This past weekend, my wife and I decided to go back to Owyhee County, in extreme SW Idaho, as a follow up to our earlier in the month ride around Juniper Mtn. Though we would have to ride in some of the previous areas, we wanted to do more exploring of the area before the heat of summer sets in, particularly Crutcher's Crossing.
Our plan for the day after departing camp, was to head south on Juniper Mtn, veer SE towards Red Canyon, head west to Bull Basin Camp and south towards Crutcher's Crossing. Problem was, when we got to Bull Basin Camp, there was a no trespassing sign posted on the fence, which we thought we had to go through in order to head south. We scratched our heads for a while and decided to keep heading west towards the C Ranch and see if there was another access road to the crossing. Well, we didn't find one, and with the day getting long, we decided to head back to camp and study the maps/gps and try and figure a way to the crossing. Of, course we still had some adventuring to accomplish before camp.
Our weekends routes
After passing Juniper Mtn, something caught my eye. At first I thought it was a mine, but turned out to be some kind of dugout and not a mine entrance
What ever this place was, (guessing a cowboy camp and now days a hunting camp) it was still neat
As we headed south near Rough Mtn., we came to a crossroads. Actually, the BLM has marked these old jeep trails really well. We would run into signs like this at almost every intersection
On to Red Canyon and Bull Basin. Through the natural gap in the distance is the Owyhee River Canyon. Took 2 days to get down there, but we eventually made it
My wife and Jessie Dog as we head west towards Red Canyon
With the area being so remote, we can just park on the jeep trail for lunch without worrying about blocking the trail. Only saw 4 other ATV's the first morning and 2 SUV's the next day.
Beautiful view of Owyhee River Canyon from our lunch spot.
Continuing west after lunch towards Bull Basin, we dip down into Red Canyon. Really pretty this time of year
Of course we've been geocaching along the way. Here is one after we left Red Canyon. Georgie trying to keep cool in the shade of the tree
Peter Creek. Not as deep of a descent as Red Canyon, but still pretty
From here we made it to Bull Basin Camp where we couldn't decide if we were allowed to go through the private property. So, at the time we decided to keep heading west and eventually ended up at the C Ranch (no photo's).
At this point weren't not lost lost, but we do end up on a dead end spur and had to double back before taking a different trail back towards the east. So after a few hours of riding in the middle of some Juniper tree's, we come to another marked intersection. Well, wife said it was only 5:30 so we headed to the Middle Fork of the Owyhee River
As the wife approaches the river, Georgie guides her into were I parked
Jessie Dog takes a little break in the water to cool off.
So does Georgie and my wife
Here is the Middle Fork of the Owyhee River. I bet it's close to bone dry during the heat of the summer. Not to deep at the end of May
Neat rock formations in these canyon's
and another rock formation. Very pretty spot if you want to cowboy camp. Ain't getting no 5th wheel camper down here!!
Well, after stopping here for a while, we called it a day and headed back to camp.
Next morning, the lovely couple is ready to head off and make it to Crutcher's Crossing. (Note the darkening clouds)
Today we take the direct route south over Juniper Mtn, past Bull Basin Camp and start our descent into Crutcher's Crossing. After some lengthy discussion, we decided we could pass through the no trespassing area as long as we stayed on the road. The road to Crutcher's Crossing is a corridor road through the wilderness area, so we had to be allowed...right? I think we're ok
We have to be ok. In the far right of this photo is a SUV approaching from the crossing. We talked with them for a while, and they've been here before and agreed that it's just fine to pass through Bull Basin Camp as long as we stay on the road
Another view of the canyon as we're getting closer
The river is in sight!!! And not to soon. I've already dropped the TW on the rocks while descending. I didn't fall and didn't notice any damage (Yet), so I kept going. I was however thinking to myself how steep this is and how am I gonna get back up after dropping the TW already. Then I started to use my brain...I have a dual sprocket setup with a 55T to get me out of trouble. Yeah, that's what I'll do, change to my trail sprocket. Hadn't needed it up to this point
Looking left, I can see the old grain bin near the homestead site. Not sure how or why they needed a grain bin down here. Must of been hard to get it here but there is also no real place to grow crops! You can also see the road on the far side across the river (south).
And here we are at the old Crutcher's Crossing homestead site. Not much left of the old wood structure's which burned in the 2007 as a result of a large range fire started by lightning. This homestead started by some cowboy/ranchers back in the 1880's to drive cattle across the river, and hold them up in the winter. Legend also mentions that horse and cattle thief's used this spot as well.
You can't actually cross the river from the homestead site. Maybe once upon a time you could, but now you have to head down stream a few hundred yards in order to actually cross the river. We didn't cross, but had our lunch along the banks down by the river. Great views of the canyon!!
Georgie spending a little time in the water cooling off. By the way, it wasn't really that warm and the clouds are starting to build
After lunch, I spent about 10 minutes changing to my 55T sprocket. What a great mod this has turned out to be. I give full credit to mrgizmow and all the others which pioneered this dual sprocket setup
Well, as you can see by my wife's rain gear, that it started to rain on our way out. Hard rain with winds. Ended up raining all the way back to camp. About 17-18 miles or so. And good and slow just to make sure I got good and wet!
Wife also carried all the dogs back out of Crutcher's Crossing. I was pretty nervous making it out of there on the TW and didn't need a dog on the back distracting me. Ended up making it out just fine. TW tractored right on up the hill without skipping a beat. My heart on the other hand...
Well folks, that just about wraps up this ride report. Just one thing of note though, after we got back to camp and unloaded our machine's, I noticed my metal water bottle had a new shape to it. Apparently dropping your TW on the rock's, can cause some damage. Glad it was the water bottle and not the TW...or me!!