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.
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 ….
View down the roads final stretch just below the peak ….
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 …
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.
Deer Park …
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.
I point the direction of Rd 327 to Rabbit Creek Summit and Idaho City ….
Idaho City below
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.
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 ….
Big sky ….
The Middle Fork of the Boise river drainage (image center) that I rode up this day ….
I turn the corner and attack the last stretch of loose rock to the lookout …
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 ….
Southeast towards Warrior Peak
East towards the Sawtooth’s and Graham below
Graham Guard Station and airstrip
Panoramic sequence from Northeast to Southeast …
Spectacular country …..To be continued …..
The Middle Fork Rd twists and turns always alongside the rivers edge acting as a divider between tall granite walls…..
Soft luggage by OBR ADV Gear …
Alexander Flat …..
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 ….
Continuing up stream to Swanholm Rd…
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.
Today with an open gate ….
Sun bleached sign warning of a not so maintained road ….
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 ….
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 …
Up trail …
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.
The bike cools and the summit calls …..
Rewind exactly a year back to a sunny Fall day in October 2014, I set out on a day loop with my sights on Swanholm Peak Lookout only to be denied by a seasonally locked gate …. missing access by only a few days. I told myself that this season I would make another attempt, but much earlier in the season, which brings us up to July 2015.
My route this day begins with a few miles of tire warming pavement along Hwy 21 through East Boise to connect RD 268, the Atlanta/Middle Fork Road that runs along Lucky Peak and Arrowrock Reservoirs.
Lucky Peak …
A break in our mid summer heat wave makes for a cool morning and a nice ride along the waters edge …
Middle Fork/South Fork Confluence …
Rd 268 twists and winds along the lakes edge eventually making the flowing current of the Middle Fork Boise River …
As Rd 268 makes it’s way towards Atlanta, it works it’s way through jagged canyons, remnants of the Idaho Batholith. Within the Batholith is the presence of Gold and past sites of attempts to extract such gold.
No entry …
Water access only ….
To be continued …..