'Off The Map' on Maah Daah Hey Trail

The GearJunkie crew is heading “off the map” again this week to film episode No. 3 in our new video series. After trekking California’s Lost Coast in March and then a kayaking adventure to sea caves on Lake Superior, we’re pointing the car northwest to head for the Maah Daah Hey Trail in the Badlands of western North Dakota.

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Epic ride! Elevated pass on Maah Daah Hey

Sponsored by Yakima, our “Off The Map” video series explores obscure adventures around North America. The Maah Daah Hey, a little-traveled 97-mile track, certainly qualifies. In what’s a Martian-like landscape the old horse route dips and climbs on tacky bentonite clay over buttes, through open fields, and into a desert wilderness that’s about as remote as you can find in the lower 48s.

As a group, we have ridden the Maah Daah Hey a few times, including in 2006, where I covered the trail in a story for the New York Times. (Check out our “looking back” post on GearJunkie in 2007 for a flavor for what that epic experience involved!)

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Scenes from our 2006 ride, which we pushed through in about 30 hours despite 110-degree heat

Jason Magness, captain of Team GearJunkie/YogaSlackers, grew up in North Dakota, and he’s done the trail in summer and winter months. Magness, our cameraman and writer T.C. Worley, racer Andrei Karpov, and a few other GearJunkie people will be on the trip this week, where we’ll push through the trail in a two-day effort.

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Unlikely adventure: Trail found in western North Dakota

Word from locals we’ve talked to this week is that the trail is a bit washed out (non-existent in places) and the water pumps have yet to be turned on at campsites dotting the route. We’ll be drinking from streams and sleeping tent-less in the dirt, just how we like to roll! Stay tuned for a trip report and, in a month, a produced “Off The Map” video on the full Maah Daah Hey experience. Time to ride!

—Stephen Regenold is editor of GearJunkie.com. Connect with Regenold at Facebook.com/TheGearJunkie or on Twitter via @TheGearJunkie.

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