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Old 09-14-2011, 10:52 AM   #1
ShadyRascal OP
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Joined: Feb 2007
Location: the Root, Western Montana
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Buncha local yahoos do the Magruder

One of the more popular rides in the Northwest is the famous Magruder Corridor, which connects the Bitterroot Valley of Montana with Elk City, ID, where you can go on into Grangeville and Lewiston. It is the only route that connects these areas between Lolo pass to the north, and Challis-Stanley to the south. This route divides the Selway-Bitterroot wilderness on the north, and the Frank Church River of No Return wilderness to the south. The Frank Church adjoins the Gospel-Hump wilderness area on the south end as well. This is the largest continuous wilderness area in the lower 48 states, comprising 3,913,210 acres.

Folks come from all over the country to ride the Magruder. I live right here in Hamilton, MT, have since 1995, and have never been over the thing. Until now.

My friends Bob and Marty have been scheming on doing the ride and we finally managed to make schedules align, and I got Mrs Shady's blessing. They invited a couple of their friends, Sparky and Skip, and we got set to go. Our plan was to run from Darby to Elk City, spend the night, then head north to Lowell meeting Highway 12, over Lolo pass and home. We've had hot, dry weather and by now many fires, so we hoped to get out of some of the smoke at least part of the time. This remained to be seen.

Ready to ride!



Met up at Safeway in Hamilton at 9 AM



Rolled on to Darby, topped off the tanks, and up West Fork road to the Nez Perce road.



Up Nez Perce pass is a fun ride, still pavement and curvy. We get to the top in no time.









Archery season is open, and there were a few outfitters set up in the hills. These are some hard workin' folks.



Good signage and info on top the pass.







On we ride, through green forests, scenic vistas, and burned forest. Lots of burned forest.















Stopped and ate lunch at the Magruder Massacre sign. This is a very interesting story, about Lloyd Magruder who was a prominant person back in the day, who was killed along with his employees for the gold and cash they were transporting from Bannack and Virginia City MT to Lewiston, where they delivered supplies from. It was very difficult getting through this country back in those days, and very dangerous. The story is told very well in a book called "This Bloody Deed" by Ladd Hamilton. Ladd also wrote a book called "Snowbound" about a hunting party who were trapped on Lolo pass, having to leave a man behind named George Colgate. The Colgate Licks on Lolo pass is named after him, and his grave is there. I highly recommend both books.





We ventured on, through the burned areas and more remote wilderness.





Came down the hill to an old ranger station which was very cool.













On we rode, through more burned areas. This being wilderness, they just let fires go when lightning starts them. Here is a spot that burned in our Great Fires of 2000, then lit up and burned again a couple years back.





We decided to head up the road and check out the Burnt Knob Fire Lookout. Bob on his V Strom was in front of me, with the other guys behind. We work our way up a very technical, steep, rocky road. I was very impressed with how Bob maneuvered his Strom through, and over, the boulders.

This is where we're headed.



We pick our way through the toughest stuff, then get to a point of the road that wasn't too bad. I'm looking down at some rocks that I'm trials-biking my way through, and look up just in time to see Bob's V-Strom on it's side.

Now, Bob is a man of substantual stature, and is a very laid back and gentle guy. I don't recall really ever seeing him move real fast, or acrobatically. However, when I looked up, the Strom had slapped down on its right side, and here's Bob in mid-air going off the side of the hill. Towards all the rocks.

The only way I can really describe this is if you took your pet cat and threw it off the porch into your steep hillside rock garden. That is, if your cat was about 6 feet tall and the high side of 250. Bob was all feet, hands, assholes and elbows, and he's grabbing at rocks and pawing at ground and coming to a rest some feet down the hill. He looked kind of like a big linebacker slapping his way through the offensive line after a quarterback. It was quite impressive, and much more quick and coordinated than I could have hoped to be, given the same situation.

I fought to get the camera out as quickly as possible, being as a picture on ADV Rider with your bike down is a few steps in importance over, say, a punctured lung. Bob was up and back to the bike by the time my shutter clicked. Sparky had ridden past, not having a spot to stop on his DR650. This is steeper than it looks in the picture.



I got to Bob and asked if he was all right. He had a finger that was sticking out sideways, and grabbed & crunched it back straight (sort of). Some cuts and tears on his hands that I tended to with my handy-dandy little med kit. He was a little shaky with the big adrenaline surge, and picked the bike up mostly without my help. I ask what happened, after all that super technical boulder stuff he'd gone through to fall here. Said he didn't know, just suddenly Whap! the bike was down and he was grabbin' rocks. We headed for the top, and the lookout.









Fires torching in the distance



I see that I stand kind of funny when I'm one step from a 500 foot fall to my death. I don't like heights.



Back down the main road, we fix Bob's broken turn signal with duct tape, which still actually works. On we rode, and finally came down to the pavement at the end of the Magruder Corridor road. Soon as we got up to speed on the pavement, I took a bee right to the adam's apple and that sucker stung me.





Into Elk City we go for gas, dinner, beer, and up to Red River Hot Springs for the evening where we will stay.





This beer and cigar tasted quite good. First beer of the night too, but I look like I've had ten.



Sacked out in my trusty little tent. The place is off the grid, and I was so tired I never even heard the generator run out of gas and shut down, and didn't hear any padding around of the wolf pack the owner said comes around pretty regular after things get quiet. There was no smoke here, which was very nice, and no bugs at all either. Perfect.



Morning comes, and I whip up a couple of breakfast burritos on the griddle out by the pool.



We get packed up and head out at a reasonable time, back into Elk City.















Couple of guys there from Seattle area on KTM 640's, doing the opposite route we were taking.



We get going north out of Elk City, picking our way towards Lowell ID where the Lochsa and the Selway join to form the Clearwater. The forests are healthy and beautiful.





At last, we come down out of the mountains to the Selway River.







It's just a few miles to Lowell from there, and now on pavement we feel like we have wings. In no time I'm rolling along the Lochsa and up to Lolo pass.



From there it was just point & shoot, up over the familiar pass to Lolo for a meal, then our good-byes and back down the valley to Hamilton. In the two days we covered 400 miles, and a very large part of that was dirt. It was great therapy and we all had a very memorable time. Over our meals in Lolo we were already scheming on a different loop for next year.



It don't get much better than that.
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Originally Posted by Javarilla

Evolution, or, natural selection, has nothing to do with better.

It merely weeds out what is no longer suitable for the given context.


Originally Posted by Dragoon

I would rather be on my motorcycle thinking about God than in church thinking about my motorcycle.

ShadyRascal screwed with this post 09-14-2011 at 12:44 PM
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Old 09-14-2011, 11:08 AM   #2
Bill_Z
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That ride feels pretty good from my cubicle. I must really need to get out. Good report and great pics. Thanks, I needed that!
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Now far ahead the road has gone and I must follow if I can." J.R.R. Tolkien
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Old 09-14-2011, 06:06 PM   #3
TheAdmiral
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Did the Magruder a couple years ago. Amazing how much of the forest is burnt, isn't it? My wife had been on the Magruder as a kid, but didn't remember it. Her folks found a photo of her taken in about the same spot as you at Burnt Knob L.O with the lakes in the background, so there is evidence she was there. I took a modern photo of her on our visit at about the same spot. It's a great ride, though the side trip up to Burnt Knob is as rough as you depict. We also did a short side trip up to Green Mtn L.O. and stayed at the campground near it. If I remember right, it's called Poet Creek, er sumpin like that.

Thanks for sharing and bringing back the memories.
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Old 09-16-2011, 06:51 PM   #4
Ladybug0048
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The Magurder is one of the many rides I've wanted to do for some time but haven't done yet. I was starting to think it wasn't going to open this year but it did and looks like it was a blast. Thanks for sharing your ride.
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Old 09-18-2011, 05:09 PM   #5
ShadyRascal OP
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Location: the Root, Western Montana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladybug0048 View Post
The Magurder is one of the many rides I've wanted to do for some time but haven't done yet. I was starting to think it wasn't going to open this year but it did and looks like it was a blast. Thanks for sharing your ride.
Now is going to be perfect after the rain we just had----go for it!
__________________
Originally Posted by Javarilla

Evolution, or, natural selection, has nothing to do with better.

It merely weeds out what is no longer suitable for the given context.


Originally Posted by Dragoon

I would rather be on my motorcycle thinking about God than in church thinking about my motorcycle.
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