After a fast 10 mile run up Rd 582 the road departs from the creek side and starts to climb up towards Clear Creek Summit. The road bed switches from loose gravel to a more typical dry slick surface with meandering rain ruts and embedded rock. As I near the top I start to feel a loose sensation from the back of my bike ….. a quick glance at my rear tire confirms that it is indeed going flat. I’m nearing the top, so I ride the noodle the last 100 yards or so to the summit.
7050 feet –
Right when I hop off the bike and start breaking out my tools, another rider (not from our group) on a Triumph Tiger rolls up and asks if he can hang while we tackle the flat. Regrettably I can’t remember his name, super nice guy from Canada riding the IDBR. His goal for the day was Burgdorf Hot Springs, so he picked our brains for some local knowledge on the route.
I was thankful that he chose to stop. I discovered during my road side tire service that I had neglected to include a 13mm wrench for my bead lock and neither John V nor John E had one either. Our Canadian friend had a full kit including a 13mm …. and he even broke out his electric air pump! …. I like those Canadians!
We immediately identified the flat tire culprit …. a brand spanking new framing nail! …. of all places to pick up a framing nail?
We pulled the wheel, using my trail stand for the first time (worked great suspending the rear of the bike while the rear wheel was removed) and made short work of swapping out a new tube. I will make sure to add in a 13mm to my OBR ADV Gear Tool Roll!
Tube exchanged and wheel back on … we extended our thanks to our new friend for his assistance and parted ways.
Just over the summit the road drops into a high meadow we refer to as Bear Valley. Passing through the meadow in the spring right after the thaw you’ll find yourself amongst vast wild flowers …. this time of year, early Fall, the surroundings are just as impressive, but with just a bit less color.
Bear Valley has quite a history … the area was used extensively for sheep and cattle grazing with buildings still present within some of the large meadows that skirt the valley. The situation at the time required the local Forest Rangers to mediate between competing ranch outfits using the area for summer grazing. Beyond the grazing there was also a large mining presence during the early Cold War. Evidently the area contains a rare radioactive mineral essential to the strategic defense systems of the day. Heavy dredging took place from 1958-1959. In an effort to restore Salmon/Steelhead spawning beds, an extensive rehabilitation project was completed that returned the meadow landscape and the Salmon/Steelhead runs.
We continue along Rd 582 skirting the south edge of Bear Valley Creek passing through Bruce Meadows. Note – For you pilots out there, Bruce Meadows has one of Idaho’s many back country landing strips.
… and then reconnect to Hwy 21
… to be continued