Early shoulder season before there is any bug pressure this shelter comes in at under five ounces per occupant!

A wide angle look at the controlled chaos inside an ultamid set up for two people and two pups.

Camp our second evening wasn't lacking for scenery either, and my tent pitching OCD is on full display in this ultamid pitch:

Following game trails closer to the cliff faces than you might suppose is key to avoiding the brushier vegetation in this terrain:

A distant look at Chris and I making our way across a cliff face

If this looks like the kind of hiking you'd like, stay tuned to this space for the route guide coming in May!