HIGH DESERT OVERLANDING – FALL CLASSIC 2016
Editor: E. Bewley Photos: M. Verley, J. Alonzo
Bend, OR – A great long-weekend was had by all that attended this year’s Fall Classic. This year’s diverse group of trail riders and overlanders was rewarded with a broad cross section of what central Oregon has to offer. Driving took a back seat this year as more focus was spent on hiking the natural surroundings. With very mild weather and mostly clear skies, many of the area’s points of interest were explored.
For many years now the Fall Classic has provided a relaxing weekend to brave souls who dare to tent camp in what can, at times, be a challenging high-desert experience. The structured nature of this event has been waning for many years now and instead of timetables and wagon train tour guide type wheeling, it’s turned into a very informal and enjoyable gathering where some come early, stay late, and anything in between. There are very few “rules” other than tent or exploration vehicle camping, a good sense of humor and a healthy exploration mindset.
The Friday night stew pot-luck and raffle was a great success. Thanks to Low Range Off Road, Sky’s Offroad Design, Trail Tough, and others for continuing to support Zukiworld and giving us the ability to give out some comfy and warm apparel to the participants.
This year the group got the chance to do some really fun hikes into the “Crack in the Ground” and the “Arnold Ice Cave” both of these are special in their own right. Arnold Ice Cave has been a target of the group for several years but the entrance has been iced over and the cave inaccessible until recently. This plus the increased environmental group pressures being put on all things recreational made it a great year to take advantage of the opening and explore the cave while it is still available for exploration.
Everyone that explored the cave found it to be awesome! Several tight squeezes, large rooms, and interesting flows and features make this cave one of the best in the area to explore.
Oh yeah, the wheeling and campfires were excellent too! We had a chance to do several different types of trails, the sand dunes at Christmas Valley were the best we’ve seen in years and the abandoned / closed radar installation, which is now a solar farm, was also interesting in it’s own way.
Here is a video from Matt Verley summing up the adventure. Mark your calendars for next year and come on out to camp MorningWood for a real good time. The Fall Classic is always held the weekend before Thankgiving (US). Hope to see you there…
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