Two Track into Loon Creek – Part 7 … Back to the truck

After finally reaching Sunbeam I find myself on a stretch of Hwy 75. This particular section of Hwy 75 I find quite enjoyable as it twists and turns continually for the next 10 miles making it’s way towards Stanley while scrubbing my tires side knobs of any residual soil from the past miles of dirt.

Hwy 75, Stanley

Hwy 75, Stanley

After a few miles the Sawtooth Mountains start to come into view …

Hwy 75, Stanley

Information on the Salmon River Scenic Byway, which I find my self traveling along ….

Hwy 75, Stanley

Hwy 75, Stanley

Entering Lower Stanley … my map indicates a potential bypass around Stanley that I have yet to travel over. The Road (633) is not clearly marked and I actually ride right past it the first time, but a few parked cars prompt me to reverse direction and jump back onto the dirt track.

Stanley, Sawtooth Mountains

The track winds it’s way around Stanley and regains elevation. It crests a pass with the Sawtooth Mountains coming back into view along it’s southern edge …

Stanley, Sawtooth Mountains

Pano –

Stanley, Sawtooth Mountains

Stanley, Sawtooth Mountains

Stanley, Sawtooth Mountains

With recent fires it is nice to finally have reasonably clean air providing a view …

Stanley, Sawtooth Mountains

Never have traveled this short section of road is proof that your next adventure might just be one road away. Passing a section of Hwy 21 that I have traveled over dozens of times to only reveal fresh views just a mile or so off the main Hwy proves that sometimes it might be worth slowing down every once in a while taking the road less traveled.

Stanley, Sawtooth Mountains

Stanley, Sawtooth Mountains

Old homestead …

Stanley, Sawtooth Mountains

Rd 633 finally winds it’s way around reconnecting with Hwy 21 … with the day getting long I put the final few miles of pavement behind me concluding one more daily adventure ….

Stanley, Sawtooth Mountains

Speed limit 65 ūüôā

Two Track into Loon Creek – Part 5 …. Loon Creek Summit

Just past the bridge is the main population base …. Loon Creek Guard Station and the Diamond D Ranch. The Diamond D is an all inclusive guest ranch with all the amenities required as a getaway from the 9 to 5.

Up the road-

Pinyon Peak, Loon Creek

Diamond D-

Diamond D Ranch

Loon Creek Guard Station-

Loon Creek Guard Station

The run out-

Pinyon Peak, Loon Creek

The road runs hard and fast along Mayfield Creek before veering up and south towards Loon Creek Summit.

Pinyon Peak, Loon Creek

Pinyon Peak, Loon Creek

Down Stream-

Pinyon Peak, Loon Creek

Before the summit-

Pinyon Peak, Loon Creek, OBR ADV Gear

Pinyon Peak, Loon Creek

The road tops out at 8600 ft. A wide area allows for multiple vantage points back into Loon Creek and the Frank Church. The minerals within the surrounding mountains present an impressive mosaic of colors that are difficult to capture with the cameras lens.

Pinyon Peak, Loon Creek Summit

Pinyon Peak, Loon Creek Summit

Pinyon Peak, Loon Creek Summit

Pinyon Peak, Loon Creek Summit

Pinyon Peak, Loon Creek Summit

Next stop Sunbeam –

 

April Extreme – Following the Pioneers

There are many paths through the Ring of Life. They are a constant movement toward self-fulfillment through growth of your mind.‚ÄĚ

– Frosty Wooldridge, Golden, Colorado

With a mild Spring and the urge to ride becoming more persistent, my friend John E sent out a txt …. “weather looks good, we should ride Immigrant Rd and Prairie“.¬† The route we had in mind was attempted about a month prior, but rains helped to maintain the roads in a slimy muddy condition that forced a postponement. However with sun in our forecast … this weekend we shall not be denied!

The first part of our days route will actually be following a section of the old Oregon Trail otherwise known today as the Oregon Trail Back Country Byway. As the Oregon Trail extended northwest from the Snake River plain, it followed along the foothills of the Danskin Mountains on what we know today as Foothills Rd passing through old stage stops and Mayfield pointing towards Boise.

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While our equipment¬†is not quite as primitive as from the day …. the remoteness of the route still reflects the solitude that must have been felt along this section of trail.

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Fueled up I point the DRZ towards John E’s house. The air is cool and perfect allowing the Z to properly atomize the on board fuel translating into flawless forward propulsion. I connect with John E and we head onto another staging¬†point where we¬†meet up with another friend of Johns … Mike who will also be joining us on this loop. John E and Mike typically ride mid week taking advantage of less congested roads, but they make an exception this weekend to accommodate my 9-5 schedule. We’ll refer to Mike as Honda Mike in this write up due to the 650 XR that Mike was saddled up on this day!

John E and the Mighty 690!

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We start our journey down Hubbard Lane …. a snake like country road that¬†consists of nice flow. John E and Honda Mike, both being on 600 plus cc fire breathers wick up the pace leaving my mortal 400 to play catch up!

After Hubbard we point our fenders east along Kuna/Mora Rd with Backs Creek positioned right along the tip of our visors.

More flow-

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John E and Honda Mike stop to let their beasts take a breather. They’ve been twisting it hard enough on the last stretch that we need to let some of the atomized air molecules catch up! … We reconnect along the Blacks Creek turnoff. At this point we are officially on the byway beginning as Slater Flat Rd, Foothills Rd, eventually connecting with Immigrant Rd.

Fresh knobbies were indeed harmed in the making of this ride!

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Redneck target practice-

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Mileage for this day is a little bit unknown. My DRZ will reliably get 160-175 miles out of my Clarke 3.6. I can extend another 50 miles with my Rotopax that is carried on my rear rack, and about another 20-25 miles from a couple of fuel bottles carried over my tank in my OBR ADV Gear Fuel Bottle Wraps.  A 250 mile range should be good for today.

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Foothills Rd flows smooth and fast over dragons backs and around hidden curves. The surface consists of hard dry pack with sections of loose gravel (that can turn to impassable mud if it is raining). Attention is a must if one is to avoid overshooting a turn.

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Foothills Green with prehistoric stone-

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Big Sky- John E and Honda Mike

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Over yonder-

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The Byway-

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Foothills Rd continues it’s south easterly path skirting the sage brush edge and the transition up into the Danskin Mountains first passing by the old ruins of Mayfield.

Old Homestead-

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Creek side-

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First point of interest would be Inscription Rock. Travelers of the Oregon Tail would lay over in the immediate draw. When boredom would win over few would write their initials on the rock using wagon grease.

Pioneer graffito-

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Moving on-

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Dust monkeys-

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Foothills Rd eventually bumps into Rd 167 (seen extending up into the hills in this shot) which climbs up towards Danskin Peak Lookout and connects to a few trailheads.

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Over the horizon-

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Yonder getting closer-

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Speeds naturally pick up through this section spreading out the group a bit, which is good as it allows a few moments for the drifting dust to clear out.

As the road continues its meandering path we crest over a rise only to quickly drop into a little creek side oasis known as Canyon Creek. This was another known¬†lay over point for wary trail travelers with an actual stage stop being built¬†sometime around the latter 1800’s.

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Just past Canyon Creek the road splits and we jump onto Immigrant Rd to the east.

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Over the pass-

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The valley from which we came-

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Over the hill to Hwy 20, our next stop-

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Once on Hwy 20, we make a 5-6 mile run to Prairie Rd otherwise known as Cow Creek Rd. Cow Creek Rd is subject to winter closures, but with our recent stretch of good weather it should be open.

Bennett Mountain-

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Cow Creek is a nice transition road that eventually drops you down into the South Fork of the Boise River, but not before displaying still green mountain tops with a contrast of snow.

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Cow Creek Bridge-

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We point our bikes north and run along the river for a few miles before¬†Rd 131¬†starts it’s ascent away from the waters edge and out of the canyon.

This stretch of the South Fork of the Boise below the Anderson Ranch Dam is a very popular stretch if you are keen on fly fishing. It is for the most part a catch and release section with monster trout if your so lucky to hook into one.

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That’s a view-

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Out of the canyon, we are now running over the Prairie Plateau.

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Next stop Y Stop-

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Our next planned rally point is to be the Y Stop, a local store/cafe’. From there we will grab some lunch and seek out local intel on snow conditions and whether or not we might be able to make it over Long Gulch to the Middle Fork.

Reports or in our favor …

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Long Gulch runs about 20 miles to the North out of Prairie. The road winds over a couple of passes (hence the snow intel) and through a few valleys. There is a mixture of open range land and recovering timber corridors from past fires. This particular stretch of road is really nice in the Fall once the Aspen trees change color.

-Re-group

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-Pressing on through one of those valleys

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-Honda Mike

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-John E

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Honda Mike takes point as John E and I leap frog each other on our way to the Middle Fork ….

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-John E stunting it up across the Long Gulch/Middle Fork Bridge

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From here we continue our run west towards Arrowrock Reservoir passing by¬† what ends up being the hords of lake sheep clustered together like cattle at a feed trough. BLM patrols … Boats and Jet Ski’s racing in every which direction as a simple reminder of why we enjoy dual sporting like we do … to escape¬†such chaos!

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The day is running long. We make Hwy 21 and promptly point our rides towards Boise. My mileage registers approx. 170 miles … I make note of this as my bike sputters to a stop before I can activate my reserve. No worries though … my 1 gal Rotopax sits in reserve on my rear rack.

-Top side of Arrowrock

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-Bottom side image from a previous ride

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…. and so comes the time at the conclusion of each ride where we split off on our own separate ways until the next ride!

 

Goat Lake (2014)…

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.‚ÄĚ

                                                                                                      РMark Twain

So a couple weeks back I receive a message from my friend Jason. Jason is planning a multi day trip at the end of August and was wanting to recon the area around Ross Fork Basin for a possible route from Smiley Creek.

Of course I’m in for this, so Yeah lets go. Next question, single long day or as an overnight? …. my vote is overnight!

I’ve been wanting to explore up into the Ross Fork for a while, and now is my chance. I have mulled it over on the map multiple times wondering what might be at the end of these roads that wander up into the southern tip of the Sawtooth’s. The weekend was set!

As the date drew near, Jason started sending route options. Our plan was to bee line it up into Ross Fork to a little puddle called Goat Lake. We would then drop our gear and explore some of the surrounding trails as short cut possibilities for his up coming dual sport trip.

Route selected ….

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Our chosen route would depart through southeast Boise taking the old Oregon Trail over to Blacks Creek Road. From there we would run Blacks Creek up to Prairie, then Meadow Creek Road (128) over House Mountain to Fall Creek Road (129), down to Lester Creek Road and to Pine where we would need to take on fuel.

From Pine we would continue through Featherville and along Baumgartner Road (227) to an area I refer to as Big Smoky. We would then head north on (012) following the S Fork Boise River towards Ross Fork Basin and our eventual destination approx. 140 miles from home.

Departing Boise along the Oregon Trail ….

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Jason and I decided to stretch out a bit in order to mitigate dust inhalation. I would run behind Jason 5-10 minutes most of the trip, which worked out well. (Jason’s con trail off in the distance)

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We agreed on preselected meeting points along the way so if any issues presented themselves we wouldn’t separate so far preventing assistance.

First stop … Bonneville Point

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A quick stop with only enough time to snap a few pics, we’re eager to ride, so Jason departs. We’ll have a few miles of pavement before we jump onto the dirt of Blacks Creek Road. The air is still cool and the ride is nice …

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Y Stop Store will be out next meet up …

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Along the way there is an overlook down on the S Fork headwaters of Arrowrock. I stop here at this point almost every time I pass, so I kind of feel obligated. Our air is filled with a smokey haze propagated by regional wildfires … hopefully they won’t last and we’ll get our air quality back!

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Another familiar spot along the S Fork Boise River canyon …. this particular point really details how the earth appears to have just cracked open.

Looking back from where we came in….

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…and looking forward

We will peel away from the river at this point and climb up to the plateau referred to as Prairie.

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Jason and I make our first meet up point at the Y Stop Store. We take a break, drink a pop, and play fetch with a local pup.

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After our break we point the bikes east through Prairie towards House Mountain. Fall Creek Road will meet us on the opposite side, connecting Lester Creek Road into Pine.

Making our run towards House Mountain, backside of Prairie …. looking forward.

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Looking back ….

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Near the pass on House Mountain … the faint strip centered in the pic was our route out of Prairie. The Danskin Mountains in the background.

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As we crest the pass and start our decent into Fall Creek we clearly see the aftermath left behind by a previous years wildfire.

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Even though a lot of these fires are natural caused (I can’t recall the cause on this fire) … it is still a hard pill to swallow since this area was once lush forest. The effects of the fire run almost all the way into Pine. It was nice to see that they were at least harvesting the usable timber along Fall Creek Road …. whether or not this was facilitated by the Forest Service or private land owners, I don’t know?

Fall Creek Road / 129 Junction, North would take us up into the Trinities, but today the road takes us southeast to our next meetup point, Lester Creek Road.

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Lester Creek Guard Station …. no one was home.

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After encountering a few ATV’s along Lester Creek… man they can kick up the dust! … we arrive in Pine. Pine is our last fuel opportunity before Ross Fork, so we stop. It is noticeably warmer making our return to the road a priority …. after Jason stopped drooling over a 1190 KTM sitting in que! :D

After passing through Featherville, another small community about 10 miles up the road, we head east along the South Fork Boise
River ….

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Jason and I make our next meet up at the Big Smoky junction. We stop to stretch our legs before heading north up Rd 012. The last section along Baumgartner Rd was nice, but we both commented that it sure seemed longer than anticipated …

After some good ole PB&J …. we head north into Ross Fork!

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We turn our direction north up road 012 over the 6000′ Fleck Summit.

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Our destination will actually be Bear Creek Road which will ultimately deliver us to Goat Lake ….

West off Fleck Summit ….

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North off Fleck Summit, our direction towards Goat Lake…

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Invisible Bike, Idaho Country! :clap … no potatoes up here! :evil

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Once over Fleck Summit the road turns to 079, we continue on for a few miles until we reach an intersection ….

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Right is the continuation of 079 and concludes in Ross Fork Basin. This would not be our destination this trip, but will be our excuse to come back and continue our exploration!

Left is Bear Creek, 080. Bear Creek is pretty much an old mining road. We follow 080 up for 5-6ish miles keeping an eye out for an ATV trail turning off to the right.

The ATV trail appears and makes a steady advance up the mountain side!

Goat Lake is up top there …. somewhere

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The ATV trail resides itself to being a mix of loose rock included with a respectable grade. The bikes do there work and motor up with little difficulty so long as their pilots are able to maintain balance and direction. My only concerns would be the lack of fan on my DRZ and the constant 1st gear grinding as we head for the top. The DRZ did well only spilling a touch off coolant right when we reached our upper destination. Jason’s 500 KTM never missed a beat and flaunted it’s cooling fan every time we made a stop.

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We arrive at the final stretch, approx. a mile of single track that will deliver us to the lake. A couple of UTV’s are parked at the trailhead, which was no surprise as Goat Lake appeared within some fishing discussion forums during my previous google searches.

….. the single track was a welcome change from the loose and rocky obstacle course of the ATV track. Both Jason and I are anxious to achieve our destination, which we know to be a short mile away.

The first quarter mile or so is fairly benign, a nice “flowy” trail bed with a few rocks and a couple of smooth switchbacks. I soon start to revel in the thought that the lake is near …. at about the time the mountain decides that we have yet to meet our rock quota, the trail bed transitions into basically a rocky creek bed… which for all purposes the bikes handled with ease. As we clear what were hoping to be the final section I look up to see Jason negotiating yet another switch back set, but this time he has stalled his bike indicating more rocky pleasure in my near future.

I stop at one of the below switch backs at about which time we hear a yell from above …. my first thought is of “Oh shit…. we’re not suppose to be in here” …. I hear the yell a couple more times and then Jason relays down to me that we are being told that the trail gets better above. :clap A series of recently cut deadfall was also an indicator of motorized access … not many hikers are going to pack in a chainsaw to clear trail.

We continue up through all the rocky goodness to meet two hikers on the way up and three coming down … we wave, give out thanks, and push on to the end ….

About a 100 yds past were we met the hikers we reach our destination … Goat Lake.

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Both Jason and I are in awe as the lake comes into view … my first thought is that of disbelief that we are still allowed to actually ride to a destination such as this, but that feeling quickly turns to appreciation along with a stark reminder that responsible use of these trails is the only thing that will keep these trails open.

At lakes edge ….

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As we rolled up to the lake we realized that we were not alone…. there were about six or so horses tied off. The riders were enjoying the view from the waters edge just behind some bushes. We wander over to say a quick hello and receive a friendly greeting back. We learned a bit about the area as they are frequent visitors, one of the riders actually trail rides on a bike a bit as well. I inquired if the had knowledge of some of the trails accessing Smiley Creek (Emma, Vienna, Etc) and their condition compared to what we had just rode up …. his response was that they were very similar with possibly a bit more technical in spots. This pretty much answered Jason’s question on whether or not to route through these parts during his up coming ride …. bigger loaded bikes on tight “techy” trails are not a good mix.

Shortly after our visit with the horse riders… they saddled up and departed with a wave. The hikers we had previously met on the trail had also arrived which we had a nice visit. They as well frequented the area and had good local knowledge of trails, lakes, and an old time miner that had worked this particular area. They departed after our visit leaving Jason and I to decide which camp spot would best suit us for the night.

…. camp Jason

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….. camp obrianmcc

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…. a few misc pics from around the lake

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….. the shadows grow long, so we make good use of the existing fire ring with a camp fire.

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We had originally planned to drop our gear at the lake and then continue to explore, but I think we were both a bit surprised at what it took to just reach the lake … the riding wasn’t necessarily hard, but in combination of riding a total of 140 miles just to get there I was feeling a bit beat. Every time I would stand up I’d feel dizzy and light headed. A quick splash in the lake helped, but my enthusiasm to ride more that day was quickly fading. It then dawned on me that we were at approx. 9000′ …. Altitude!

We both decided that chilling around the fire, eating some dinner, and sipping some libation :1drink sounded like a good tactical plan!

As evening drew close, the fading light and changing shadows altered the visual of the surrounding landscape enough that Jason decided another quick hike over to the creek was required to take a few more photo’s. Little did he know that the skeeters would be laying in wait within the foliage for the next passer-by. Fighting off the best he could of skeeter mania, he snapped a few pics and retreated back to the safety of the campfire.

I chose to stay behind and tend the fire just in case such a retreat was to occur! :D

We spent the rest of the evening sitting around the fire sipping beverages of choice ….:1drink

One nice thing about camping at a place such as this…. as evening falls and the sun sets, the sky becomes dark and the stars come out in force. It amazes me how long one can both stare into a campfire and at the stars, both having equal hypnotic qualities.

The Milky Way started to become visible, so Jason set up his camera for some extended exposure shots. One shot in particular came out awesome, which he has posted up in his blog.

www.trailimage.com

Midnight drew near and beverages depleted, so we figured we better catch some :snore in preparation for tomorrows ride.

We woke up the next morning to a nice chill in the air, it wasn’t cold per say, but felt nice compared to the warmer temps we’ve had lately in the valley.

Morning by the lake….

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We wasted no time in¬†brewing up the morning joe … all coffee tastes good in the mountains! :*sip*

Breakfast was consumed, camp broken down, and bikes packed. Time to head down.

First switchback…. I attempted a reverse switchback maneuver where one turns up hill and hops the bike around to exit the switchback turn. I assumed the added rear weight bias might help, but I was wrong. My reverse maneuver turned more into a squid maneuver, but I made the turn in the end!

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Jason descending into some rocky fun …

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Contemplating his next move …. or the excuse he’ll give when he drags his brothers up here! :D

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Off the single track we start our ride down the ATV track….

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Our route below …

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Regrouping at the bottom …

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We continue our ride out along Bear Crk Rd …

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Until we come to a creek crossing we had negotiated the day before (Bear Crk) ….

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I opted to walk the bike across due to slippery slimy rocks along the stream bed … Jason wanted to retain his man card, so he rode across!

:ricky

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Once across the creek and back on 079 we headed south back over Fleck Summit and into Big Smokey. From there we made our way back into Featherville and Pine were we stopped for fuel and food at a local caf√©. This was evidently the same caf√© that Jason said he had stopped at during an IAMC Group Ride, the group was large enough that the servers freaked out …¬†evidently that was a lot of pop cans they had to open, but this day our business was welcome.

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After lunch we made like bandits retracing our previous days route back into Boise. Jason jumped back over the Oregon Trail and I split off another way that was a bit more direct for my home base.

In the end I can conclude all bikes and gear worked flawlessly (OBR ADV Gear), that we had a great two days of riding, found an awesome camp location, and we gained knowledge of a previously unknown area. I definitely want to visit the Ross Fork again as there is still a lot of country to explore.

For the true story visit Jason’s Trailimage blog

…. his pictures will not disappoint!

Winds over Pinyon – Part 2

Concluding our “coffee relief” break at the summit, we point the bikes towards the downstream side and shove off. Headed now towards Lowman we will be turning off the pavement just a few miles down the road onto Rd 588. This trip is going to be a combination of hardtop and dirt with the¬†bias being more towards the terra, however I do enjoy a balanced combination of both as jumping onto some nice hardtop after a dirt section can be a nice mental change of pace.

RD 588 is a nice 5-6 mile dirt section that skirts the backside of pilot Peak, opening up with pleasant views of both Deadwood Ridge and the Clear Creek drainage we will be heading up shortly.

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Hwy 21 …. 6 miles –

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We’re headed into those hills –

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obrianmcc –

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John E and the mighty 690 –

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On top of the regular Forest Service roads Idaho is also a scattering of State Endowment Lands and ¬†Forest Products properties …. all of these areas are packed full of access roads that provide connections that we as Dual Sport Riders utilize extensively to connect the dots on our route maps.

Respect your resources if you wish to keep access! …. Leave no trace, other than maybe a loamy tire track or two!

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We reconnect with Hwy 21 and blast down 10 miles of super fun pavement before connecting with our next dirt track, Rd 582 otherwise known as Bear Valley Rd.

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Next stop Bear Valley –

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And then this! –

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….. to be continued!

 

 

 

Winds over Pinyon – Part 1

‘”For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.‚ÄĚ

– Robert Louis Stevenson

With a long and hot summer now behind us and recent rains over the past Labor Day weekend extinguishing most all of the seasons wildfires, adventure is back in the air.

I’ve been contemplating for a few weeks now on a route appropriate for a quick end of the season trip. My first choice being over Dollarhide Summit, Ketchum, Mackay, and through the Pahsimeroi’s … but good ole Murphy had to step in and cause a significant washout on RD 227 between Fairfield and Dollarhide leaving the road impassable.¬† So, on to plan B, except I have no plan B? …. after all Idaho is an expanse of open space and it shouldn’t be that hard to find another route. A reach out to my two riding partners for this trip, John V and John E reaffirmed that all participants were still in regardless of destination.

I break out the map book, which naturally points me towards Stanley ID with my eye catching the little squiggly line down Hwy 75 to check out Bayhorse, Challis, the Custer Motorway, through Yankee Fork, and back over Pinyon Peak . The original plan was to depart on a Friday to break up the loop into three days of riding, but work commitments interfered reducing the trip down to two days and shortening the route to just Yankee Fork and Pinyon.

Now, I’m naturally one to¬†stick pretty tight to routes and schedules, but I’m stepping out and breaking my mold on this trip¬†with just a basic destination/direction and we’ll see where we¬†land at days end.¬†Yes, against my nature, but the route is good with some beautiful country to pass through and camping off a motorcycle allows for¬†more camp spot opportunities.

We scheduled our meet up for Saturday AM. We would then rally up Rocky Canyon Road, over Aldalpe Summit, down through Robie Creek connecting Hwy 21 into Idaho City.

OBR ADV Gear luggage packed and leaving the house –

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First stop Aldalpe Summit¬†–

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Weapons of choice for this trip would by John V and Myself on almost identical 2006 DRZ 400 E’s and John E on a 690 Enduro KTM ….

We connect Hwy 21 and make the run into Idaho City. Traffic is light, which makes for a nice twisty morning run alongside Moores Creek. John E’s¬†690 has significantly longer legs on the hardtop than our DRZ’s. John V and myself have geared the DRZ’s a little bit low to still be able to ride trails, but regardless of how well they are running, still no match for the 690!

Low water at Robie (Lucky Peak Reservoir)-

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Idaho City, getting gas and checking in –

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Idaho City is a remnant of mining’s past. Mostly a tourist attraction with the old boardwalks and shops about. Tragically this summer, a fire broke out within one of the old buildings and burned a few right to the ground.

John V and I top off our tanks. The DRZ’s are¬†running aftermarket tanks with an extended range to approx. 175 miles.¬†John V has also chosen to bring along his 1 gal Rotopax¬†extending another 50 miles, but Idaho backcountry roads can be deceiving in length, so when a refueling opportunity presents itself … we partake. Now the 690 is short of a super tanker with it’s Safari Tank…. requiring fewer fuel stops.

We head up Hwy 21 towards Moores Creek Summit ….

Not a straight road-

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Arrival at Moores Creek Summit –

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We’ve made good time to the summit with John E in the lead. Unfortunately he has to wait a few minutes as John V was required to lift my bike off me as I lay pinned on the side of the road. I failed to remember that I had gear bags strapped to the back of the bike and when I stopped to snap a pic of the¬†“not straight” road sign I attempted to swing a leg over and found myself on the ground! …¬†good to get that one out of the way early!

Hwy 21 from Idaho City to Lowman is part of the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway and is comprised of 30 miles of motorcycle nirvana. The next 30 minutes did not suck!

 

 

 

 

Swanholm – Part 3

After the bike cooled down enough to allow the expanded coolant to transfer back into its radiators …. I continued my way back up the¬†trail, around switchbacks … and over loose rock.

The lookout comes into view ….

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Big sky ….

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The Middle Fork of the Boise river drainage (image center) that I rode up this day ….

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I turn the corner and attack the last stretch of loose rock to the lookout …

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Swanholm Peak ¬†…. originally built in 1922, is currently unmanned, but at the ready should it need to be recommissioned into service.

Deck view to the west ….

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South/Southwest

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Southeast towards Warrior Peak

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East towards the Sawtooth’s and Graham below

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Graham Guard Station and airstrip

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Panoramic sequence from Northeast to Southeast …

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Spectacular country …..To be continued …..

Cinnabar Proper – Part 3 (Ghost Towns)

Upon reaching the entrance to Stibnite …. I note a primitive two track turning to the left up Sugar Creek. I make my turn off and proceed. This scenic two track is a pleasant relief from the wider forest service roads I’ve been on thus far.

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The track runs for maybe a mile or so before crossing the creek and starting the climb up towards Cinnabar Peak.

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This crossing could have some splash to it on a normal run off year. This years light snow pack keeps the creek to an easy level.

The road¬†continues¬†it’s climb¬†with the surface becoming¬†busy in spots with loose rock, but plenty manageable.

I continue my climb¬†up until the first buildings come into view ….

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Cinnabar has been classified by the Forest Service as a contaminated site …. largely due to the fact that they actually mined mercury here from the local minerals. It’s been proving difficult to find information regarding the activity of this mine, but I believe that it was active into the 1960’s.

Just past the first set of buildings I find my parking spot at city center.

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The many buildings indicate a thriving past operation with a numerous work force …. and my guess being construction as the second largest contributor to this once was economy.

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I leave the bike parked … City Center …. and hike up an access road towards the¬† mill.

Looking down from the access road

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View back down the access road …. my bike is parked on the mound just left of the aligned buildings.

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I hike past the old mill reconnecting to the main road. I head back down with the road passing some even larger buildings.

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If these buildings could talk I’m sure there would be some stories to tell!

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Back on the lower landing I decide it’s time to move forward … nails are my primary concern given the amount of wood/building debris scattered around the area.

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The view from top is equally as spectacular …

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My next objective is to make the climb up towards the ridge above¬†and the 8500′¬†Monumental Summit.

Cinnabar – Part 2 (Yellow Pine)

The intersection of 674 and 412 was a welcome arrival…. trajectory will point east now towards the city center of Yellow Pine.¬† Combat fisherman now in my mirror … the pace picks up as I travel the 15 miles along the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon …. how many forks was that?

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Rd 412

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East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon

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Yellow Pine

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Yellow Pine was established as a trading and supply point for the many area mines …. today, it acts more as a stopping point for recreationists and adventure travelers with an open restaurant, bar, lodging, etc.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_Pine,_Idaho

One claim to fame each August for Yellow Pine is their annual Harmonica Festival that has gain national recognition.

Moving through the rush hour masses …. I continue North/Northeast along 412 to the Big Creek/Stibnite intersection.

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This part of the route is currently part of the IDBDR. Turning north on 340 through Big Creek then will connect you over Elk Summit, Warren, Burgdorf then either into McCall of down French Creek into Riggins.

Today I continue East on 412 …

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412 from this point is a surprisingly narrow two track given the mine traffic of the past ….

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Fast¬†with flow ….

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9 miles pass and I arrive at the entrance of Stibnite. Cinnabar being my destination … I will make a left onto an ATV/Jeep track.

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Stibnite Mine is not currently being worked other than reclamation and continued exploration.¬†I’ve been told that they have¬†been drilling old tailing piles from the past¬†finding decent amounts of gold ….

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Next up Cinnabar ….