4x Snow Day …

“People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character.”

                                                                       – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Back on a cold and snowy November day … for some reason, which eludes me, I thought it to be a good idea to grab the fly rod and see if I could make the traverse over Long Gulch from the Prairie side over to the Middle Fork of the Boise River. Mother nature had been giving us a bit of a smack down early in our season with most of our ski areas already in operating status. The possibility of snow was recognized and like the saying “Don’t touch a hot stove” … one must go!

With coffee in hand I made my way out via Blacks Creek Road … the weather had actually warmed the last few days, so clear roads were mildly anticipated …

I suspect that a thousand years from now Archeologists will be trying to piece together the story of why we waged war against road signage!


Immediately upon Blacks Creek Road the surface evolved from wet to slush … like I said “mildly anticipated”


… and then to fresh tracks!


… there is a peace that comes over you as you start to break trail… the quiet calm that occurs when tires run over fresh snow. There were a set of tracks before me, but still plenty that I am able to make my own.

-“Fronty” glamour shot with the Owyhee foothills in the distance


-Across the valley


Over three Point Mountain and the snow gets deeper …


Blacks Creek Road is one of our popular summer dual sport through routes as it provides back road access all the way through to Ketchum or Hwy 21 and Stanley.

-Anyone want to ride … not today!


Further on down the road passes Willow Creek, another popular trailhead accessing the Danskin trail system and Fiddler Flat.

Look Ma, no bullet holes!


-Back on top


Obligatory view of the Arrowrock headwaters …







-Neil Bridge


-South Fork Boise Canyon



-Eat Mor Chikin’


-A single evergreen clinging to the edge


The South Fork Boise River Canyon is an approx.  14 mile long basalt crevice that is commonly regarded for world class fly fishing and whitewater rafting.

“The 101-mile-long (163 km)[2] South Fork rises in northern Camas County in the Smoky Mountains and Soldier Mountains of the Sawtooth National Forest north of Fairfield, 65 miles (105 km) east of Boise. It flows generally southwest, descending through a basalt canyon to fill the Anderson Ranch Reservoir, then turns northwest in central Elmore County. It joins the main stream as the southern arm of Arrowrock Reservoir, 20 miles (32 km) east of Boise”  (Wikipedia)


With this shot of the canyon in my rearview … I roll the direction of the Prairie Plateau and turn up Long Gulch. Not long after turning onto Long Gulch I reach the end of the maintained road and again start breaking trail up towards the Lava Mountain turnoff.


This is the point where I start to question my plan of pushing forward. The road is untracked and actually quite fun, but with 20 miles of snow covered road that also includes a few small valleys to pass through … and the small fact that I am alone … it seems prudent to backtrack.

The closest fishable water from here being Neil Bridge … back we go.


Back at Neil Bridge and just below the snow line … I spend the next hour or so swinging some flies. It has been quite awhile since I wet a line, so the fact that no fish were stirring was of no consequence … it felt good just to be outside, in the snow, the rain, with the only sound being the water passing by ….



Ketchum-Stanley Loop

Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”                                   – Miriam Beard

This past July, amongst the regions triple digit heat wave, an overnight loop through Ketchum and Stanley was planned. Being chased out of the Treasure Valley by the oppressive heat isn’t such a bad thing when your destination is the Stanley Valley that rests at a cool 7000′.

Our friend Travis had just purchased a new Triumph Adventure 1200 … and with only a few hundred miles on the clock, this would be a perfect break in trip!

The plan was simple …. we would meet Travis in East Boise, connect Hwy 20 through the Camas Prairie to Ketchum, up over Galena to Redfish Lake for the night, then take the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway (Hwy 21) back to Boise the next day.




This was our first two up overnight camping trip on the bike …. made easy by some custom made dry duffels strapped to our side boxes.

-Meet up


-New ride


-Eastward, Hwy 20


-Soldier Mountains


As we continued east, the temperature never really warmed up and with looming clouds hanging in our direction of travel, rain seemed a real possibility.


Hwy 20 runs fast and true splitting the scenic Soldier Mountains to the north and the Bennett Hills to the south. The air remains crisp, a welcome change against the recent bought of heat.

We make a quick stop in the ranching community of Fairfield to add a rain layer. We notice another ADV bike towing a trailer with a kayak. We visit a few minutes to find out this guy (sorry can’t recall his name) was from Reno and was on a loop that would take him up and through Montana … the trailer was of his own make with exceptional simplicity and clean welds.


We chat a bit longer and then all hit the road at the same time continuing east, and can report that the trailer did not slow him down ….



We’re paced into Ketchum by a KTM 450 Enduro …. Dude, you need some sweet OBR ADV Gear!


Lunch is found at the Wrap Shack in Ketchum along with a bit of warming sun before we head up Galena …


We point the bikes north along Hwy 75, skirting the edge of the impressive Boulder Mountains and up towards Galena Summit.





It wasn’t long before our luck ran short and the rain began to fall. Deployment of full rain gear made quick work of the atmospheric saturation.


-Galena Summit


Hwy 75 as it climbs up and over the 8000′ Galena Summit is full of curve and flow … under normal conditions a good scrubbing of the tires edge would be in order, but todays wet pavement lends a bit more caution.

The view from the summit into the Stanley Valley is as always an impressive sight.

A quick portrait before dropping down the hill.


We carefully make our way down the few twists and curves to the valley floor below.

As we hit the bottom the sky starts to clear presenting before us a pleasant ride into Redfish Lake.

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Once at Redfish, we locate our camp spot and quickly deploy our tents just in case more rain makes it’s way in.



With camp set we wander down to the Redfish Lake Lodge where we were lucky enough to score some comfy seating under the lodges front deck area.

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We enjoy the seating for a spell while frequenting the lodge bar for mixed refreshments and enjoying the lake view, then just as the dinner hour arrives, so does another round of rain clouds and resuming rain. We gravitate towards the outside grill for burger and fries to wait out the shower in our comfy chairs.

Bellies full and the rain ceased… we retreat back to camp ready for a campfire and a full full sky of summer stars.

We awake the next morning to an odd gloom … I poke my  head outside the tent to see thick fog restricting visibility to maybe 50 yds … a little concerned that our ride home might be of the foggy variety, we take our time getting up and breaking down camp.

Luckily it took only about an hour or so for the fog to fully lift and dissipate …


Travis’s dad was going to ride up from Boise Sunday morning and make the ride back with us. We were going to meet up in Stanley when we stop for fuel.

The sun is out and were off ….

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Hwy 75 as we ride through the Stanley Valley runs between the Sawtooth Mountain Range to the West and the White Cloud Mountain Range to the East. Each are equally impressive with their jagged rocky peaks and color contrast.

“The Sawtooth Range is a mountain range of the Rocky Mountains in central IdahoUnited States, reaching a maximum elevation of 10,751 feet (3,277 m) at the summit of Thompson Peak. It encompass an area of 678 square miles (1,756 km2) spanning parts of CusterBoiseBlaine, and Elmore counties, and is bordered to the east by the Sawtooth Valley. Much of the mountain range is within the Sawtooth Wilderness, part of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Sawtooth National Forest.” – Wikipedia

-Sawtooth National Forest 

-The Salmon River running through Stanley

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We make our connection in Stanley and get ready to ride the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway …

Idaho State Highway 21 is the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway,[2] primarily a two-lane highway from Boise to Stanley. With two-thirds of its length in Boise County, it passes by historic Idaho City and the village of Lowman to the western edge of the Sawtooth Mountains, then along their northern boundary to Stanley.

The road is designated as one of Idaho’s scenic byways and provides access to Sawtooth National Recreation Area from Boise and the Treasure Valley. It primarily follows the Boise River and its tributary Mores Creek to the Boise Basin and beyond, and then the upper South Fork of the Payette River and a tributary from Lowman to Banner Creek Summit. – Wikipedia

The Stanley Valley I believe has an impact on all who pass through … for me I always leave with the thought of when I might return …

-Over Banner

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We enjoy the road headed towards Lowman …

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Once we reach Lowman we have a couple of options … make a right through the South Fork Payette Canyon to Banks, or ride another fun section of road over Moores Creek Summit.

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… we choose the latter and make our way into Idaho City where we stop at the infamous Trudy’s Kitchen for lunch before the final stretch home.

Another quick trip enjoyed by all, Travis’s bike amply broke in, with anticipation of the next!