Dead Wolf | U24O Bikepacking Adventure

Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Arkel Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacke

My next U24O I decided to head towards central Newfoundland to another area that I visited many years ago – Dead Wolf Pond. Looking at on-line maps I estimated an in-out round trip of about 70 km with four access points to the water. Printing the map and jotting down a few key notes I started planning the trip.


NOTE: Be sure to also check out Fat Bike Bikepacking - Dead Wolf U24O video adventure.

Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

On a sunny day in early September I headed out the Trans Canada Highway on a three-hour drive to the “trail head” - Mint Brook Resource Road - which is a well groomed gravel road used by loggers and cabin owners. 


Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker Mint Brook

Parking my Jeep in a small gravel pit, I loaded up the Sasquatch and headed out for Dead Wolf around mid-morning. The early September weather of blue skies, warm temperatures and a slight breeze meant that the riding would be good.

Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

Settling in for a gravel grind, I took in the scenery and wildlife as I pedaled to my first set of waypoints - Mile 8 Resource Road and Mile 10 Resource Road. 

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By the time I hit North Pond I was a little hungry so I stopped for lunch. Eating my sandwich, I returned waves to several trucks and ATVs that seemed a little curious to why someone was riding a bicycle loaded down with camping gear.

Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

Getting back on the road I passed Strawberry Resource Road (which surprisingly was not on my map) and Pine Brook Resource Road. 

Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

I then hit a huge fork in the road that also did not show on my printed map. Riverhead Resource Road peeled off to the left and part of me wondered if that was the way to Dead Wolf. Channeling my inner Wallace and Hubbard I turned left and started peddling to see if any of the curves in the road would match up with the map. After a few km’s I ran into a guy driving a black Nissan Titan who stopped to chat. I mentioned that I was heading to Dead Wolf and he said I had to go back to the main road, drive until I see a bus, take that left and ride until I see the sign Dead Wolf Resource Road.

Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

Getting my bearings I grabbed and drained my second water bottle. I’m normally not a heavy drinker, but the warm temperatures and dusty road caused me to drain one water bottle already. At that time I did not realize how important hydration would be on this trip. 


Crossing a small bridge and passing a pair of baby blue buses, the road became lined with extra tall deciduous trees which provided some much appreciated shade.


Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

Off in the distance I noticed a small dark mound in the middle of the road. Stopping the bike I could see that a wild animal had made a deposit. I knew that it was not rabbit or moose droppings . . . so there was a high probability it was bear scat. Needless to say I kept a little more watchful eye on the road and trees as I continued my ride.


Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

Some time later I found the bus located on the fork in the road with signage clearly indicating that taking the right fork would bring me to Rodney Pond - a future trip. Taking a short break I surveyed the makeshift cabin, tightened up all the straps and cords holding my gear and continued inland.



Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

It wasn’t long before I happened across a crowd of people on ATVs. Stopping to chat I discovered that they had been out for the entire day on an extended ride, which included a trail side boil-up. I fielded the typical fat bike questions from the group and confirmed that the bike is not hard to pedal. Wishing them safe travels and draining my third water bottle . . . I hit the trail once again for Dead Wolf.



Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

It wasn’t long before I saw another fork way off in the distance . . . Dead Wolf Resource Road. However, when I pulled out my map something did not seem right as the sign told me to turn left, but the map indicated that I should go straight. What do I do . . . follow the trail signage or follow a map that has already been less than 100% accurate. I turned left.



Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

It was well into the afternoon and I was getting a little tired. I had been peddling for some time and Strava had me clocked at slightly over 35 km. While I had been snacking along the way my tank was reaching empty and my legs were feeling the burn . . . and I had no idea how far I needed to travel to get to my final destination. Digging a little deeper and draining more water I continued pedaling.



Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

Glancing at the map there were no similarities between the actual road and the map. I got a sinking feeling I was off trail and needed a backup plan in case I did not make Dead Wolf. I found my Plan B as I passed a collection of cabins near a river. If I did not find Dead Wolf in the next 45-60 minutes I would turn around to this fallback position.



Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

About 15 minutes later I saw a cloud of dust coming towards me . . . it was an older couple on a quad. When they stopped and introduced themselves they said they were out picking blueberries and had a cabin in the area. Pulling out my map I pointed to where I hoped I was, however the man pointed to a completely different point on the map. He explained that the section of the map I wanted to travel had grown over and I was now on the “new” road. He said that Dead Wolf was just off in the distance at the base of the hill just past a fork in the road. I would see the fork in about 10 km and would have to turn right.



Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

He thought there was an old ATV trail that would give lake access. If not grown over it would be found just before two cabins in a gravel pit. I thanked him and his wife for the information, and before I pulled away he gave me directions to his cabin in case I needed anything on the way out. Nice folks. 



Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

I seriously wondered if my legs had another 10 km in them. Every slight hill became a chore while every downhill was a blessing. Unfortunately the next 10 kms proved to be a whole bunch of chores. I drained even more water from my dwindling supply.



Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

Climbing what I did not know was the last hill, I found the fork in road and stopped for a nano second before I turned the bars to the right. 



Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

Having stared at the map way to often I recognized the body of water off in the distance as Dead Wolf.


Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

Scanning the side of the road for an ATV trail, I knew that I would not be getting to the lake as I passed the two cabins.


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As the sun started to dip I found a large flat area that was littered with pieces of trees and branches. I figured it must have been a place where logs were collected before being trucked out the road. With lots of fuel for an evening fire and a raised section in the back with two perfect trees to hang a hammock . . . I decided to make this my camp for the night.



Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

Off loading the bags I decided to continue in the road for another 15 minutes or so in search of a stream or pond to top up my water supply using a Sawyer Squeeze. With no water in sight and the lake at least a km through thick woods, I was going to have to seriously ration my remaining H2O. I was a little concerned.


Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

When I got back to camp I set up the hammock on my perch and gathered rocks for a fire pit.



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While collecting wood I noticed an abundance of blueberries and raspberries just off the main trail. As I had to conserve my water for the ride back, berries would give me much needed nourishment and hydration. My evening meal consisted of canned salmon and a huge bowl of mixed berries. No cooking for me tonight.


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Before it got dark I ensured that I had plenty of wood for the fire and had a comfortable seat from which to enjoy it.



Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

As the darkness set in, I settled down in front of the fire with an adult beverage - Prairie Organic Vodka and Kiju Organic Orange Juice. It was very peaceful and the lack of mosquitoes allowed me to wind down from the day’s excursion – unlike my trip to Clam Cove.


Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

I checked Strava to see exactly how far I traveled and was surprised to see that it was almost 60 km.



Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

Stashing my remaining food near a tree on the other side of the trail - some 200 feet away - I climbed into my hammock with flashlight and bear spray close at hand. I drifted off rather quickly. While the flapping tarp woke me several time throughout the night, I did get some much needed rest for my weary legs.


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I awoke to the distant sound of birds as the sun started to rise. It was going to be another fine day.



Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

Not having water to spare for breakfast (oatmeal and tea) I opted for a couple of granola bars and another huge bowl of berries - boy did they taste good. I was cautiously optimistic that my remaining 1/2 bottle of water would be enough to make it out.


Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

Packing up early, I wanted to get a head start before the sun got high in the sky. Maybe half a kilometer from camp I discovered more bear scat on the road. I thanked my lucky stars that he/she did not amble in the road and find me snoring in the trees during the night. That would have been really unpleasant.


Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

Nursing my last remaining water I passed the turnoffs and checkpoints I found the previous day. As I pedaled it continued to get warmer and the bike got heavier as the mile markers ticked by.



Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker


Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

I was about 15 km from the Jeep when I decided to ditch my camping gear in the woods - if I was lighter I could travel faster. And when I got to the Jeep I could drive in and pick up the stashed gear. 



Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

After storing the bags behind a large bank of dirt, I made good time out to the Jeep with just a little water to spare.


Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

Checking my phone I saw that the trip was almost 110 km !


Fat Bike Bikepacking Adventure U24O Adventure Riding Norco Sasquatch Dead Wolf Pond Newfoundland Fatbike Republic Fat Bike Arkel Rollpacker

I loaded up the bike and rehydrated with water I had left in the vehicle. It was a quick jaunt in the road to pick up my gear and then hop on the TCH to head back home.

Driving back the highway I realized that if I had not found the berries, my situation could have been quite serious. While water is heavy, on future rides I should carry more and/or make a point of filling up when I can.


Secondly, I need more reliable mapping data. The scale of the paper map did not give me the detail I needed to make reliable decisions on the trail.  I need to fix that before my next trip.

With another U24O under my belt it was time to plan my next one.

RIDE FAT!

And the video portion of the adventure!





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