Photo Diary: Our First Bike Packing Adventure

This week we had an unexpected but marvelous adventure!  For awhile now we have been talking about wanting to try bike touring or bike packing, but we weren’t sure where we could try it out that would fit our criteria: A) an easy bike ride B) a safe place to leave our car and C) a nice place to camp.  Well, when we went to visit the San Pedro Riparian Conservation Area, we got to talking to the staff at the San Pedro House and they let us know that there was a primitive campsite that was accessible by biking or hiking on an easy four mile dirt road.  It only costs $2 for a back country permit.  We were sold on the idea as soon as we learned that we could leave our car in a parking lot that would be locked up over night and watched by volunteer caretakers.  Perfect!  Our first bike pack would be to the Miller Camp along the San Pedro River.


Sharon's bike packed and ready to roll!

birds on tree in san pedro conservation area

This area is special for all of the birds. As we rode along we would spook the birds filling the trees and the would take off flying over the grasslands.

miller camp

After a little confusion over whether or not we were on the right road and getting used to biking with a load, we arrived safe and sound in our primitive camp complete with outhouse and safe food storage.

miller camp

We had the whole place to ourselves and were spoiled for choice of tent locations

We toasted this new milestone with tequila shots as the sun set

We had even remembered to pack a couple of very sour limes!

These tequila shots were gifts in our Christmas stockings from Morgan and Cindi. Thanks!!

The sunset just kept getting better and was one of the most beautiful we have seen lately

I got up at sunrise like usual to take some photos, but it was so cold (at least 25 degrees) that I just went back to the tent to hide out until the sun reached our tent.

The sun was finally melting the frost and we were safe to crawl out of our tent

Jay warmed up over the stove as he heated water for coffee - (another stocking stuffer, thanks mom for the Via!)

I broke out another stocking stuffer, our hand warmers! Boy was it icy that morning.

Our camelbak hoses froze overnight, but luckily we had kept some water in the tent and the camelbaks thawed after an hour in the sun

I invented a great morning snack, warm applesauce! (Without some warming it would have been apple slushy)

Our camp was right next to the San Pedro River and we enjoyed watching some birds here before heading back. We were also told there were mountain lion tracks by the bank, but I couldn't find them.

We were only a day's bicyle ride from the Mexican border. This blimp looked down on us (and the border) and we wondered what kind of data it was collecting.

As we rode back the sky was filled with birds, including this group of hawks circling the area

We took the trail next to the river on the way back and were able to stop at two ponds to check out more birds

Like this heron

Jay's brakes squeal and kept scaring off the birds!

Ok, one more heron photo, just cause I managed to get this one of it flying (we watched it circle the whole area before landing at the other pond)

Finally, the home stretch

Back to San Pedro House

Did I mention there were a lot of birds?

Overall, the overnight bike packing adventure was a success!  We might try it again soon.



8 responses to “Photo Diary: Our First Bike Packing Adventure

  1. Beautiful sunset! What a great side trip indeed. Did you know there is a primative camp about 5 miles from the road in McDowell Mt Park. Never seems to be used much, and it is open most of the time.

  2. This sounds so fun!!!

  3. Glad you were successful on this adventure; love the pictures.

  4. Love these pictures. I have a question – what is the safe food storage place keeping your food safe from?

    • The food storage is a metal bin very similar to the trash containers in Banff or other areas that have bear trouble. There aren’t bear problems in this area, the biggest nuisance animal is probably the coati which looks sort of like a raccoon.

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