By Editor Kelly O’Day
I’ve spent a little too much time working home-base trails this summer, so when friends suggested a little rendezvous up north on CAMBA trails, I quickly checked my calendar.
Turns out my boys had other plans, but, alas, the traveling family dog was due to be at my place. I tried to beg out, but was rebuffed. Then, in a strange twist of fate, a swap of boy for dog turned into only my drop-off. The dog had slipped a mind and I was off, scot free.
Luckily, I had kept the door to the plans ajar. Quickly opting all in, I texted and packed.
Gravity cavity (flattened by the camera)! Kelly O’Day photo
In the meantime, our camping plans were in limbo. Eric had booked a new place – ROAM Adventure Basecamp – because of the showers and proximity to the OO trailhead, but the online registration was cancelled automatically a short time later. But Mo, the owner, soon sent a personalized email saying in essence: the plumber hadn’t shown, showers were out, we could stay free if we wanted as the only campers on the property, and even use the showers at his house a couple miles away if we wanted. Bonanza!
Later we had a long talk with Mo, a great guy, and he told us – among other things – the Birkie Trail crosses the ROAM property. Mo has built four cabins for comfortable winter accommodations, too.
Winter’s a long way off, but the important thing is the Seeley Pass singletrack – which is also groomed for snowy fatbiking – was located 50 short yards from the end of the campground driveway.
We didn’t realize that the first night as we cruised down the dirt road and finally hit the trail near OO. We continued south on Makwa Trail for nearly 10 miles, grinning and guffawing the whole way. Several times we had to ask if it was for real, and Joe kept saying, “It’s like Disneyland!”
On the way home we noticed the shortcut to the trail – which actually lengthens the stretch (certainly not a bad thing) – so on Saturday we jumped on there and headed north instead.
The roughly 15-mile jaunt to the Camp 38 trailhead was a piece of work, and that’s certainly a good thing. We couldn’t believe how much fun we had in the Gravity Cavity, looping around five times for more joy. A bottom-dropper feature capped by a Tokyo drift near the Camp 38 trailhead begged three trips.
The best part about the whole long combination of Seeley Pass and Flow Mama sections was the way the hills are engineered to seem smaller than they are, with reprieves built into the biggest climbs.
After returning to camp, and a break to refuel and talk to Mo, we headed south again for a Makwa replay. It was worth it just seeing the two miles of Seeley Pass we had skipped on dirt road, and then Makwa regaled us again.
Maybe we should have been too tired to continue, but Eric and I were just having too much fun to stop ‘til we cracked 40 miles. Joe and Jake had headed back a short bit earlier.
We never did need to take Mo up on his shower offer. Beautiful, clear Silverthorn Lake was nearby, and bluegills nipped at our leg hairs and a loon swam a stone’s toss away.
After another night sitting around a campfire, we took a short, mild ride around Patsy Lake on Sunday, joined by the girls who had participated in the Longass Ride the day before. A stop at a country bar for lunch and the up-north experience was finally over, but it will be roughly repeated at some point in the future.
It was too much fun to happen just once.