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Climbing the Ladder: A Recap of the Chequamegon Dead Horse

Photo Credit: Joshua Stamper
What a treat to open my inbox and find this wonderful story from Dallas Wynne on the Chequamegon Dead Horse. Thanks Dallas! Keep 'em coming!

by Dallas Wynne

As we travel through life it seems that some are happy to enjoy predictable experiences with predictable outcomes, while others continuously pursue the next great challenge. For cyclists that have ventured beyond the paved path to the local coffee shop, the need to go farther can become a constant call. Once you have experienced adventure cycling, the natural progression is to find the next distance or challenge.
This weekend the Chequamegon Dead Horse in Seeley, WI was the next rung on the ladder. The double metric would take into the wilderness of northern Wisconsin on atv trails and fire roads while carrying everything on our bike.
Our group departed the OO trailhead on at 7:30 am on a beautiful sunny 60 degree morning. The miles began passing quickly as we rode through the rolling fire roads near the trail that hosts the Birkebeiner Ski race, and on farther east into the Chequamegon State Forest. By midday we stopped in Clam Falls to fill water and acquire any last minute supplies. We turned south and began the muddy slog through the Dead Horse ORV trails and remote fire roads to reach our camping destination by 6 pm with 70 miles completed. Our secluded camping spot along the river was an amazing location to share stories and dinner around a fire before good night sleep under a full moon.
The morning of day 2 began much like day 1, after coffee and a quick breakfast we were packed and on the road. At 9:00 Sunday morning we stopped at a bar in Loretta, WI for second breakfast, and water which are both equally important to a long day in the saddle. Now we were traveling west through logging country and by noon we only we had only 35 miles left. Near that point we turned on to Venison Creek Road. After a quarter mile of climbing over and under downed trees we reached a dead end in the trail at the bank of a creek. We briefly discussed our options and decided to carry bikes over the river, and push onward in hope of finding the other end of the trail. The minutes that passed as we walked our bikes in search of the trail was the very heart of our purpose for being here. We were off the map and no one knew what would happen next. ADVENTURE! Far too quickly we we found the other half of our trail and completed the ride back to the cars to finish with 65 miles on the day. I had taken this ride to gain confidence at bikepacking, but what I learned is that adventure could be waiting around the next curve in the road and I plan to follow.

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