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Idaho Meadows-Mosquitos-Fire Lookouts-Mining Towns-and Mountain Lakes

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Unlike some of our neighboring states who are dealing with on going drought conditions, Idaho has been blessed with a fairly normal water year. Snow packs came in late, but packed up none the less delaying our adventures up into the high country.

http://www.idwr.idaho.gov/waterinfor...water_maps.htm

Most of our route selections out of the Boise Valley take us up over 6-7000 ft plus passes. These passes have up until this weekend been closed by the Forest Service to minimize road damage.

I've waited long enough and figured it was time to venture out to see if these passes were indeed "passable". My destination was an area called Bear Valley Basin.

https://www.google.com/maps/search/b...6b300515f78758

Bear Valley is a picturesque valley that is home to a number of large open meadows surrounded by high mountain ridges and flowing creeks such as Bear Valley and Elk Creek. Perfect for throwing down a tent!

My planned route this weekend would take me out of Boise and up over Bogus Basin to the North, to Harris Creek Summit via the Boise Ridge Road, stopping in Garden Valley, but plans change.

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Packing only the essentials icon10.gif .... It sure seems that I pack way more crap than I actually need. Vision Dry Bags by AIRE work great for keeping gear dry. They're available in 5, 10, and 15l capacities. The bags also have a clear side panel making it easy to determine the contents without the need to unload or open the bag.

http://www.aire.com/aire/products/ac...?cat=11&id=434

Luggage system by OBR ADV Gear ..... www.obradvgear.com

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Heading up Bogus Basin Rd out of Boise. Bogus Basin is our local ski area that sits just 16 miles out of town. Very close if your a ski bum needing to satisfy the itch during winter!

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bogus_Basin

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Once you reach the ski area the pavement ends and the Boise Ridge Rd begins. The Boise Ridge Rd is a "flowy" two track that runs north-south towards Harris Creek Summit. Harris Creek Summit is a four way intersection connecting the Ridge Rd with Harris Creek Rd

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Ponderosa Giants ...

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As I drop down towards Harris Creek Summit I start notice large dust plumes? .... perplexed as to what could be creating these plumes I assume that there must be heavy equipment running over Harris Creek. I round the corner only to discover road tape in place as a road closure was in effect due to a local Rally Race.

http://idahorally.org/2014-event-maps

Now I normally find these types of events fun and cool, but this day I was in no mood to be faced with this delay. The summit was estimated to be closed for another hr with access over the rest of my planned route "unknown" since the main summit into Garden Valley, Alder Creek Summit was within their impact area.

Garden Valley is out of the questions at this point, so plan B will be to route through Idaho City for fuel. Back tracking at least an hour to make a connection to Idaho Hwy 21 is my only option .....

More to come .....

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.... Idaho Meadows (continued)

 

So after my run in with the Rally I re-traced my tracks back to the ski area and beyond to an ATV trail called Eagleson. This dropped me down 263 to Crooked Summit along the Robie Crk/Clear Creek Rd. I figured this route to be a safer bet on actually getting to Hwy 21 vs dropping down the closer Pine Crk Rd with the pending closure of Grimes Crk Rd .....

Signage warning travelers along the bottom of Bogus Basin Rd of the planned road closures would have saved me two hours and probably a gallon of fuel. I made this suggestion to the Rally organizers via a friendly email, but have yet to receive any kind of response? (Response received, hopefully they improve sign placement for their 2015 event)

So with my route plans re-directed to Idaho city, I made a quick run up Hwy 21 stopping in IC for final fuel. (Sorry, no pics were taken while I attempted to re-establish a route and gain back lost time)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idaho_City,_Idaho

Sometimes a change in plans can be a good thing. In my case I am now forced to ride Hwy 21 from Idaho City to Lowman. This stretch is also called the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway and is a route of interest in the Butler Motorcycle Map of Idaho.

http://www.butlermaps.com/

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Good pavement IMO can be a nice break after a rough two track or trail. The ATV trail I had just come down is OK in my book in terms of condition ... so a bit of hard top was nice.... plus it helped to regain lost time.

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This road sucks .... icon10.gif

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I think I rode past a speed sign stating the speed limit to be 45 mph .... yeah right, whatever!

The DRZ even loaded and with knobbies drops in and carves these corners like I'm running in a Moto GP ..... sort of .... still fun none the less!

I finally reach Lowman where Clear Creek Rd peels off Hwy 21 to the north ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lowman,_Idaho

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Clear Creek Summit is technically closed, but with the warmer weather we've had the last week or two I'm willing to gamble that I'll be able to slip through any snow that might be lingering. If the snow is too deep still the only available route into Bear Valley will be approx. 35 miles up Hwy 21 over Banner Summit ....

 

More to come .... stay tuned

Edited by obrianmcc
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.....Idaho Meadows (continued)

 

Once the decision was made to attempt a crossing over Clear Creek Summit, I moved with a purpose up Clear Creek Road to the gate. Once past the gate I made the climb up the south side ... so far no snow.

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Clear Creek Summit reached at just below 7100 ft, but I must decend the north side in order to reach Bear Valley and there are some tree'd sections that might just hold enough snow to turn me back ... eekers.gif

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Detour avoided! .... once far enough down the north side I became confident that Bear Valley would be reached. All remaining snow drifts were melting fast and presented no problem.

Stay tuned!

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.... Idaho Meadows (continued)

 

Once descending off the north side of Clear Creek Summit and clearing what snow remained, the road then twists and turns all the way down to Big Meadow, which is the entrance to Bear Valley. Since the gate was closed... the ride down was at a spirited pace assuming a lesser chance of oncoming traffic.

Once reaching Bear Valley, the road forks in four directions, to the south from which I just arrived, to the north is Big Meadow/Bear Valley, to the East a dead end with remnants of a mining past, and to the west a climb up to Whitehawk Look Out.

My secondary goal for this trip was to actually make it up to Whitehawk LO. I enjoy making Fire Lookouts a destination as I find each one as something different to offer in terms of viewing the surrounding geography. Whitehawk I have yet to visit, so it will be on my list for this trip.

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Bear Valley, where I'm going .....

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Bear Valley, where I've been .... Whitehawk LO sits atop the far ridge behind me in this last pic. I'll hit the LO on my ride out tomorrow... today I need to locate a suitable camping spot.

Stay tuned ....

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.... Idaho Meadows (continued)

 

The last time I passed through the valley I had spotted a nice looking camp spot that was to be my destination for this trip. Upon reaching the spot, I was further surveying the area for best tent orientation offering the best mountain views when the mosquitos started to buzz.

First there was one, then ten, then what seemed like fifty of these little bastards buzzing my ears. On went the helmet and back on the bike! My hope is that these crazy blood sucking critters are only concentrated along this particular spot since it sits next to a grassy meadow. Not to be so!

I figured at this point since the day is still young that I'd go ahead and ride the Bear Valley/Elk Creek loop, checking out other potential camp spots along the way.

As I made my way along Bear Valley Creek, most all of the camp spots along the creek are available, but experience tells me that anything within close proximity of the water is still going to be a mosquitofest!

I know that a few miles in there are a couple of good sized meadows, these meadows are on the opposing side of the road from the creek and might be a bit drier, and maybe mosquito free?

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The first turn off is into Mace Meadow, this meadow was new to me as I have yet to visit it. Entering the meadow I ride into a series of buildings that appear to be ranching quarters. It doesn't look like they have been used for a wile, but are still kept up ready for that next drive of cattle or sheep. I don't notice any skeeters, but I'm not particularly interested in camping here, so I ride on.

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The next meadow down the road is Cache Meadow (pic from last year) this meadow is large with a nice view of Red Mountain. I've camped here once in the past and I recall the open sky and stars that were visible at night. But I'm still curious to what's down the road, so I again... ride on.

As I continue my ride around the Bear Valley/Elk Creek Loop, checking out more spots as I go, I find a spot just past the Elk Creek Work Station that has a large open area, seems dry, next to Elk Creek, and open eastern views down the valley. There is a nice breeze blowing that I hope will help keep the nasty skeeters at bay! This spot we'll call home for the night!

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Stay tuned....
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..... Idaho Meadows (continued)

 

 

It's approx. 3:30pm and camp is set, views are nice, a breeze is blowing helping to frustrate the local skeeter polulation ... for now, so I figure it seems like a perfect time to kick back and read a bit.

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This lasted for all but about 15-20 min before the skeeters fell back and regrouped only to storm forward with an assault regardless of the blowing breeze. My only defense at this point was to spray down with bug spray and keep myself occupied and moving around camp.

...... Oh look ... pretty flowers .... skeeter attack .... move on!

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The local deer population had it figured out before me.... defeat the skeeters by making them chase you!

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I kept myself busy for the next few hours by wandering around the immediate area exploring and collecting fire wood. I figured a camp fire would help a little bit to maybe thwart off the impending skeeter hour attack. In order to defeat the skeeter one must understand the strengths and weaknesses of his opponent! Skeeters don't like smoke!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosquito

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The mosquitos remained relentless for most of the evening. Inevitable given that the ground is still moist from melting snow and some standing water still in the low laying areas. It's early evening now, so I relent, I've had a mosquito net in my kit for years, never used, until tonight ... on goes the net! Bite through this you little bastards!

Here's an evening view down Elk Creek looking east towards Bruce Meadow ....

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The view straight out my tent door is of Bear Valley Mtn. Bear Valley Mtn itself is constrained with the Frank Church Wilderness, but a road easement remains maintain access to it's peak. On top is the old Bear Valley LO, an old steel tower that no longer see's any official use, but remains to weather in the high mountain air.

Archived photo from a previous years ride ...

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http://idaholookouts.weebly.com/valley-county.html

http://www.firelookout.com/id/bearvalley.html

 

 

Stay tuned .... still more to come!

Edited by obrianmcc
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..... Idaho Meadows (continued)

 

As the evening wore on ... the area became very active with the wildlife. The birds continued to sing well after dark, a lone wolf howled up stream, which did not deter the three elk from hanging just outside camp in the creek meadow who continued to call back and forth well into the evening.

With all this activity I'm hoping I can get some sleep! eekers.gif

The skeeters committed to one last assault, they threw everything they had at me and finally threw in the towel around 10 pm. With skeeters gone to bed, the camp fire lit, and the stars starting to appear, the evening was finally shaping up to be quite nice.

I burned the last bit of firewood that I had collected and figured I'd better hit the rack intending on an early departure.

The night time temps had been dropping down into the 30's in the Stanley Basin, and this night was no different .... it got down right chilly into the wee hours.

As morning neared, the sun started to appear over the eastern ridge and my inclination was to stay balled up in my sleeping bag, but I knew the smarter choice was to rise up to meet the morning, prepare some coffee and breakfast (yep in that order), get packed up and head out. I knew as soon as it warmed just enough the skeeters would commence their day two attack.

Morning steam off Elk Creek

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Warm morning sun ...

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All packed up and ready to head out .....

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My timing was about perfect. It was 8:30 by the time I was packed and ready to ride, which is also the time that the skeeters began to buzz my ears .....
Stay tuned!
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..... Idaho Meadows (continued)

 

So my plan for today was to get an early start, which I did. I was only about half way around the Elk Creek Loop and had a few miles to ride before Big Meadow, which is where the turn off is to ride up to Whitehawk Lo.

It felt nice to be riding these sections in the cool morning air. Usually it's mid -day when I pass through these parts with typical summer time temps. Not this morning ... the crispness of the air required a jacket.

Elk Creek

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Being that I had time on my side this day ... I decided to explore some of the side roads which I had so many times just ridden past. Most concluded with a dead end, but they did reveal trail heads and possible camp opportunities should the need present in the future.



Once you hit the intersection for Lowman off the Landmark/Stanley Rd, I would head south. Along this section you run along side another meadow of which I don't know the name, but impressive like all the others.

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A higher vantage point of Red Mountain, Cache and Mace Meadows in the valley below ...

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Rolling back over Bear Valley Creek ...

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Re-entering Big Meadow ....

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The barely visible far end of the meadow is where the access road for Whitehawk LO peels off to the west. Whitehawk LO sits atop the far ridge. Snow is still present along the ridge so I'm hoping that I can make it all of the way up. It's going to take a hell of a lot of snow to stop me, so here we go!
 
Stay tuned ...
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.... Idaho Meadows (continued) .... with a Fire Lookout

 

I make my way back down to the southern end of Big Meadow via Rd 582 to where Rd 569 turns west and climbs up to Whitehawk LO, which sits just shy of 8400 ft.

The road up is your typical primitive two track that winds through the timber as it crisscrosses 4 miles up the mountain .... very scenic.

Right about mid way, I round a corner and pick up movement about 50 yds up the road. A second glance and I realize I'm looking at a cow moose and her calf.

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I stop and shut off the bike ..... mama moose stops and looks back for a minute. She then directs baby moose down the hillside and off into the timber.

I continue up the road advancing over small snow drifts that are still barely clinging to the road surface. A truck has already made it's way up and through, I figure a USFS crew most likely opening up the road for the up coming fire season.

I make my way up to the summit and find the lookout locked down waiting for this seasons attendant.

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I was shocked at the view .... I was looking at a full panorama , Bear Valley to the east and below, the Sawtooth Mountains rising above to the east, the Trinities to the south, Deadwood Reservoir to the west, and endless ridge lines to the north.

Bear Valley (Big Meadow) ... from where I just rode up from.

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SW view into the Sawtooth Mountains ...

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looking west, Deadwood Reservoir

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looking south towards the Trinities

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looking east towards Bear Valley, Big Meadow, and the Sawtooth Mlountains

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looking north, endless ridge lines

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I soak in the view for a few minutes and decide it's time to head back down. Right at about the bottom I ran into mama moose and her calf once more. The again scurried off into the timber.

At the meadows edge there is an old remaining foundation with still erect poles running in line across the meadow, probably used for old communication lines.

I stopped at a FS kiosk that detail the history of Big Meadow.

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It told a story of feuds that erupted between local and Wyoming sheep ranchers who were attempting to stake claim to the meadow for grazing. The FS thought it best to station a ranger to the area in order to mediate and resolve conflict.

The meadows history ranges from ranching to actual dredging in the 50's-60's where they were extracting a rare radioactive ore exclusive to the area. The US government needed this ore for the manufacture of nuclear reactors.

The area was rehabilitated back in the 80's to restore the stream bed back into it's natural state for the local salmon runs.

I made my way back over Clear Creek Summit, finding an open gate, to Lowman, Idaho City, and home. The ride back was pleasant and uneventful. I chose to end my picture taking since I was just backtracking from the previous day. I had contemplated for a half a second to route home through Garden Valley, but I figure the Rally from Saturday is probably a two day event.

This adventure concludes with two days and 320 miles. Other than the required re-route everything went as planned. The bike never missed a beat and the OBR ADV Gear Soft Bags www.obradvgear.com worked flawlessly holding all gear tight and secure!

Until our next adventure ..... ride safe!

Edited by obrianmcc
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.... and Mining Towns

 

Time to add our next adventure!

The oppressive heat of the valley below (100+) has us plan a single day adventure up into Silver City country. We know it will only be a bit cooler .... actually our days adventure was planned before the current heat wave and we weren't about to just sit at home .... after all that's why they make vented gear ..... right?

Todays ride will include myself (DRZ 400), my wife, Jodi (KLX 140), and our friend Travis (DR 650).

We meet up at Dan's Ferry Market on the Snake and then head down to the Silver City Road, parking at the Diamond Basin pull off.

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The temps so far aren't too bad, approx. 80 if I had to guess, but knowing it's going to continue to get hotter we plan to have KSU (kick stands up) by 9 AM.

We start the day with a loop down the Old Stage Road ....

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.... and then up over the saddle south of Federal Butte

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We pass through a couple of gates ... making sure to close them behind.

Jodi and Travis passing gate #2 ....

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To be continued .....
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...... Mining Towns (continued)

 

The basin over the saddle has a couple of old mining cabins .... we make our past and then decide that our preferred ascent would be on the Silver City Road.

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Jodi and Travis making way back over the Federal Butte Saddle ...

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We make our way back by the Diamond Basin pull out, grab a splash of gas, and head up the road. Temps are still reasonable at this point.

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I believe this is Hayden Peak from Silver City Road ... we wont make it over to this peak on this trip, but it serves as an excuse to make a return trip later for more exploration.

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New York Summit before the descent to Silver City ...

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To be continued .....

 

Edited by obrianmcc
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..... Mining Towns (continued)

 

We make our way down and into Silver City. The hotel is still under limited operation and serves food through most of the summer season, so off goes the gear in search of a burger!

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Silver City has been remarkably preserved, most likely due to the fact that most dwellings are privately owned and cared for.

http://www.historicsilvercityidaho.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_City,_Idaho

http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/id/silvercity.html

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After a nice lunch and a quick loop of the town we decide to head back down to face the increasing heat. It was surprisingly comfortable up top, which made our decent that much harder!

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Overall another great day riding. The hillsides were still green, the forest was cool, and side roads aplenty .... I'll be back to explore!

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.... and Mountain Lakes

 

 

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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http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/res/Educ...lle_point.html

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 evertime I pass, so I kind of feel obligated. Our air is filled with 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.

http://www.visitidaho.org/attraction...er-south-fork/

Looking back from where we came in....

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and looking forward ... we'll peel away from the river at this point and climb up to the plateau called 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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...... to be continued
Edited by obrianmcc
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.... and Mountain Lakes

 

Continued ....

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! icon10.gif

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

http://www.visitidaho.org/community/featherville/

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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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.... to be continued!

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...... and Mountain Lakes (continued)

 

 

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 eekers.gif, Idaho Country! clap.gif ... no potatoes up here! naughty.gif

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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 ....

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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.

.... to be continued!
Edited by obrianmcc
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..... and Mountain Lakes (continued)

 

..... 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.gif 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 possably 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 tecky 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.gif sounded like a good tactical plan!

.... to be continued
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...... and Mountain Lakes (continued)

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 skeetermania, 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! icon10.gif

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

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.
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Midnight drew near and beverages depleted, so we figured we better catch some sleep.gif 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 making up the morning joe ... all coffee tastes good in the mountains! sip.gif

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

First switchback....

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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! icon10.gif

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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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More to come ....















 

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