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Courtois section Bass to Harmon Spring

PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2016 10:20 pm
by Big Jim Mac
Found a couple of days to do a long-awaited bike camping trip, this time from Bass Resort to Harmon Spring spur. This is a really nice section of the OT. You do have to be careful and watch the signs. I made 2 wrong turns, the first right after getting on the trail from the gravel road section and again after crossing a small creek. When you are hiking this wouldn't be that much of an issue but on a bike you are moving faster and watching the trail.

I really appreciate the reassurance markers but would love to see some that say "Not the OT, turn around."

The trail was in mostly great shape save for any section that gets sunlight, the weeds are just starting to kick up. Water was in short supply after I passed the Courtois Creek area, and of course I didn't need water then. I was doing pretty good until I set up camp about a mile short of the Harmon Spring spur. But after reconstituting a couple of dehydrated meals I could tell I was going to run out pretty quick the next day. (Great camping spot, look for a logging road branching off to the north. It was 9.47 miles by my Garmin from Bass.)

I figured I was close to Harmon Spring pond so the next morning I broke camp and hit the trail without even eating--no coffee for me, a first! I found the spur almost impassable. Weeds are so high I gave up trying to get to the pond. From what I could see, the surface was covered with algae anyway. I could have pumped from the little creek coming out of the pond that the trail crosses but opted instead to push on to the clearer water of the Courtois. I could have gone a few miles to Brazil Creek or the Artesian Well but didn't want to add more miles. I ended up pumping water from the little creek flowing into the Courtois that the trail crosses. Everything else was dry. I took the last sip from pack just as I reached the creek.

I geared up this year with a handlebar harness and sweet roll, frame pack and seat bag from Revelate Designs I also carried an Osprey talon pack with a 3 liter water bladder, food, sandals for camp, etc. I used the sweet roll to hold a Warbonnet Blackbird hammock, tarp from Eno and a Yeti under quilt from Warbonnet Outdoors In the seat pack I put one extra short liner, a change of clothes for camp and my top quilt from Mid-Atlantic Mountain Works In the frame pack I had my Jetfoil stove, titanium cup, Katadyn water purifier and some Cliff bars. THere's a pouch hanging from the handlebar harness and this got extra tools, knife, map and my well-used copy of Hemingway's Nick Adams stories, I take that on every camping trip.

I used up pretty much all of the space I had, could have squeezed a water bottle or two into the seat bag I guess. I ordered 2 feed bags from Revelate but those didn't arrive in time for this trip. Next time they will carry two bottles of Gatorade and some trail mix.

Can't say I noticed the extra weight but then my bike (a Yeti ARC) is pretty light to begin with, about 23 pounds. I had to be careful on climbs when I didn't have much momentum as the weight on the handlebars gave the front wheel a life of its own. Otherwise this is a great setup and a huge improvement over the rack and dry sack I used the last time I did some bike camping on the OT.

I've now done the Courtois all the way to Berryman. My plan is to keep riding all of the sections that are open to bikes. But I think I will wait until fall to go again!

Joan of ARC.jpg
My Yeti ARC, aka Joan of ARC, decked out in Revelate Design bags
Joan of ARC.jpg (116.21 KiB) Viewed 1252 times

Campsite about 9.5 miles from Bass Resort
Campsite.jpg (110.42 KiB) Viewed 1252 times

My preferred way to camp on the OT, Warbonnet Blackbird hammock
Hammock.jpg (103.28 KiB) Viewed 1252 times

Re: Courtois section Bass to Harmon Spring

PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 12:25 pm
by Ahavah
Hello, and great post! I'm no biker (not the pedal kind, anyway), but I appreciate learning about the gear you use. Pics are great too!

How does that Blackbird do with MO bugs? I'm horrible with all bugs stinging & biting, so I've actually been eyeballing the Hennessy Deep Jungle Asym, but the Blackbird is my second choice and a good deal cheaper. Would you recommend it? Thanks!

Re: Courtois section Bass to Harmon Spring

PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 1:11 pm
by Big Jim Mac
No issues with bugs, and they were certainly out in force on this trip. I could hear the mosquitoes buzzing but nothing got in. I do have the double layer model, figured this would keep them from biting through it but I actually think the material is too tough anyway. Also this campsite was overrun by big black ants, they crawled all over the bug net but none got inside.

The real advantage to the Warbonnet is its asymmetrical design that lets you lay diagonally. I alway wanted one of the Clark jungle hammocks but have read that you hang like a banana in these with your shoulders scrunched together.

Mine also came with a winter cover you zip on in place of the bug net. This was its first test, prior to that I camped all over with a hammock I made myself. But my sons have these and I've used them a time or two. Really nothing better.

You will find a lot more info on

Re: Courtois section Bass to Harmon Spring

PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 2:30 pm
by Ahavah
Thanks so much! I'm new to hammock camping, so I appreciate the inside input. I think I'll go with the Blackbird after all. I'll check out that site too, though I may just read around. I'm actually trying to cut back on my forum/internet usage. :)