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 …

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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 4

Reconnecting to our next section of pavement was a pleasant reprieve to kick up the pace and blow off some dust… Although only for a few short miles since we will be jumping back onto the dirt at the Horn to follow Rd 203 (Cape Horn Rd). Cape Horn Rd parallels the paved Hwy 21 for approx. 7-8 miles before reconnecting.

Rd 203-

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The views of the Stanley Valley start to open up, but unfortunately with continued lingering smoke from recent wildfires…. absent smoke … the views are amazing! Rains of weekends past, while extinguished most all of Idaho’s wildfires … Washington and Oregon are still ablaze with jet stream winds directing the smoke into Idaho’s back yard.

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My hope is that as we change our direction north we will find the edge of the smoke allowing the views to open up.

We ride the next few paved miles into Stanley where we take advantage of the next fuel stop. From this point I have estimated our loop over Pinyon and into Garden Valley to be somewhere around 130-140 miles. Well within our fuel range, but not with much to spare …. we stuff our tanks.

The days plans are open ended …. I figured we could camp anywhere around Stanley … the afternoon is still young so we opt to grab some lunch and refreshment at the Bridge Street Grill in Lower Stanley to decide our next move.

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Bellies full and refreshments consumed … we opt to continue down Hwy 75 towards Sunbeam and our turn off towards the Yankee Fork. We’ll keep our eyes and options open for just the right camp spot.

The paved stretch of Hwy 75 from Stanley to Sunbeam is fantastic fun. The road rides the edge with the beautiful Salmon River on the right and sheer rock walls along the left. There is hardly a straight stretch of road allowing a nice workout of our tires perimeter lugs.

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Most all of the camp spots along this stretch are associated with designated camp grounds …. some are pretty nice and mostly vacant, but not what were after this day. So we push on to Sunbeam and the Yankee Fork Rd.

Sunbeam Dam (past)-

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Sunbeam Dam (Present)-

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Built back in 1909 to supply power to the operating mines and dredge of Yankee Fork …. the price of ore dropped negating the economic feasibility to continue extracting. The dam ceased operating in 1911. A caretaker maintained the structure for a number of years until the fish ladders reached disrepair, which at that time the most feasible option was to breech the dam restoring normal river flow.

Sunbeam

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We turn off Hwy 75 at the Sunbeam Village and head up the Yankee Fork Rd. The Yankee Fork Rd runs along a North/South valley with mountains of the Salmon/Challis Nation Forest looming in the distance. The soil/rock makeup of these mountains differs from the mountains we have already ridden by and through. As the sun hits the mountains they take on a majestic red hue.

Yankee Fork Rd (First image from a past ride)-

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We speed along the Yankee Fork Road still looking for a camp spot …. after about 10-12 miles we pass Bonanza and the they old Yankee Fork Dredge.

Yankee Fork Dredge (Photoseek.com)-

Yankee Fork Gold Dredge operated from 1940-1952 near near Custer Historic Site, in Idaho, USA. This floating gold dredge chewed a wide swath of stream gravel leaving rocky dredge tailings along 5.5 miles of the Yankee Fork, a tributary of the Salmon River, near Stanley, Idaho, USA. It recovered an estimated $1,037,322 in gold and silver at a cost of $1,076,100. Visit Land of the Yankee Fork State Park in Salmon-Challis National Forest near Stanley, Idaho.
Yankee Fork Gold Dredge operated from 1940-1952 near near Custer Historic Site, in Idaho, USA. This floating gold dredge chewed a wide swath of stream gravel leaving rocky dredge tailings along 5.5 miles of the Yankee Fork, a tributary of the Salmon River, near Stanley, Idaho, USA. It recovered an estimated $1,037,322 in gold and silver at a cost of $1,076,100. Visit Land of the Yankee Fork State Park in Salmon-Challis National Forest near Stanley, Idaho.

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In most cases of dredge history the dredges operated at a high level of profit, not such the case for the Yankee Fork Dredge. The dredge now sits as a tourist attraction with guided tours available.

The old Ghost Town of Custer is located about a mile up the Custer Motorway with the Forest Service maintain the history of the site for visitors.

Custer (Images from past ride)-

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Today we bypass Custer and turn up Rd 172. Rd 172 turns off directly behind the dredge and takes us up towards Loon Creek Summit. Still on the lookout for just the right camp spot ….

Custer and the dredge are highly recommended for anyone to visit should they have an interest for old mining history. I myself find all mining history, the good and the bad, interesting as it has shaped the country that we live in with roads, infrastructure, towns, etc. It is a nice ride… or drive.

To be continued …..

 

 

 

 

Swanholm – Part 4

While walking the perimeter observation deck enjoying the view I take notice that someone before me has pried the lock mechanism from the door jam. My curiosity gets the better of me, so I take a quick look inside.

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The interior is simple and tidy. Obviously cleaned up and organized after it’s last occupant …. which my guess was some time ago. Area maps still in place  ….. although the turntable has long since been removed. The aged interior makes one take thought of decades of summers past when this lookout was staffed. What was life like on top of this peak. Did the people who staffed this lookout appreciate every sunset and sunrise, or did it turn into just another monotonous task that had to be done?

I close and re-secure the door ….

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View down the roads final stretch just below the peak ….

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Even in the day when the road was probably a bit more maintained I can’t imagine it being a very fun drive up …. only visited by ATV’s and Motorcycles these days.

I enjoy a bit more of the view before contemplating my accent …

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My ride down from the peak is quick and uneventful … Right below the peak there is a trail that peels off the road on the north side. I’ve ridden up this trail once. It was super fun, but does have some exposure that would make any kind of incident while riding solo problematic, so I remain true to the road.

Bottom …

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Deer Park …

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I make my way past Deer Park and along the North Fork Boise to Barber Flat … from Barber Flat you can either ride back over the mountain to Alexander Flat or over Rabbit Creek Summit into Idaho City.

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I point the direction of Rd 327 to Rabbit Creek Summit and Idaho City ….

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Idaho City below

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Reconnecting with Hwy 21 and refueling in Idaho City…. I enjoy a nice paced ride back to Robie Creek, over Rocky Canyon, and back to Boise ….. ride time was right around 6 hrs with a daily mileage at approx. 150 miles…. an easy day ride from town.