May Wandering – Wandering Back Over The Hill

A huge part of dual sporting is taking what the road throws at you. Being dead set on one particular route will do nothing but set you up for disappointment and frustration. There is beauty and adventure around each corner. It might just not have been the one you had planned…. the same holds true in life.

Dropping down from Grimes Pass plants me on Rd 382. Road 382 runs parallel along the high flowing South Fork of the Payette in the direction of Garden Valley. Across the river running parallel is the Banks/Lowman Hwy …

Dodging road cones or pine cones …

Running high –

After a few miles I hit the intersection of Rd 615. A quick assessment of fuel status reassures me that I have plenty to make Horseshoe Bend … and maybe home.

I make a quick left turn and twist on the throttle towards Alder Creek Summit. I’ve  been along this route many many times before as it is the primary “dirty” connector to Garden Valley.  Right at that moment I notice a small memorial off to the left just off the road … again, I’ve been by this way many times and have never noticed this little landmark.

The memorial was put into place for one of the early settlers of Garden Valley. The significance of this individual is unclear other than he worked on a stone carving otherwise known as the George Washington Equestrian Statue … equestrian be horse .. this statue is of a squirrel on a tree? I’ll let you figure this one out …

Squirrel –

I race up Rd 615 towards Adler Creek Summit. The higher I ride more prevalent are the after effects of this years spring run off. Ditches four feet wide and a foot and a half deep run along the roads side…. void of water at this time.

Alder Creek Summit-

Now the ridge track that I had previously tried to traverse off Grimes Pass would have reconnected right at this point. Snow and downed trees be damned … next time!

I make my way through Placerville … passing the two guy’s who I met earlier on their mountain bikes. They indeed made it … I passed by with a wave, the second half of my loop is most likely going to be easier than theirs as they have a ways still to go.

Looking back on Granite Creek-

From here you actually have a couple of options. 1) Continue along Harris Creek Road to Horseshoe Bend …. probably my direction for the day. 2) Continue north along Hawley Mountain Rd … Hawley Mountain is an old decomissioned lookout now functioning as a communications site. 3) South off Harris Creek is the Boise Ridge Road … this takes you up over Bogus Basin and back to Boise.

Harris Creek Summit-

I drop into Horseshoe Bend and again reassess fuel … I’m 99.9% sure that I have plenty to get home, but I tend to be of the discipline … if there is fuel… stop and top off…. I get fuel.

My plan from Horseshoe Bend is to take Pearl Road back into Eagle. Problem is that you would normally need to run a stretch of Hwy 55 over Horseshoe Bend Hill … crazy traffic and all this really is not that enjoyable on the Z. The old hwy diverts off to the right as soon as you exit town making for a nice side track run to the top of the hill … minus all of the crazy ass goggle eyed drivers jockeying for position up the hill as they make their Nascar run out of McCall.

As I make my run up the hill I catch a glimpse of movement off to my right. It’s a Tom fully fanned out obviously trying to impress a lady. I see turkey’s all the time, but the is the first one I’ve actually seen strutting his stuff.

Turkey on cheese-

Looking back on Harris Creek-

Up the hill … old Hwy 55

Residual pack- Bogus Basin

Just following the strip of road ….

I follow Pearl Road as it drops back down to Eagle Idaho …

Great ride today … I was able to scout a few medium high passes (I’m sure the higher ones were still gated and might be so until July), but mainly it felt good to simply get the boots a bit dirty. On the bike for a few hours and 160 miles …. until next time, ride lots, ride safe!

May Wandering – Where thou road turns

“Not all adventures are measured in days or thousands of miles traveled”

Our long winter now behind us and with the oppressive snow steadily receding I decide it’s time to get the DRZ out of the garage. Time today only allows for a short day ride, which is ok. I’ve come to terms that a succession of day rides combined together can equate to longer adventures…. why not?

The loop for today will take me over Adalpe Summit out of East Boise. From there I will work my way north though Clear Creek, up Grimes Creek, and through New Centerville and Pioneerville. I want to see if there are any effects of last years Pioneer Fire along this particular route.

The approach to Rocky Canyon Road-

Rocky Canyon, the dirt begins here-

Top of Rocky Canyon, Adalpe Summit-

The run up to Adalpe was cooler than anticipated. The clouds hung low covering the near ridge line. Sprinkles of rain fell with small puddles present as a sign that more significant rain passed through earlier. My OBR ADV Gear Grip Mitts kept my fingers agile and on the controls.

Forward progress equated to dropping down the east side and heading north towards Clear Creek Summit …

Rd 261

At this point I ran into a couple of guys on mountain bikes who also enjoy a bit of dual sporting. Their adventure today is going to take them into Placerville … my initial thought is that’s quite and ambitious loop! … but they look fit for the day.

Through Clear Creek and up Grimes …

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You always here the term “Super Bloom” … but what about “Super Green”

Evidence of tom foolery …

I run up on a group of six or so trail riders also enjoying the day … I’ve ridden my share of trails in the area, but these guys give me sense that there is much more to explore than I realize. I make my way by with a wave and keep on course.

The road twists and turns by New Centerville and proceeds north towards Pioneerville. Traction is at a prime with the DRZ on it’s game. The DRZ is the multi tool of bikes … you can take them any where and they will get the job done … some situations maybe outside it’s comfort zone, but fast two track … this bike is planted and predictable. On the throttle with full drift!

Beaver pond off Rd 382-

High flow-

A bit further up the road I pass an old homestead … I’ve passed here before multiple times, but from the opposite direction and can’t recall these steps? … rode right past I guess.

Evidence of heavy run off is now becoming ever present. Heavy flow within the creek and fairly deep washouts are starting to appear. Residual snow along the hill sides is evidence that Winter is still fighting to retain her grip.

Surprisingly evidence of last years Pioneer Fire has not shown itself … the western flank must be further east. I make my way past the intersection that will take you to Pilot Peak, still snowed in I’m sure, so I head up to Grimes Pass.

Garden Valley from Grimes Pass-

Atop Grimes Pass and behind a fence lies a series of graves. Memorials from way past to reasonably present. The largest being for the gentlemen that the pass is named after, George Grimes. Part of the local mining history I’m sure.

From this juncture I need to decide if I need to drop down into Garden Valley for fuel or take a road from the pass that runs west along the ridge connecting to Alder Creek Summit.

Alder Creek Summit it is, Rd 395

Road 395 is a tight two track that flows west and brushes through ridge top timber. It’s a fun road that gives a sense of solitude and exposure once on top.

The ridge opens up with a view of Garden Valley and the Payette River upstream drainage.

Some of that snow I spotted a bit earlier, up close

Pruning required… I thought this day would contain no yard work?

At this point I’m starting to wonder if passage of this road is an option. I figure that I will clear out just enough to get past this deadfall and see what the road presents. I pull out my folding saw from my OBR ADV Gear Tool Pouch and get to work clearing a path.

…. and about a 1/4 mile up the road

There is still a good 12-18″ in spots. Passage not possible this trip.

The road made up my mind for me … double back and head down Grimes Pass towards the Payette and Garden Valley.

Intermission –

 

 

 

 

 

Winds over Pinyon – Part 9

Now that we are back on the Bear Valley/Landmark-Stanley Rd … we will backtrack a bit back through the expansive Bruce Meadows and then along the north side paralleling Elk Creek.

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Stopping at the airstrip ….

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We cross over the Bear Valley bridge and continue on to the Elk Creek Work Center. The dust is wanting to linger, so we spread out enough to allow the air to clear.

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WE kick it up along Rd 579 turning south on Rd 571 over Deer Creek Pass …. This particular section of Rd 571 was one of my favorites … it had great flow, little dust, and spectacular views over Deadwood Reservoir.

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Rd 571 eventually connects with the shore of Deadwood Reservoir … and then the dam itself. Built back in 1929, the concrete arched dam holds back approx. 3200 acres of irrigation water.

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Poseur Shot- OBR ADV Gear 38l Adventure Saddlebags doing their job!

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Gangway-

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Puddle-

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Release-

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The Deadwood river flows south for approx. 20 miles before its confluence with the South Fork of the Payette near Lowman ID.

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Right below the spill way there is a nice singletrack that also runs back to the South Fork of the Payette via Deadwood Ridge … the last time I rode this section of trail was with my friend Jason on an out and back day loop from Boise.

Here is Jason’s posting of the day ….

We stop at the dam for a quick break…  we all comment to the fact that it is starting to get warm. 20 miles to the pavement.

Quick stop along the top of Scott Mountain … notice fuel is getting low!

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Dropping into the furnace- Could be worse … it could be August! Banks/Lowman Road is below.

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We make our way into Garden Valley … on fumes. Total mileage from Stanley/Loon Creek/Garden Valley was 165 miles … I should have 10 miles to spare … maybe? This is the first time I’ve rolled into a gas stop with literally a splash of gas left in the tank.

We fuel up and then head up over Alder Creek Summit where John E is waiting for us.

Placerville-

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We continue through Placerville and then over to the Boise Ridge Road.

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We make our final stop at the Bogus Basin Ski area …. the day is long, so from hear we will split up and make our individual runs for home.

This trip was a bit shorter then expected, but none the less just as fun. Adventure is what you make of it regardless if it is a weekend, a week, or a month. Being out in the wide open with friends recharges the spirit and creates stories that will last a lifetime… go find your adventure!

 

Winds over Pinyon – Part 8

At the point where the Pinyon Peak Loop Road starts its drop down into the Beaver Creek drainage … there is one more site of interest… that of the old Feltham Peak Lookout. A side track climbs for approx. a 1/4 of a mile to the old lookout site.

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The lookout is since long gone, but the piling blocks still remain confirming the site location. Removed back in the 1960’s, presumably replaced by the current and higher Pinyon Peak Lookout. I have this adversion to lookout attendants. So many these days are grumpy and seem to not want to be bothered, understandable … I guess, so I prefer to visit the sites before and after the season so that I can mill around and enjoy the view on my terms … with no remaining structure Feltham qualifies as a mid season exception.

Feltham specs-

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Clockwise pano …. Pinyon Peak at center

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This last photo is of the Beaver Creek drainage that we are now headed down ….

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The area is heavily burned from the Halstead Fire, but still pleasant to ride through …. the Lodge Pole Pine is pretty small in diameter, easy enough to hop with a bike, but if in a truck… I would carry a saw.

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The Beaver Creek/Pinyon Peak Loop Road (172) eventually connects to the Seafoam/Vanity Summit Road (008)…

5th gear-

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We’re making good time when we roll up on a logging operation that was just finishing up loading a truck …. only delayed a few minutes.

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Hwy 21-

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A quick blast down Hwy 21 puts us back onto the Bear Valley – Landmark/Stanley Rd (198)

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Our next destination is Deadwood Reservoir. We will pass along the North side of Bear Valley following Elk Creek.

To be continued ….

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winds over Pinyon – Part 7

The road continues with a final few gradual switchbacks before cresting the ridge ….. The ridgeline is right above the tree line leaving little protection from the wind. My guess is that the wind blows pretty much non stop as the few trees that are around have that permanent lean.

Final turn-

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We stop at the saddle right below the peak and walk out a short distance to a open knoll with full 360 deg views.

View starting south and panning north ….

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Pics or it didn’t happen-

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We remount and continue up the road to the lookout cutoff…

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We contemplate making the run to the top, but with hazy conditions and the lookout still manned, we decide to forego the summit for another trip. I visited this lookout a couple of years back on a crystal clear day and the views are amazing! …. Pinyon is one of those “have to do at least once per year” rides.

Pics from my previous visit ….

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That day I was stop just before the saddle ….

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Pinyon Peak Fun Facts

Pinyon Peak Specs

We are still about 20 miles out from our reconnection to Hwy 21, so we push on. The Pinyon Peak Loop Road runs along the ridgeline for approx. 7-8 miles before dropping into the Beaver Creek drainage.

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Shelf road-

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Kidney Lake-

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To be continued ….

 

 

 

Winds over Pinyon – Part 5

As we point our bikes up Rd 172 the track starts to narrow and the trees begin to close in, indicative of a more primitive road. We approach the first minor switchback where the road begins to start it’s climb up towards Loon Creek Summit, we take notice of a fairly large primitive camp spot down off the road.  This is the first “Non-Campground” spot we have determined worthy of inspection. The spot is spacious and otherwise not too bad, but a fair hike from water … we ride on.

The road begins to climb and wind around switchbacks making it obvious that we are gaining elevation quickly. Right before the final turn at the top we stop and take notice of the drainage we just road up as with the now quiet Sunbeam Mine.

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Final gap before the top …

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Loon Creek Summit –

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Right as we crest the summit we cross paths with a group of KLR’s working there way out … as we’re chatting one of the riders appears to be in a bit of discomfort.  It is then disclosed that he is riding with an injured foot …. no doubt a product of some midnight refreshment induced hooliganism of the previous evening … and with little sympathy from his riding buddies. My guess was that this guys injury was cutting their stay short and they were making a late day run back to Boise to get checked out.

We drop down the back side of the summit where the road runs along Mayfield Creek. The views along the upper stretch are awesome, but regrettably since the day was running long I failed to stop along this stretch for pictures …. next time.

As we work our way down Mayfield Creek and towards Loon Creek we pass a number of camp spots … the first nice one was of course occupied, the next was a nice spot, but with a lot of noticeable dead snags around the camp area waiting to fall on an unsuspecting tent with the first real wind… we’re near the bottom so we continued on.

….. Loon Creek GS and the Diamond D Ranch

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The Diamond D is one of those off the grid remote ranches that have carved themselves a niche as a vacation destination … a beautiful spot for those looking to get away, but I still default to the adage of … “Your vacation is my weekend”

Our sights at this point are on a little campground a few miles down the road called Tin Cup. Right as we pass the ranch and make the turn towards Tin Cup an opening comes into view on our right, a trailhead actually … I make a hard right turn to inspect … nice open view, Loon Creek in close walking distance, a table, and no people … we have a winner!

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Tents are set up, bikes are allowed to rest, dust from the day rinsed off in the creek, water on boil for dinner, and evening libations are pulled from panniers.

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We spend the rest of the evening enjoying company, sharing past adventures, and solving most of the worlds problems. Then to turn in in preparation for the next oncoming day ….

…. To be continued

 

 

 

 

Winds over Pinyon – Part 3

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 –

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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!

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We immediately identified the flat tire culprit …. a brand spanking new framing nail! …. of all places to pick up a framing nail?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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… and then reconnect to Hwy 21

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… to be continued

 

Swanholm – Part 2

The Middle Fork Rd twists and turns always alongside the rivers edge acting as a divider between tall granite walls…..

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Soft luggage by OBR ADV Gear

Alexander Flat …..

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A quick link somewhat related to the flat as it was used as a camp spot for the CCC right at the tail end of the depression ….

http://www.justinmuseum.com/oralbio/smithmmbio.html

Continuing up stream to Swanholm Rd…

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The road up to Swanholm is a few miles up Swanholm Creek Rd, very unassuming, not well marked, and turning off eastward through a series of old logging roads turned ATV trails ….. right before the Barber Flat trail.

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Today with an open gate ….

Sun bleached sign warning of a not so maintained road ….

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The start of the climb is as I remember, but the further I ascend I take note to how loose and rocky the track has become …. obvious in spots to be more of a creek during the Spring run off. I try my best to maintain some essence of momentum to keep cooling air flowing through my radiators in hopes to avoid any boil over.

The inevitable ….

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The bike eventually starts to hiss, so I chose to stop for a cool down in hopes to avoid any actual coolant loss.

While the bike cools I wander about taking in the view as it starts to present itself …

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Up trail …

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The “rolling over loose softball sized rock” climb up thus far reminds me very much of a ride into Goat Lake taken last season with a friend of mine … Jason.

http://www.trailimage.com/switchbacks-to-goat-lake

The bike cools and the summit calls …..

 

Cinnabar – Part 5 (Meadow Creek Lookout)

On my way up to Monumental Summit, I passed a small primitive two track cutting off to the west. Given the opportunity to visit decommissioned lookout towers, Meadow Creek Lookout has been on my radar for awhile. Meadow Creek sits along the upper reaches of Antimony Ridge, and this two track is the route in.

Quick shot off the road towards the SW

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The run in towards the lookout is approx. 10 miles. The road being in fairly good condition allowed for a pretty decent pace.

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Arrival at the lookout was welcomed … the road in seemed to have the character of “it must be over the next rise” …. “and the next rise” …. it seemed to go on and on …. a long 10 miles.

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This lookout tower like the many decommissioned sites is starting to show it’s wear and tear from the elements.

Meadow Creek Lookout is an old L4 Cabin, built in 1933… old images here.

Riordan USGS Marker

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A walk around the observation deck is required …

North/Northwest

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West

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South

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East

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As usual, the typical views are amazing. However, the remoteness of this site has been on my mind since Monumental Summit … I’m not concerned so much of mishap, but a break down up here could pose a challenge for recovery, and being a Sunday, I would not expect much traffic past today. I do carry a SPOT to maintain a positive link with civilization, which does offer some peace of mind, but I decide it’s time to backtrack to more traveled roads.

A single track trail diverts off the road about a mile back from the lookout. This trail I believe passes Riordan Lake and reconnects with Johnson Creek Road. This will be a nice route to take on a future visit, with a partner.