At the camp I had studied all of the maps and saw the discrepancies I had, so I made sure to follow the newer and more fun sounding route.
Now we're talking!
Naturally I take pictures of the easy parts because the hard parts are too much fun to stop
I live in Oregon (the beaver state), by a creek, went to Oregon State (the beaver school) University, and I have never managed to see a beaver dam until this trail!
Glad I took the extra day to do this section
Cool bridge, but I don't have enough friends here with rope to get my upside-down bike out of the creek
So I ride the creek crossing
Saw some horses from up on the hill
"I want to see mountains again Gandalf!"
Trail down the other side of Red Ridge
Livingston Mill, which I would like to have looked around but it's private property
More Goats at the top of Railroad Ridge
Chinese Wall and Crater Lake
Idaho is a great place, but I think Oregon Crater Lake wins this one
Alone on top for about ten minutes
Then another group of dirt bikers came up. They were on a trip from Clayton to Mountain Home by trails. They had one flat tire already, and repaired another while they were there. Then some guys on BMWs showed up. They were on some multi-day rally in the area. The dirt bike guys had come up French Creek Trail, and said the big bike guys should have no problem making it down, but after riding it myself, I hope they didn't try.
Lunch: another burger at Sawmill Station
On the way up to Buster Lake, there was a muddy spot. Picture of the aftermath
Hmm, sure seemed messy when I was there
Thought this was Buster Lake
But this one had a sign
Road on the way out
Went up the Keystone Mine Road to the Lombard ATV trail
Coming into Challis
In Challis I heard that the Halstead Fire had shut down Hwy 21 past Stanley, and while I was there the smoke went from "Can see town from the ATV trail three miles away," to "Can't see across town"
According to the map there should be mountains there
I wanted to go to Twin Peaks Lookout, but with the smoke being this bad in the valley I figured it would be a waste of time to go up there looking for a view.
So I missed the Darling Creek Road turnoff and fooled around in these hills looking for the route. Ripped up a hill to look around and found the road I want across this valley.
Came to this and figured I was on the right path
Came to this and wasn't sure which path to take.
Right was East and looked like a nicer forest, so I went there.
Wait, what's wrong with these trees?
This is no forest, it's a tomb!
Run through the tree graveyard to this road, which dead ended in those trees
Back to take the left instead, which took me up the hill, around another hill, down the last hill and to the intersection I was looking for.
What in the heck is this guy making?
Getting into some clearish skies
Summit, real trees and a clear sky. Yes!
McDonald Flat campsite
End of day...Shit, starting to lose track...