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Old 08-23-2013, 10:59 AM   #406
CBAT
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The wilderness looks fantastic! The trails probably beyond my skills.
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Old 08-23-2013, 01:00 PM   #407
jakbrand
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Trail Junkie

Quote:
Originally Posted by ejtv View Post
No question in my mind this was some of the more difficult terrain we I had ridden to date since leaving Baton Rouge a few years ago, primarily because of the consequences of a mistake. The trail behind us around the corner to get to this spot, for example, had very little room for errors...

ET,

Agreed. I endured plenty stress and fatigue on Day 3 due to a self inflicted emotional whipsaw.

Let me explain the term "trail junkie". When fearing for my life navigating an especially difficult remote section, I wanted out. Immediately after escaping disaster on said difficult trail, I wanted more!








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Old 08-23-2013, 03:17 PM   #408
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SaltWash 2013 Day 3 (part 4)

The last push today was up Castle Creek and then a fairly recent reroute up Slide Rock Canyon, beautiful work again by those who built the trail...







This is on the ridge north of Slide Rock Canyon:



And just making our way to the beautiful descent....



...a thrilling one on the north side of that ridge into Baker Creek:



Here was our campsite along Norton Creek, again, for us campsite-snobs not one of our best, but that's as far as we got, with weather and wind threatening:



Jakbrand boils water for our gourmet meals:



And no, he never takes those Sidi's off. I think he sleeps with them on too.

Of note, this site was "deer highway". They are not shy in Idaho. I could have killed a buck or two with a 9mm, that's how close they were to my tent that evening...

Overall, a-rider got an "A" for route planning today, but he was already starting to worry about our progress and getting to our destination on time for our flights home from Spokane since we only did less than a third of the mileage he expected today on this rugged single track--partly because I take my time...i don't ride at race pace...and take pictures. I think he stressed out every evening planning all the necessary shortcuts....
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Old 08-24-2013, 06:21 AM   #409
jakbrand
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Day 4

A-Rider spent time last night creating a catch up reroute for Day 4. He said we would ride singletrack in the morning, dirt roads in the afternoon then a few miles of curvy pavement before arriving in Idaho City for gas this evening. A-Rider also said that unless we "borrowed" gas along the way we would not refuel until Idaho City. We would test the range of our oversized fuel tanks.




Morning temps hovered around 50 degrees as we started riding singletrack in Sawtooth National Forest.








EJTV in lower right corner of photo





I don't recommend solo exploring on these remote trails.

More than a few section require teamwork.


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Old 08-24-2013, 06:29 AM   #410
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SaltWash 2013 Day 4 (part 1)

Day 4 would take us closer to the western edge of the Sawtooth NF near Boise ID, but at our current pace, we needed to start cutting back on single track and thinking about dreaded pavement at some point. By now the routine of setting up camp, boiling water for hydrating our dinner, eating, sleeping, waking, boiling water for hot chocolate, repacking, gearing up and starting our engines ready to ride by 8 AM or so was almost automatic. And was I sore despite going to the gym and riding trials 3 times a week for months in preparation for this trip. My quads and specially my hands were letting me know they weren't as ready for this as I wanted.

I found that the riding here in Idaho requires more physical, mental and emotional toughness than the riding on the mountains of Utah and Colorado. Here are some possible explanations: Few if any high dominating peaks to use as navigational (and emotional) landmarks, technically challenging and very diverse single-track (rocks, sand, mud, logs, switchbacks, steep climbs and descents, creek crossings, etc), sections with very small margin for error with big big drops, isolated, and above all the riding from one small valley to the next and to the next and to the next all in quick succession. All of this also requires, at least for this kind of point to point multi-day-camping dirt riding on technical terrain, a lot of flexibility and understanding on the part of the riders, particularly recognizing and accepting who the ride leader is for that day, forgiving navigational mistakes, recognizing strengths and weaknesses as they develop throughout the day and especially adapting accordingly. I found that being humble, accepting my own weaknesses was essential.

Well, enough sermonizing. So here we are climbing up to and down from one of the many saddles in this NF





This is Big Smokey Creek, which we would follow for several miles and which smoked two of us. First A-rider, who as ride leader scouted for us. We didn't see his fall crossing this very tricky section, but we could tell he was soaked head to toe: unfortunately he stalled right in the middle, put his foot down, slipped and bike fell over him and he got stuck there for a long while. This is a picture of jakbrand clearing the section right after the crossing itself.



More of the incredible work building and maintaining these trails! Can you imagine the amount of sand that needed to be carried to fill in the cracks between these boulders?





Another tricky section crossing Big Smokey Creek. Nobody got wet here, but stalling on the sandy climb on the other side of the crossing cost me a lot of energy, even with all the pushing assistance from A-rider. Here's jakbrand crossing with ease (and then clearing the climb too):

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Old 08-24-2013, 07:54 AM   #411
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Really impressive stuff guys!
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Old 08-24-2013, 11:22 AM   #412
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SaltWash 2013 Day 4 (Part 2)

Is this why it's called Big Smokey Creek?

We all watched A-rider cross first, struggling to keep the bike upright in the last several feet bouncing downstream, then upstream, then finally across. I went next and took a slightly more upstream line and almost ate it at the end but gunned it before losing it, barely made it across. Jakbrand wasn't as lucky:









That KTM needed cleaning anyway. Fortunately water didn't get to the air box. So now dwip, a-rider, jakbrand and this rider have taken their share of water in creek crossings out west

We continued along Big Smokey and its canyon for a while longer. This picture does no justice to how intimidating some sections were for me, narrow, rocky and big drops:



Of course I hardly took pictures on the hairy sections. Here's quite a pastoral setting flowers and all:



And eventually we found why it is called Big Smokey...the Skillern Hot Springs, a much welcomed relief from gripping my handlebars for dear life...For years we have been talking about relaxing in hot springs on these trips... finally a reality! I didn't know this, but Idaho is the state with the highest,concentration of hot springs in the nation, offering more than 230...



The hot water coming from the side of the mountain was mixed with cold creek water on three different pools. Water temperatures could be regulated by controlling the flow of cold or hot water into the pools with rocks. In this picture, jakbrand points to a hot springs waterfall in the distance. I eventually walked there, after putting all my gear on, only to find out the best pool of them all, actually substantially better than the three we had just used; not better, probably the best setting for a whirlpool, ever, crystal clear water, 4 feet deep, large enough for four or five people, spectacular views, perfect temperature, pristine. I was frustrated we missed it and now it was time to go...
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Old 08-24-2013, 12:19 PM   #413
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Big Smokey Creek

trail flowed nicely along the scenic river






but the steep drop off did not allow for any mistakes.




Then A-Rider sniffed out a hot spring next to the trail and announced it was bath time. This hot spring was much more relaxing than my first icy dunk in Big Smokey Creek!
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Old 08-24-2013, 05:37 PM   #414
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SaltWash 2013 Day 4 (part 3)

From the hot springs back to the bikes:



No pictures from me of the last section down Smokey which was just as scary as the prior ones. When confronted with a fork going up or down a canyon on single track...always take the high trail instead of the low trail....guaranteed to get your pants wet...

After that, it was back to fast jeep roads for the rest of the day. We reached Featherville in time for beer and burgers:



on the go reroute due to no trespassing signs:





Big Smokey eventually flows into the South Fork Boise River:



Another rest stop after what seemed like forever on these jeep roads, at Twin Springs' George's Tavern:





Short anecdote, I went to the restroom and then as usual, tried refreshing my face with water, but, there was only hot water in the men's bathroom, so I went to the ladies bathroom....same thing, only hot water. I asked the caretaker what was going on. He said the town has a sulphur free hot spring water supply. And that instead of water heaters, they have cooling tanks buried underground, so cold water is scarce.

We also posed for the local NSA camera :



And bought $8 a gallon gas:

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Old 08-24-2013, 07:43 PM   #415
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SaltWash 2013 Day 4 (part 4)

Still on jeep roads. Making our way to Idaho City we played on Arrowrock Reservoir:







Arrowrock dam, built in 1915. Immediately on the other side of this dam was Lucky Peak Reservoir and further downstream, Lucky Peak Dam, built in 1950.



Dinner in Idaho City:

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Old 08-25-2013, 05:24 PM   #416
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SaltWash 2013 Day 5 (Part 1)

We had a chance to do a little bike maintenance late afternoon yesterday and early AM today, then breakfast. After we were done eating, we drooled over this:





For days we were wondering how trail rangers carried their tools for maintenance of the single track trail system in Idaho's NFs, horses perhaps? Like we said, amazing work. So this is how. We want that set up for our bikes back home as we build trails too! When we retire, soon we hope, we want jobs as single track trail rangers. And we'll do it for free if necessary. Heck, we'll bring our own bikes! Where do we apply?

Packing up:



Let the re routing begin:



Lots of gravel roads for a while...





Not a great picture, but on these gravel roads we rode fast, practicing drifting on every turn. Loads of fun.



Taking a break:



Finally some single track! along Deadwood Ridge and towards Deadwood Dam and Reservoir. The trail began innocently enough:



But it soon turned into the most challenging single track so far this week. Once again, it was all about the consequences of possible rider error....this time, the drops were big, really big. At times I asked myself, what are motorcycles doing up here...







Then we see A-rider, who is usually miles ahead of me, off his bike, always a bad sign. Of course the pictures don't show how steep this tricky switchback along the rock face was, etc...we pretty much scouted it on all fours.......but we all cleared it:





A well deserved break up top:



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Old 08-26-2013, 05:44 AM   #417
jakbrand
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Arrowrock Reservoir

not known for OHV riding is actually a cool place to ride.










The crust along the seemingly innocuous shoreline will crack and swollow a moto.

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Old 08-26-2013, 06:14 AM   #418
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how many miles \ hours you got on your ktms??
any problems by far?
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:14 AM   #419
jakbrand
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We rolled into Idaho City

at sunset. I immediately felt comfortable in this friendly former gold rush town surrounded by beautiful forest and mountains. I could spend the entire summer here riding, hiking and camping in Idaho's high country. I might even try panning for gold to pay for the trip.

We were officially one full day behind schedule and after a good sleep we drifted out of town shortly after sunrise.









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Old 08-26-2013, 06:25 AM   #420
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We headed north though Boise National Forest on a mix of dirt roads and singletrack towards Cascade.

























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