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Old 10-16-2012, 01:50 PM   #5626
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Welcome back, Mark

our next section took a bit of Hwy 12 (where Tony split off), and then turned onto dirt, and promptly hit a locked gate on Little Deep Creek road.

We backtracked and found some other dirt that headed us in the direction of White Sulphur Springs. I think Mark and Scott-NT took pavement at some point, and me, LDF and Scott-DW had to open and close some gates on these farm roads,



No matter; we ro into White Sulf Spr.



and easily found the gas / convenience store where Mark & Scott were... it's not that big of a town.



Probably more dangerous than NYC, though with all the Meth...



Puts bear-scare into perspective, don't it? There were motorcyclists too:



Scarey!



Danger everywhere.
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Old 10-16-2012, 01:54 PM   #5627
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Refueled,

fed and hydrated, we hopped onto Birch Creek road,



and headed back into the Helena NF.



Climbing up to Duck Creek Pass at 7600+ ft.



(two riders in this one if you can find 'em)

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Old 10-16-2012, 01:57 PM   #5628
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At the summit,

we were treated to high winds,



and hazy views...







Direction we're headed:

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Old 10-16-2012, 02:06 PM   #5629
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Yeh--- I think Francine was about to get blown away in this picture---super windy up there.

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Old 10-16-2012, 02:16 PM   #5630
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Your color correction was a little off on the guy wearing the a$$73$$ chaps...

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Old 10-17-2012, 06:44 AM   #5631
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Coming down the mountain

from the road,



Looking off to the right, I spied this trench dug across the face of the next rise over -- It wasn't a road, not sure what it was... fire cut? water runoff protection? mining or logging?



in the valley, we picked up Duck Creek,



before heading back into the hills and some old mining country.

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Old 10-17-2012, 06:50 AM   #5632
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Montana Bar

and Confederate Gulch,





I also spied some recent signs posted giving regulations on prospecting and panning in the area. Probably a lot more interest given the current gold prices.

We stopped for a break where we had a choice between two different routes I'd scoped out. There was the longer northern route, and the shorter vague track that cut through the NF.



We chose the shorter way...
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Old 10-17-2012, 07:04 AM   #5633
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It was past 3pm

so we'd checked the maps and scouted out a potential destination for the night. We were headed for the Smith River area which is big among paddlers.



Unbeknownst to us, we were entering a maze of private ranch land in a national forest. I had laid down a waypoint that said "Vague for 4 miles": this is what it looked like on the ground:



regarding the air quality: "if you were sitting around a campfire and the air was this smokey, you'd get up and move to the other side"

and regarding the route: "this is a PERFECTLY good road"



We'd opened and closed a couple of gates with no signs on them by this point, and clearly someone was ranching here:



sure enough, the road got really vague,



and then it would become more visible,

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Old 10-17-2012, 07:09 AM   #5634
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This was

the first gate that was posted, and there was a nice road sign beyond...



but wasn't locked...



we debated what to do, and decided to backtrack and try a go-around that Scott-NT identified on his 42" big-screen GPS.

Another perfectly good road:

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"I came into this game for the action, the excitement; go anywhere, travel light... get in, get out... wherever there's trouble, a man alone... Now they got the whole country sectioned off; you can't make a move without a form." --Robert De Niro as Archibald 'Harry' Tuttle in Brazil, 1985. The Mobius Trip index | Spot tracking live 4/18-5/4/13 | AdventureLoft™ Tent Space
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Old 10-17-2012, 07:20 AM   #5635
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More pictures me and Dingweeds took of the same area Dr. Rock is talking about.
I'm having trouble looking at my pictures and remembering where we were at.
But Dr. Rock has a much better memory than me.











Lots of gate opening and closing.




Our tassels got us through.






I wanna go back !!!!!!



BigDog
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Old 10-17-2012, 07:25 AM   #5636
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What happened next

probably shouldn't be repeated.



What I mean is... if anyone downloads our tracks for this day... the next section was in retrospect probably on private land.



Or at least public land appropriated by private individuals for their own use and at the exclusion of the public. Who knows... we just wanted to get to the next main road.



That said, at no point did we go through a gate that was posted "No Trespassing"...



and we were always on a trail that was marked on both out paper maps and the GPS's.

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Old 10-17-2012, 07:40 AM   #5637
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Quote

"This is bordering on bushwhacking"



we just kept looking down at our GPS's and following the line.





sometimes it even looked like something more than a cow had once passed there.

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Old 10-17-2012, 07:45 AM   #5638
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Sucdessfully

down off of the ridge,



we found ourselves in huge fenced-in fields, with the trail fading fast.



and finally, crossed a real honest to goodness two-track. It wasn't the one we wanted, but the maps showed a short jog south, and then it would meet up with our original route.



Hot diggity!

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Old 10-17-2012, 08:05 AM   #5639
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Of course,

after a mile, that ran into a LOCKED gated, so we headed back, and tried to follow the line on the GPS across the flats.



Totally bushwhacking again...





about a mile and a half later, we ran into another two-track, followed that north, where we quietly passed some ranch buildings and a residence, through an open gate and onto the Smith River - Camp Baker access road.

Glancing back on the open gate, I saw a sign that said "Private Property"



I just want to be clear -- at no time was our intention to trespass, and at no time did we cross anything posted, and according to our maps and GPS, we were always on public roads on public land.

I understand that in this part of the country it is incumbent on us to know the status of the land we're on -- private or public, but realistically, that's tough to do prior to departing, and even harder from the field.
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Old 10-17-2012, 08:09 AM   #5640
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At Smith River

State Park camp (no fee), we all did what we do best -- tweaking...



Connecting...



Appetizing....



Ummm....



Burrito chair... sheesh. Time to upgrade, Big Dog.
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