Four Brothers, Four Days along Idaho's Nez Perce Trail

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by Jason Abbott, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. Jason Abbott

    Jason Abbott Long time Idaho rider

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho, USA
    <div style="font: normal normal 14pt Georgia, Times New Roman, Sans-Serif;line-height: 1.2em; margin: 0;"><p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Mild afternoons leading up to the Labor Day weekend gave us little reason to expect a rare encounter with <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thundersnow">thundersnow</a>. Lightning flashed brilliant red and blue (its spectrum cut apart in the reflection of falling snow) and thunder roared around us like muzzle blasts from a cosmic cop, hot on our trail.</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">More than the usual planning was invested in our third annual brother ride. We were interested in seeing some new country and tried to find a practical route into <a href="http://www.summitpost.org/area/range/288752/mallard-larkins-pioneer-area.html">Mallard-Larkins</a>, a rugged expanse of high lakes isolated among rock-faced mountains that has been on our wish-list for a couple years. When I calculated that Joel and Jesse would need a full tank of gas just <em>getting</em> to Mallard-Larkins and back, it was time to consider alternatives. It wasn’t enough just to get there. We needed to continue mountain riding for four days!</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">So the plan shifted somewhat south where gas is marginally more available, we could follow the historic <a href="http://idptv.state.id.us/outdoors/shows/backroadadventures/lolo.cfm">Lolo Motorway</a>, visit the <a href="http://www.forwolves.org/ralph/wpages/the-great-burn-roadless.htm">Great Burn</a>, a rugged area to rival Mallard-Larkins, and all in fewer miles.</p> <div style="text-align: center; margin-bottom: 1em;"><iframe style="border: 1px solid black;" height="450" marginheight="0" src="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Moscow,+ID&daddr=Elk+River,+ID+to:46.81959,-116.03445+to:46.78285,-115.84238+to:pierce,+ID+to:46.4669846,-115.177191+to:46.5341298,-115.0029122+to:46.523568,-114.907046+to:National+Forest+Development+Rd+102+to:46.5495,-114.70846+to:Unknown+road+to:5245+to:46.64106,-115.52164+to:46.7898641,-115.6645382+to:pierce,+ID+to:46.49198,-116.76271+to:Kendrick,+ID+to:46.67321,-116.74161+to:46.692783,-116.78293+to:Moscow,+ID&hl=en&geocode=FWMUyQIdG7gG-SnRYcAiLSGgVDFsrermDRX9Pg%3BFRrcyQIdYDwT-SkLgrnQ-PlfUzGFY_o8S1dEAw%3BFQZpygIdbnQV-Sk1ep4KeeVfUzGoVwbHKJ88jA%3BFYLZyQIdtGIY-SnHK-CDmulfUzGb0J_NaD1jRw%3BFY1lxQIdCwwZ-SmpPRgC2YRfUzE90dIkzhdHgQ%3BFagHxQIdGYki-SkD8zRb_AZfUzHC8SPKT-orBA%3BFfENxgId4DEl-SmBEmABov9eUzFp1BYK6OWR6w%3BFbDkxQIdWqgm-SnFJ9OPUvleUzGqv15HqExPVg%3BFS21xQIdRoYp-Q%3BFfxJxgIdFLAp-SlnyIPlMvFeUzHv0_jvxQ0i2w%3BFb6pxwIdToIn-Q%3BFTCKyQIdYMMg-Q%3BFaSvxwIdmEcd-Sk_9rRXY7tfUzGQNAJTkCn2GQ%3BFej0yQIdZhkb-SmZdgfWyMZfUzGBdlPcpOX34w%3BFY1lxQIdCwwZ-SmpPRgC2YRfUzE90dIkzhdHgQ%3BFUxpxQIdqlcK-SlBhbfiXTigVDHgaTSq9NBfIQ%3BFSxGxwIdch0M-SkraEyyNRagVDHCg7i8FFL81A%3BFTotyAIdFqoK-SmtE9_FfhigVDHxKb3C_KP1Tw%3BFa95yAIdrggK-SlhRSQ4DiKgVDEPpcYhFPcRWg%3BFWMUyQIdG7gG-SnRYcAiLSGgVDFsrermDRX9Pg&mra=dpe&mrcr=3&mrsp=9&sz=13&via=2,3,5,6,7,9,12,13,15,17,18&sll=46.53513,-114.746532&sspn=0.088447,0.166855&ie=UTF8&ll=46.522966,-115.488281&spn=0.850421,1.782532&t=p&z=9&output=embed" frameborder="0" width="650" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no"></iframe> <br /><small><a style="text-align: center; font-size: 8pt; line-height: 1em; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;" href="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=embed&saddr=Moscow,+ID&daddr=Elk+River,+ID+to:46.81959,-116.03445+to:46.78285,-115.84238+to:pierce,+ID+to:46.4669846,-115.177191+to:46.5341298,-115.0029122+to:46.523568,-114.907046+to:National+Forest+Development+Rd+102+to:46.5495,-114.70846+to:Unknown+road+to:5245+to:46.64106,-115.52164+to:46.7898641,-115.6645382+to:pierce,+ID+to:46.49198,-116.76271+to:Kendrick,+ID+to:46.67321,-116.74161+to:46.692783,-116.78293+to:Moscow,+ID&hl=en&geocode=FWMUyQIdG7gG-SnRYcAiLSGgVDFsrermDRX9Pg%3BFRrcyQIdYDwT-SkLgrnQ-PlfUzGFY_o8S1dEAw%3BFQZpygIdbnQV-Sk1ep4KeeVfUzGoVwbHKJ88jA%3BFYLZyQIdtGIY-SnHK-CDmulfUzGb0J_NaD1jRw%3BFY1lxQIdCwwZ-SmpPRgC2YRfUzE90dIkzhdHgQ%3BFagHxQIdGYki-SkD8zRb_AZfUzHC8SPKT-orBA%3BFfENxgId4DEl-SmBEmABov9eUzFp1BYK6OWR6w%3BFbDkxQIdWqgm-SnFJ9OPUvleUzGqv15HqExPVg%3BFS21xQIdRoYp-Q%3BFfxJxgIdFLAp-SlnyIPlMvFeUzHv0_jvxQ0i2w%3BFb6pxwIdToIn-Q%3BFTCKyQIdYMMg-Q%3BFaSvxwIdmEcd-Sk_9rRXY7tfUzGQNAJTkCn2GQ%3BFej0yQIdZhkb-SmZdgfWyMZfUzGBdlPcpOX34w%3BFY1lxQIdCwwZ-SmpPRgC2YRfUzE90dIkzhdHgQ%3BFUxpxQIdqlcK-SlBhbfiXTigVDHgaTSq9NBfIQ%3BFSxGxwIdch0M-SkraEyyNRagVDHCg7i8FFL81A%3BFTotyAIdFqoK-SmtE9_FfhigVDHxKb3C_KP1Tw%3BFa95yAIdrggK-SlhRSQ4DiKgVDEPpcYhFPcRWg%3BFWMUyQIdG7gG-SnRYcAiLSGgVDFsrermDRX9Pg&mra=dpe&mrcr=3&mrsp=9&sz=13&via=2,3,5,6,7,9,12,13,15,17,18&sll=46.53513,-114.746532&sspn=0.088447,0.166855&ie=UTF8&ll=46.522966,-115.488281&spn=0.850421,1.782532&t=p&z=9">View Larger Map</a></small> </div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Seasoned <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_GS">GS</a> riders will tell you that the clanks and thunks reminiscent of a vintage tractor are only the big bike’s happy ruminations. Since I’m not yet a seasoned GS rider, I decided to prepare for the trip by changing gear fluids to see with my own eyes that the drive-train was in good shape.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4093/4918798222_288d71c48a_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4101/4918794746_c2f6b1bf2f_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Good news: there were no chunks of metal, the fluids looked clear, and the shaft splines were clean. I’ll worry less about the noises. The exercise, however, would factor into a later adventure (stay tuned).</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">My trip from Boise to Moscow was an uneventful highway ride. Temperatures were moderate and traffic was light as I listened to hours of science fiction podcasts.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4084/4972124145_11aa493b33_b.jpg" /><p style="display: block; font-family: Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans serif; font-size: 12pt; color: #999; text-align: center; padding-bottom: 2px; margin-bottom: 0.5em;">Payette Lake</p> </div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">This was the first year our brotherly quartet would be <em>complete</em>. Like me, <a href="http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1215493615">Jeremy</a> would spend a day traveling to Moscow—in his case, from the Seattle area. Since he is between motorcycles, I started making calls in the spring to shops in Boise and Moscow. I wasn’t surprised to find that nobody rents motorcycles.</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Seeing <a href="http://www.advrider.com/forums/member.php?u=135106">Toni</a> in June during our <a href="http://my.idaho-adventure.com/2010/06/hells-canyon-2010-getting-there.html">Hells Canyon and Wallowa Valley ride</a>, I was reminded that he is a University of Idaho student and so would have his motorcycle in Moscow come Labor Day. His KLR would be a good size for Jeremy. My discomfort at asking such a large favor was allayed by Toni’s graciousness.</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">I gave Toni a call once Jeremy showed up in Moscow. Toni offered us unique German beers left over from his twenty-first birthday party as Jeremy and I stepped into his apartment. What a guy! It meant a lot to us that Jeremy would be able to join the ride, thanks to Toni.</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Back at our mom’s place, Jeremy worked his gear into various configurations—an effort not unlike stacking cards—validated with a brief test ride.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4087/4972126665_56ab5444d7_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4087/4972127935_1ea9642cac_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">With the bikes ready, we turned our attention to securing rations (beef jerky, granola bars and whiskey). Well, except for <a href="http://www.facebook.com/joelmabbott">Joel</a>. <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jilldyan">Jill</a> prepared individually wrapped meals and two snacks for each day in the mountains, complete with labels and cooking instructions. Abundant <a href="http://www.princessbrideforever.com/">twue wuv</a> apparently left Joel incapable of his own preparations. “What, no toilet paper? I think I saw some leaves over there ...” The rest of us weren’t about to share with mister I-have-everything-made-for-me.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4146/4972361187_26e7ff26fd_b.jpg" /><p style="display: block; font-family: Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans serif; font-size: 12pt; color: #999; text-align: center; padding-bottom: 2px; margin-bottom: 0.5em;">Joel’s Saturday afternoon snack</p> </div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Jeremy and I sat the next morning to a mom-made breakfast. Our rations and gear were compressed to portable dimensions, ready for travel. Casey would be joining us again this year on his XRL, our token non-Abbott. Although it’s a “brother” ride, we don’t mind having someone along to absorb the trip’s misfortunes, as seems to be his fate.</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Soon Jesse and Casey arrived and we were just waiting for Joel. And waiting. Finally we got word he’d been called into work to fix an issue. Darn. Jesse needed to adjust his chain so we went to his place to finish our wait.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4124/4972743808_62aefb6a87_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">We would take Highway 8 to Elk River and mystery roads thereafter. We were barely out of Moscow when Jeremy lost a new water bottle to the unforgiving asphalt. We stopped in <a href="http://my.idaho-adventure.com/2010/07/troy-days-and-moscow-mountain.html">Troy</a> to check straps and fend off further losses.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4153/4972745102_cd1ff41e09_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Jeremy hadn’t been this way in many years. Memories popping to mind gave him a bobble-head, eyes bouncing left and right at sites along the highway.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4147/4972131977_0ed6558ed5_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4153/4972133419_67806e2eb7_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4152/4972749352_4c80d25d01_b.jpg" /><p style="display: block; font-family: Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans serif; font-size: 12pt; color: #999; text-align: center; padding-bottom: 2px; margin-bottom: 0.5em;">Of course</p> </div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">We stopped at <a href="http://elkriverlodge.net/elk_river_lodge_&_general_store.htm">Huckleberry Heaven</a> in Elk River to give the bikes some gas and ourselves some sugar for the miles ahead. It was the end of highway riding.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4106/4972136557_6bdc050983_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Perhaps I clicked some option in the <a href="http://www.delorme.com/">DeLorme mapping software</a> along the lines of “avoid every convenience.” Outside of Elk River, we were routed in short order from pavement to gravel and then jeep trail. We were surprised those trails were even <em>known</em> to the GPS. It was fun going but made us question whether it really was the right direction.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4130/4972753922_67819ac103_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4110/4972755492_dbc2519057_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4107/4972757140_d6e33ff9fc_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4113/4972154347_1c254d7926_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">After other uncertain but entertaining trails, we settled onto the gravel Aquarius Road leading to the upper end of <a href="http://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/dworshak.aspx">Dworshak Reservoir</a>. By then we had taken to calling Jeremy the freshman as he struggled to keep his camping gear attached to the bike, particularly on washboard roads.</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Noticing his absence from our mirrors, the rest of us would stop.</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">“Where’s Jeremy?”</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">“Oh, he probably just lost something again.”</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Some would light a cigarette and I would shoot a few pictures to pass the time. It seemed safe to laugh it up a little since we’d all experienced the same hassles our first year out. Jeremy appeared to understand but didn’t laugh as much about it himself.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4127/4972156211_eed99cd3da_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">We stopped on Grandad Bridge to enjoy the view from high above Dworshak Reservoir. I think we also enjoyed seeing our route validated. We’d arrived somewhere as intended!</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4144/4972771352_0773d0cf3c_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4108/4972159043_6ec7f69073_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4148/4972773774_5a7a651114_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4112/4972162601_ff0691f049_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">We seemed to enter a different ecosystem as we climbed eastward from Grandad. The forest around was lit beautifully by golden afternoon light as we passed in cool shade under moss-laden branches.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4108/4972778614_cfdf39af1c_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">We saw hardly anyone across the forty miles of dirt and gravel we’d come from Elk River. That all changed when we arrived at Highway 11. It was like a series of RV dealerships along the road. I think the population density of most cities is lower than it was along the highway there. A peculiar “get-away” I thought.</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">When we saw the Pierce gas station only serves 87 octane we turned up our noses and remounted our bikes to find alternatives. At the opposite end of town, some twenty seconds later, we realized there weren’t alternatives.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4130/4972170119_f622fcf6fc_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4151/4972785590_24e091b510_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">According to the GPS, our journey should follow a curious route immediately east of town. We climbed up a little side street to what seemed like someone’s gravel driveway before the road opened onto a small clearing. Where next? We saw only an ATV track heading into the woods. That must be it.</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">A lengthy climb through trees was a little challenging but everyone continued without mishap. I think we were curious to see, once again, how this could possibly be the right direction. We dropped briefly onto a gravel road before the route directed us back to more ATV trails. It was fun going even as we went deeper into the woods and the trail narrowed.</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Some challenging sections are fun—up on the pegs, modulate throttle—but when the trail became the slippery and rutted course of a little stream, I was just feeling lucky, moment-to-moment, that I hadn’t dumped it. It was time to turn back—too early in our trip for tumbles.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4105/4972787180_9ed5b7a166_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Fortunately, we’d passed another trail not far back. Casey’s and my GPS didn’t show that it would get us through, but hey ... that’s why it’s called <em>adventure</em>. We weren’t about to backtrack farther than that. God forbid.</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">On the other trail, we soon passed another intersection and chose the direction most likely to intersect our original course. But no. The dirt track ended abruptly at a muddy mine entrance. Not a good sign for our route but neat nonetheless. We took a few minutes to explore. We were able to walk quite a long ways back into the mountain, much deeper than other mines I’ve encountered lately.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4146/4972788786_6ed1093573_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">What next? We were sure that God still forbade backtracking so we would try the other direction at the intersection. The trail curved and it didn’t take us long to realize we were connecting back to our original route, back to an actual dirt road. Hooray! It all worked out. Surely there are life lessons in there.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4150/4972176865_2f31f21203_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">We had seen camp trailers and RVs stacked along the edge of Highway 11 like driftwood along asphalt shores. But in the miles and miles of dirt roads across valleys and ridges since then, back on our route, we saw no one. Well appointed campsites were empty—no people. Their loss, our gain, we figured.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4106/4972178467_27091481eb_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">I had marked Rocky Ridge Lake and Horseshoe Lake as campsite candidates. Although I thought we were close, I wasn’t sure how close, so when we came across Camp Martin, two large, adjacent campsites with stacked firewood, a table and iron fire ring, we decided to call it a day. It was hard to do better than that.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4083/4972800648_befa4cfd97_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Making it even better, we discovered a freshwater spring just fifty feet down the <a href="http://www.fs.fed.us/npnht/">Nez Perce <em>Nee-Me-Poo</em> Trail</a> that runs between the campsites. Although probably safe, we filtered nonetheless, and in so doing realized that Jeremy, Joel and I all have the same filter. Who knew filter selection was genetic?</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4095/4972184939_c55d079afd_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4091/4972183001_164d35ca23_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">The large Coleman lantern that had played a lead role in Jeremy’s luggage woes finally had a chance to redeem itself, hoisted above our heads with a system of ropes in a show of Jeremy’s camping prowess. We were all illuminated, turning skeptics to believers.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4154/4972181451_5f4a3dd29b_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4083/4972793636_35b80970e0_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">I don’t think we realized how the long ride had worn us out until we sat there around the crackling fire. We found no energy for shenanigans, no energy to escape the gravitational pull of our tents, sleep and dreams.</p><div style="line-height: 1.1em; text-align: right; color: #888; font-size: 9pt; font-family: Tahoma, Arial;">these images are hosted at <a style="color: #999;" href="http://flickr.com/photos/boise/">flickr</a> &#9632;<br/>this post was automatically generated from <a style="color: #999;" href="http://blog.trailimage.com/2010/09/lolo-motorway-and-more-day-1.html">my blog</a> &#9632;<br/>text and images are © Copyright 2011 Jason Abbott. All Rights Reserved. &#9632;</div></div>
    #1
  2. Kodanja

    Kodanja Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    Oddometer:
    518
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho
    Looking good! Last year my wife and I rode through Elk River from Orofino across the Dent Bridge and stopped for huckleberry ice cream at the Elk River Lodge.

    Did you happen to see the map in the back room with all the pins locating where people visiting Elk River were from?
    #2
  3. Jason Abbott

    Jason Abbott Long time Idaho rider

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho, USA
    Yeah, saw that. I was surprised at the distances some had come (though I think a few pins were just local kids being silly). My brothers reminded me the area is nationally famous for its fishing. Over at the Lochsa Lodge, folks at the table next to us were from Virginia.
    #3
  4. Dekay

    Dekay Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    45
    Location:
    half-life, Washington
    I live in eastern washington and am interested in exploring that beautiful country! Ride Safe and keep the great pictures coming.

    Dave
    #4
  5. b0rderman

    b0rderman Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    144
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Great RR...looking forward to the next chapter
    #5
  6. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    57,326
    Location:
    Toronto
    Nice ride... excellent quality pics! Let's see what happens next... it sounds ominous :lurk
    #6
  7. Idahosam

    Idahosam Set Adrift

    Joined:
    May 23, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,147
    Location:
    Back in the Saddle
    :lurk
    #7
  8. Jason Abbott

    Jason Abbott Long time Idaho rider

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho, USA
    Next post is ... so close. Would have been up but our nine-year old was three hours late riding his bike home from school. Phoned his friends. Not there. I bicycled all over the place, asked passers-by if they'd seen a blond boy—couldn't find him. Finally I see him on some out-of-the-way street. He had been watching chickens. :huh Where he found chickens in Boise, I don't know. He's grounded a bit.
    #8
  9. Liberia

    Liberia Fortunate

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    561
    Location:
    Murfreesboro, TN
    You picked a great location, are taking very nice pictures and doing it all with your brothers (+1).

    My 2 brothers and I spent a couple of weeks together last year riding around the Grand Canyon area and it was truely a wonderful time. Glad you're able to do this ride. Thanks for sharing it.
    #9
  10. YnotJP?

    YnotJP? Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,653
    Location:
    Philippines and Seattle
    Oh, come on Dad, two things you can't ground a kid for is watching chickens or motorcycles.

    (But, you sure think of a lot of scary things when they are not where they should be.)

    Very nice Ride Report.
    #10
  11. Jason Abbott

    Jason Abbott Long time Idaho rider

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho, USA
    <div style="font: normal normal 14pt Georgia, Times New Roman, Sans-Serif;line-height: 1.2em; margin: 0;"><p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">As the grey morning light turned golden, I laid in my tent, listening, hoping someone else would make the first move to start a fire. Although the sky had been clear through the night, it remained curiously warm—almost uncomfortably warm—but it seemed no less necessary to begin the day with a fire.</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">With stowage capacity for a good-sized percolator, I had volunteered to be camp barista. And so when I poked my head out of the tent and caught sight of Jesse doing the same, rather than a friendly “mornin’” he had just one thing to say: “coffee!”</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4104/4972190515_a7855e7d10_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">We watched with curiosity those who brought <a href="http://mountainhouse.com/">freeze-dried pouches</a> for breakfast. With safe and simple alternatives like a granola bar or packet of oatmeal, why risk it? Freeze-dried sausage and eggs? There was, not surprisingly, little enthusiasm for the result. “It <em>kind of</em> tastes like eggs.”</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Joel, of course, was occupied with a gift wrapped “Saturday Breakfast.” Jill, you may remember, prepared, packaged and labeled all his food (something he’ll likely never hear the end of). He tried to sell us on the idea: “It’s great. I never know what I’ll get.” Great.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4092/4972806252_d5f4a8e973_b.jpg" /><p style="display: block; font-family: Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans serif; font-size: 12pt; color: #999; text-align: center; padding-bottom: 2px; margin-bottom: 0.5em;">Jesse, Jeremy and Casey</p> </div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">There was no reason for haste after breakfast yet packing alongside my brothers always feels slightly competitive. I can’t let Jesse finish before I even start! And is that Jeremy already taking down his tent? I need to hurry up!</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">After packing and preening, our motorcycles whinnied and rumbled to life, five baritones to greet the morning with the song of internal combustion. A sign adjacent to our campsite told us we would be entering the “Historic Lolo Trail Corridor,” following at places in the steps of Lewis and Clark and before them, the Nez Perce people.</p> <blockquote style="background-image: url(http://www.trailimage.com/image/left-quote.png); background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: left top; margin: 1em 7em; line-height: 1.2em; color: #aaa;"> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">The Clearwater National Forest contains the longest piece of intact Lewis and Clark Trail in the nation and for this reason the Lolo Trail was designated as a historical Landmark on the Clearwater and Lolo National Forests, October 9, 1960. The Lolo Trail named about 1850 is not a single trail, but a network of trails, cut-offs and shortcuts also referred to as the Buffalo Trail or “khusahna Ishkit,” by the Nez Perce. Lewis and Clark traveled on several different trail systems (1805-1806) within the Lolo Trail corridor (<a href="http://www.sierraclub.org/lewisandclark/wildamerica/lolo_report.pdf">Lolo Trail National Historic Landmark: Threats and Solutions</a>, 1)</p> </blockquote> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4090/4972802796_81242e23c1_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">The pace I expected to set was impeded by angular rocks embedded within the hard and rutted road surface, threatening the incautious rider with catastrophe. Twelve and fifteen miles-per-hour were sometimes teeth rattling speeds.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4150/4972194307_92d24e639b_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Large and regular signage along the route kept us apprised of history and geology. We didn’t stop for every one. I think we were more interested at the time in our own adventure than those of our fore-bearers. We knew we could <a href="http://lmgtfy.com/">Google</a> it later.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4110/4972810048_d86dbecb91_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">“I’m glad we didn’t try to stay here,” I remarked as we pulled alongside Rocky Ridge Lake some miles down the road. A jolly band of senior <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Side_by_Side_(UTV)">UTV</a> and ATV riders occupied every campsite. We had to park our bikes on the road.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4147/4972203257_b7115850cb_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">We sauntered over to the lake and returned to banter with our four-wheeled, fellow travelers. A round and ruddy fellow with grey hair poking from under a camouflage ball cap told of stopping at some out-of-the-way bar to find it taken over by a bachelorette party. “That was a good time,” he laughed.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4145/4972815408_7c1131246a_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">They were surprised when we told them about the ATV trail we’d taken out of Pierce and seemed to know who owned the mine we ran into. They were very familiar with the whole area and suggested other routes and stops we might enjoy.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4127/4972199799_450d867cda_b.jpg" /><p style="display: block; font-family: Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans serif; font-size: 12pt; color: #999; text-align: center; padding-bottom: 2px; margin-bottom: 0.5em;">Rocky Ridge Lake</p> </div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4131/4972811632_4835a946a6_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">We shared well-wishes then got back onto the Lolo Motorway a few more miles, as far as Weites Butte Lookout. We parked at the tower and I set to climbing the several flights of stairs. There was no attendant so I wasn’t surprised to find the platform door locked. It was still a nice view.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4131/4972209875_5f4c85898e_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4092/4972821738_5871f9294c_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4150/4972819460_0cab9254b6_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">From Weites Butte we continued along the Lolo Motorway.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4131/4972212281_56071f021a_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4149/4972829160_8914186493_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4103/4972834406_8b89a8644e_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4129/4972831352_410d9cd153_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4105/4972223675_6d212c8b89_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">We stopped at a couple less remarkable buttes along the motorway before reaching the turnoff to Castle Butte. Our Rocky Ridge Lake friends had insisted it was worth a stop. It didn’t disappoint.</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Getting up to the lookout was a minor challenge on the GS. The road at the top was nothing but large, loose rocks threatening to send me careening in a hazardous direction.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4146/4972244449_966dfe2e14_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4086/4972238443_c2da5e9dca_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">An old Ford truck with a flat screen TV box in the back suggested an attendant was on hand, though he or she never made an appearance. Windows all around the lookout let us see the new TV hung up in a corner but little else.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4090/4972849488_328a5831e9_b.jpg" /><p style="display: block; font-family: Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans serif; font-size: 12pt; color: #999; text-align: center; padding-bottom: 2px; margin-bottom: 0.5em;">Castle Rock Lookout</p> </div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4109/4972854826_1d9d6fb864_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4104/4972233573_ec0a2d2a57_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">As we parked to take in the view we couldn’t help but notice sheets of rain hung from dark clouds sweeping rapidly towards us. We knew it would hit in just a few minutes. We hustled to turn around so we could retreat to trees and setup shelter.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4106/4972225069_7e21673c6f_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">My brothers on their lighter bikes were quickly on their way. Casey and I were a minute behind and couldn’t see where they’d gone. Marco? Polo? The rain was already on top of us so I decided to stop and setup our own shelter rather than continue searching.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4128/4972228447_ba5a418a18_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Just as I finished securing the tarp, ready for wind and rain, the sky cleared. Of course. Beeping horns helped reunite the group and soon we were back on our way down roads just wet enough to help traction and settle dust. Nice.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4108/4972231475_325c8a761f_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4144/4972860962_98a63ef3ce_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4148/4972252875_dc70c6e04f_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4145/4972250001_cdf4e27321_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">A sign said Horseshoe Lake was only a mile from the Lolo Motorway but it seemed twice that. An ATV trail was the only access to the lake’s edge where we might have camped if we’d come this far the day before. There was nobody there (though a group showed up on foot a little later). </p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4153/4972254681_7e87a1a2b3_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4124/4972257661_eff5edc966_b.jpg" /><p style="display: block; font-family: Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans serif; font-size: 12pt; color: #999; text-align: center; padding-bottom: 2px; margin-bottom: 0.5em;">Joel finds an easy-chair</p> </div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">It was too early for that day’s camp, though, so after looking around we got back to the road.</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Indian Post Office Lake is right off the motorway, part of a pair of lakes. We stopped to check it out near a jeep that was pulled off the road. Inside, a teenage girl eyed us briefly from the back seat before rolling up her window and locking the doors. Having some experience with teenage daughters, I wanted to suggest she should have accepted her parents’ invitation to a little hike, then she wouldn’t be at the mercy of motorcycle gangs.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4152/4972876962_8d0e3628a8_b.jpg" /><p style="display: block; font-family: Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans serif; font-size: 12pt; color: #999; text-align: center; padding-bottom: 2px; margin-bottom: 0.5em;">Indian Post Office Lake</p> </div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4105/4972272795_9b13a49359_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4084/4972882290_8b9544c7c8_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4124/4972884318_5e88b4bff4_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4084/4972879688_13900760a9_b.jpg" /></div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4088/4972874164_9545691771_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Not far beyond Indian Post Office, we turned onto Doe Creek Road to descend from the mountains for gas at the <a href="http://www.lochsalodge.com/">Lochsa Lodge</a> by Highway 12. It was a great road, fast and curvy, and in one of my favorite settings, in a narrow valley along a small shaded creek. The others were patient to let me stop for a couple pictures.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4153/4972275953_daf7f341e5_b.jpg" /><p style="display: block; font-family: Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans serif; font-size: 12pt; color: #999; text-align: center; padding-bottom: 2px; margin-bottom: 0.5em;">Doe Creek</p> </div></div> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4150/4972895922_831d7c78bd_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Granola bars or jerky at every stop meant I wasn’t too hungry for lunch but I thought a milkshake at the lodge might be nice.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4106/4972897942_dcfb4a05e5_b.jpg" /><p style="display: block; font-family: Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans serif; font-size: 12pt; color: #999; text-align: center; padding-bottom: 2px; margin-bottom: 0.5em;">Lochsa Lodge</p> </div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">After gassing up, we were seated in the dining room and I began checking and double-checking the dessert list on the back of the menu. How could they have <em>à la mode</em> items but no milkshakes? That’s just crazy.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4151/4972286413_075fbb73b4_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">“Can you make me a milkshake?” I asked our waitress. “No,” she said curtly, her round face expressionless within a circle of dishwater blond hair. “I think you just have to add milk to some ice cream,” I suggested, trying my best to be charming. “No,” she repeated as she walked away.</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">I had fish-and-chips with a side of disappointment.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4129/4972288465_7fdea5d052_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">From the lodge we crossed Highway 12 back onto a dirt road (Parachute Hill) toward the Lolo Motorway. The road was in good condition and we were able to maintain thirty or forty miles-per-hour until we came upon a group of ATVs slowly pulling trailers up the mountain. There was ample room to pass if they would ride to the right instead of the middle of the road.</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">I gave them a couple minutes to see us in their mirrors and then gave a friendly beep-beep of my horn. We still weren’t acknowledged. Okay then. I didn’t plan to ride in slow-motion, eating dust the next ten miles so as soon as there was a bit of a shoulder (it was a drop-off on the left) I shot narrowly by while telepathically suggesting they learn some trail etiquette.</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">As we drew close to the ridgeline, the forest around was suddenly transformed in character, like we’d entered another world through some dark closet. Lifeless trees were haphazard tombstones ten thousand strong—bodies stiff, skin turned white, marred black in a failed battle for survival. The late afternoon sun cast their hard shadows across our path. It felt like we were proceeding through the majestic courtyard of mountain royalty.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4127/4972905092_7198651564_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Vistas large and small continued to inspire veneration as we rejoined the Lolo Motorway across the ridge. We weren’t on the ridge long before leaving the motorway to cross a valley northward toward the Great Burn. The tiny Cayuse Lake reflected late afternoon sun like a mirror as we descended the opposite side of the ridge.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4154/4972293595_b1e0d635f0_b.jpg" /><p style="display: block; font-family: Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans serif; font-size: 12pt; color: #999; text-align: center; padding-bottom: 2px; margin-bottom: 0.5em;">Cayuse Creek</p> </div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">After passing two nice campsites along Cayuse Creek, and no other people in sight, we stopped for a conference. Should we continue up to the Great Burn or call it a day right there? We decided on the bird in the hand.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4103/4972923534_aa213cb3b1_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">The campsite’s large open area gave too many tent options. It took some time to walk around and weigh the alternatives. By the creek with the sound of water? Under a tree? Over in the pretty, rocky area? Closer to the fire? These were weighty matters, settled, as usual, by giving up and going with wherever it was we happened to park our motorcycle.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4128/4972306081_879e82a01f_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">With decisions made, we became like ants before winter, quickly and without comment focusing on our tasks—setting up a tent, gathering wood, filtering water and raising the lantern. Just to change things up, I guess, Casey decided to use a purification tablet rather than filter his water. We all learned a lesson: if you don’t like urine-colored water, don’t use purification tablets.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4148/4972921734_4062d2573c_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Fire building was more of a group effort. We had learned an efficient technique. Stack some sticks and let Jeremy see what you did. “What? How do you expect that to burn?! You can’t stack ‘em like that. Here, let me show you how it’s done.” Then sit back and enjoy the growing fire.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4085/4972300115_42a4fcc55d_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Shortly after settling in, we heard the rumble of ATVs, later verified as those we passed earlier, setting up at the adjacent campsite. They weren’t visible through the trees but we could hear their chainsaw. The valley eventually grew quiet as darkness fell.</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">A car passing slowly back-and-forth was doubly peculiar on a moonless night in mountains without any other passenger vehicles, as far as we’d seen. A guy our age finally emerged out of the darkness with a black dog at his side he called <em>Cash</em>. Us Abbott boys had read our dad’s <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_L'Amour">Louis L’Amore</a> enough to know the guy was an idiot to come upon us like that. A man could get shot that way.</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Although wearing no uniform, he said he worked for the Forest Service. “Just as a consultant, now”, he clarified. “I used to work for them. I just got out of school and I’m doing some projects for them.” Of course. The visiting-campers-in-the-dark project.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4132/4972908886_9fef0c31ac_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">I don’t know what his angle was but we were only minimally hospitable and he was soon on his way. His visit, and possibly those nips of whiskey, did give us some inspiration, though. “You know, we should take a couple of these animal crackers over to that other campsite. We’ll pretend <em>we’re</em> with the Forest Service, show them a cookie, and ask, ‘have you seen this animal?’”</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Let me offer this wisdom before continuing: animals crackers—you know, the ones with sprinkles on white or pink frosting—are an excellent accompaniment to whiskey. </p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">I can’t remember who exactly had the “have you seen this animal?” idea. It was such genius, we’re probably all taking credit for it now. We laughed so hard we cried as we held up cookies, acting the part of a concerned Ranger. So much did we enjoy the <em>idea</em> that there was no reason to actually do it. It couldn’t be any funnier.</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Maybe you had to be there.</p> <div style="text-align: center; position: relative; margin: 0.5em 0; padding: 0;"><div style="text-align: center; position: relative; padding: 0;"><img style="border: 1px solid #000; background-color: #fff; padding: 4px; margin: 0 0;" alt="alt" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4128/4972298013_61eed87395_b.jpg" /></div></div> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">The belly laughs wore us out. All but Jeremy and Jesse retired for the night. We would hear over breakfast about the deer that kept harassing them, the spear they threw, and their walk down the dark road to encounter our night visitor sleeping in his car.</p> <p style="text-indent: 3em; margin: 0 6em 1em 5em; padding: 0;">Tomorrow.</p><div style="line-height: 1.1em; text-align: right; color: #888; font-size: 9pt; font-family: Tahoma, Arial;">these images are hosted at <a style="color: #999;" href="http://flickr.com/photos/boise/">flickr</a> &#9632;<br/>this post was automatically generated from <a style="color: #999;" href="http://blog.trailimage.com/2010/09/lolo-motorway-and-more-day-2.html">my blog</a> &#9632;<br/>text and images are © Copyright 2011 Jason Abbott. All Rights Reserved. &#9632;</div></div>
    #11
  12. Super Suz

    Super Suz N00b with B00b

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,558
    Location:
    alrededor de la bahía
    :clap
    Great pics and great write up. Thanks for that~!
    #12
  13. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Oddometer:
    2,756
    Location:
    Corral de Tierra CA, Ketchum ID
    Nice pics.
    #13
  14. b0rderman

    b0rderman Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    144
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    moar!
    #14
  15. Jason Abbott

    Jason Abbott Long time Idaho rider

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho, USA
    Coming. :type
    #15
  16. Jason Abbott

    Jason Abbott Long time Idaho rider

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho, USA
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    · · · · The day would demonstrate that little of these mountains has changed since they were traversed by Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and their party 205 years ago.​
    · · · · Wary of overnight precipitation after the previous day&#8217;s rain, I had setup a quick carport. Experience had taught the value of a little shelter when trying to pack in the rain. Of course, the better prepared you are for something, the less likely it is that thing will happen. So it wasn&#8217;t surprising when we awoke to a dry morning&#8212;not even dew on the ground.​
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    · · · · It was dry but not so warm&#8212;about 42°F. We made hot breakfasts on a long abandoned folding table, its original color long lost, and sat around the fire while Jeremy and Jesse recounted their late night escapades.​
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    [font=Trebuchet MS, Tahoma]my cold toes[/font]​
    · · · · Apparently a man-eating deer had repeatedly approached the fire like a ghost out of darkness until Jeremy felt he had no choice but to launch a spear he&#8217;d carved. He actually hit the deer, the story goes, but the spear bounced harmlessly (supernaturally?) off its hide. Hoof prints around our tents suggested the deer contemplated revenge as we slept.​
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    [font=Trebuchet MS, Tahoma]the jug of yellow fluid on the left is Casey&#8217;s tablet-purified water[/font]​
    · · · · The two of them had also walked down the road for what reason I didn&#8217;t catch. They said they came across our late night &#8220;Forest Service contractor&#8221; asleep in his car. Weirdo. We didn&#8217;t see him again.​
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    [font=Trebuchet MS, Tahoma]&#8220;Sunday Breakfast&#8221; from Jill[/font]​
    · · · · By that second morning we were all curious to see what Joel&#8217;s surprise meal would be (like Jesse&#8217;s MREs last year). &#8220;Hold still a second,&#8221; I asked him so I could focus in on the bit of bacon in the bite of potatoes he&#8217;d prepared. &#8220;It&#8217;s good,&#8221; he assured with a smile. Whatever the taste, the packages seemed all to contain a little merriment.​
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    · · · · We quickly gained a few thousand feet of elevation from our campsite along Cayuse Creek travelling north toward the Great Burn area. I expected the day to warm up but if anything it was getting colder. I activated the heated grips while the others endured.​
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    [font=Trebuchet MS, Tahoma]Joel, Casey, Jesse and Jeremy with cold hands[/font]​
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    · · · · A rough jeep trail splits from Road 581 to climb the final steep mile to the summit of Blacklead Mountain (7,326 feet) at the southern entrance of the Great Burn. Navigating the rocks was a welcome distraction from the cold.​
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    · · · · We parked at a clearing to look out across untamed peaks under low, dark skies&#8212;perhaps a taste of Lewis and Clark&#8217;s experience. I felt small and vulnerable looking at the infinite desolation stretched before us.​
    · · · · The cold air penetrated jackets and gloves us as we stepped off our bikes. Heated grips and fat fairing had kept me warm but the others were clenching their fists as they ambled stiffly around. I suggested a little fire to warm up but generated little interest. Better to keep moving.​
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    · · · · In spite of the cold, I was eager to see the Great Burn country I&#8217;d read of. A double-track trail open only to motorcycles headed in the right direction but ended in a small saddle after just a few hundred yards. Vehicles were prohibited from the obvious trail onward but after a moment looking around we noticed an unmarked single-track trail continuing up the ridge.​
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    · · · · The path was so narrow I several times expected my panniers to strike trail-side rocks but managed somehow to squeeze through. When Jeremy and I saw the trail enter thick trees, we decided to hang back and wait for a verdict from our younger brothers. Threading that needle would require some reward.​
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    · · · · Casey followed ambitiously behind Jesse and Joel but stopped short of entering the woods when one of his panniers struck a rock, tearing loose the zip-ties that held bracket to frame since one of his bolts rattled loose the day before.​
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    [font=Trebuchet MS, Tahoma]zip-tie down[/font]​
    · · · · Jeremy and I offered sage advice while Casey cobbled it together a second time with my remaining supply of zip-ties.​
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    [font=Trebuchet MS, Tahoma]look, pocket portable coffee[/font]​

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    · · · · Joel and Jesse returned without major discoveries. With the sky looking ready to unleash a torrent, it seemed further exploration of the Great Burn would have to wait. &#8220;I think I&#8217;m gonna go home, guys,&#8221; Casey announced. The rest of us reacted similarly: &#8220;Okay. Good luck.&#8221;​
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    · · · · Casey left in the middle of last year&#8217;s ride too. He avoided dirt naps this time but was concerned about his panniers. We weren&#8217;t going to twist his arm. &#8220;Before you go, can you get a picture of us,&#8221; I asked.​
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    [font=Trebuchet MS, Tahoma]next year: hat[/font]​

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    · · · · We congregated back at the intersection with the main road where Casey would go his separate way. Frozen pellets&#8212;not quite snow, not quite hail&#8212;began to fall and accumulate as we sat there on our motorcycles. Far from discouraging, it was kind of exhilarating. We could only laugh and be on our way.​
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    · · · · Precipitation relented but roiled clouds continued dark threats as we followed the road along Toboggan Ridge toward Cayuse Landing Field, a little airstrip along a lower section of Cayuse Creek.​
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    · · · · Low bushes in fiery autumn dress framed our expansive view of endless mountains, dark under grey skies, and swirled in the mists of low clouds. It was easy to understand why these mountains were the hardest part of Lewis and Clark&#8217;s journey from near St. Louis.​
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    · · · · Appetites urged a break as we descended from the mountains to a wide road along the enlarged Cayuse Creek. Jeremy and Jesse put a line in the water while we ate. The wide but shallow creek held little promise of fish so after eating, we wasted no time getting back on the road by the airstrip, back up into mountains cloaked in clouds.​
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    · · · · Our pace was cautious on the hard-pack road, dark and slippery with a persistent sprinkle of rain. The forest was quiet and green. A spray of water was the penalty for veering too close to leafy branches bowing into our path under wet weight.​
    · · · · We wound upward and then followed switchbacks back down to Moose Creek Road. Jesse immediately recognized where we were, having made several fishing trips up the North Fork of the Clearwater River, to which the world famous Kelly Creek is a primary tributary.​
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    · · · · Sun and rain were dueling for dominance as we hopscotched along the road, following Jesse&#8217;s lead to fishing holes. Slow and deep, the water was green with the reflection of verdant moss and encroaching forest. Entire schools of fish could be seen, silhouettes swaying in the shadows. Abundant boulders were home to lichens and tiny flowers, and a perch from which to fish or photograph.​
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    · · · · Joel and I were content to watch, to let our thoughts slow to the creek&#8217;s languid pace, as Jeremy and Jesse caught a dozen fish in as many minutes.​
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    · · · · When sprinkles became steady rainfall we packed up and accelerated down the road in search of clearer skies. We unwrapped snacks and unzipped our jackets to dry a little when finally, after quite a few miles, road and sunshine temporarily coincided.​
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    · · · · The inevitable subject of Joel&#8217;s meals came up again as we stood together at river&#8217;s edge. &#8220;She scowled,&#8221; he said of Jill, when she saw he&#8217;d thrown in some extra granola bars out of concern she wouldn&#8217;t pack enough food. &#8220;I ate granola bars the first day and I&#8217;ve been behind ever since,&#8221; he lamented. He really had it rough.​
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    · · · · We hadn&#8217;t gotten much into the Great Burn so I wanted to actually reach our next and final high destination, Flat Mountain. It was hard to tell which way the weather would go. Probably intermittent rain and sun. If we got wet, just wait a few minutes for the sun to return and dry us out.​
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    · · · · It began sprinkling almost as soon as we turned up Cold Springs Creek toward the summit. The road became more primitive as we climbed, from gravel to dirt, then ruts and rocks.​
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    · · · · Flowers and berries, purple, orange and yellow, were welcoming garlands. It was a strangely threatening beauty, drawing us onward even as dark sky and canted trail whispered doom.​
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    · · · · My brothers were cold&#8212;perhaps as cold as they&#8217;d yet been&#8212;when we reached the top of Flat Mountain. Somewhere below was Ring Lake and Pete Ott Lake but we had no view from the cloister of large evergreens we&#8217;d stopped within. I think the others could not have cared less about the view at that point. They immediately began gathering wood to build a fire. Expletives may have been muttered.​
    · · · · &#8220;I&#8217;m gonna go see what&#8217;s up that trail,&#8221; I announced, referring to an ATV trail heading off from the road there. I was still on my motorcycle, still warm. I wanted the view. The path was smooth dirt along an undulating forest floor carpeted green with small shrubs and grasses. It rose and fell steeply and veered sharply between giant trees.​
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    · · · · From &#8220;this is pretty nice&#8221; I began thinking, &#8220;this is truly great.&#8221; Navigating the dirt roller-coaster required some attention but it wasn&#8217;t strenuous. It was perfect. I wanted to go and go but decided I should turn back to invite my brothers along.​
    · · · · Visibility suddenly dropped and the sky became thick with snow. Crazy! The trail grew quickly slippery. We&#8217;d have to wait for this to clear.​
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    · · · · The snow&#8212;or snow pellets, to be more exact&#8212;was falling heavily when I parked next to the other motorcycles. I pulled my tarp from its straps on the motorcycle and walked to where my brothers stood to setup a shelter next to the roaring fire. &#8220;This would be a great campsite,&#8221; we observed, if not for the weather.​
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    · · · · We realized this was something unique when lightning cracked the sky above us as close as I&#8217;ve ever experienced it. The rare phenomenon is called thundersnow. When it happens, the snow muffles the sound so that if you do experience it, you must be very close. The snow had a second effect, reflecting the light like a prism. The sudden, deafening brilliance appeared blue and red. It was truly awesome.​
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    · · · · The lightning subsided but the snow persisted. Our enthusiasm waned. We thought we&#8217;d wait it out but it didn&#8217;t seem to be stopping. If it didn&#8217;t stop then we&#8217;d have to descend the rough trail under that inch or two of snow.​
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    · · · · It didn&#8217;t stop. Jeremy did a little test run around camp then Joel and Jesse took the lead to leave a track in the snow for the heavier bikes to follow down the mountain.​
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    · · · · A thousand feet lower, it was raining. Dips and ruts were filled with large puddles. We continued, perhaps cold and uncomfortable, but nonetheless glad for such an elemental, shared experience. I wouldn&#8217;t trade it. My only regret is being unable to follow that ATV trail through the forest on the ridge. Another time.​
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    · · · · Mountaintop camping was apparently out for the last night of our trip. Jesse took the lead to find us a site back along the North Fork of the Clearwater that was familiar to him. We were back in RV country which meant sites were elaborately occupied or undesirable.​
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    · · · · The road led us through time from afternoon to dusk. Nearly out of daylight, we had little choice but to camp at the next place we came to.​
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    · · · · We were unhappy to compromise on our final campsite and a bit snippy&#8212;I should say brotherly&#8212;with each other as we setup. More rain seemed likely so I setup the tarp a fourth time while Joel and Jesse worked on a fire. In no time we were huddled around the crackling campfire exchanging drinks and silly barbs. It was happy times again.​
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    · · · · Then a bullet discharged in Jesse&#8217;s face. He was leaned into the fire more than the rest but we all recoiled, momentarily deaf and stunned. After a few seconds we realized there&#8217;d been a live round in the fire pit. Nothing was hurt but our hearing. We had unkind words for whoever had left it there.​
    · · · · We weren&#8217;t sure what to do. Were there more? If so, we reasoned they weren&#8217;t likely to hurt us. The lighter casing would fly, not the lead. And the casing probably couldn&#8217;t escape the logs we&#8217;d piled on. That&#8217;s what we told ourselves. It took a little more whiskey before we were convinced.​
    · · · · The night wore on. I had a bag of pepperoni in my luggage left over from the last trip. We decided they would be good roasted so we carved a stick. After the grease dripped out there wasn&#8217;t much left.​
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    · · · · Another bullet exploded. Again, Jesse was the one leaned in close. This time I thought he was hit. He yelped and darted behind a tree. The rest of us jumped up and took several steps back.​
    · · · · It was quite annoying. We had more unkind words for whoever left bullets in the fire pit. What to do? It was cold, dark and damp. We didn&#8217;t want to go without a fire. But none of us were willing to sit around that one.​
    · · · · A single option came to mind. I grabbed my little folding shovel and began a new fire pit adjacent to the existing one just as fast as I could dig. Dirt was flying. Then Jeremy and I quickly pushed the rocks from the old to the new pit and carefully picked out a few coals to build up a new fire. And finally I took the loose dirt and buried the old pit. Safe at last.​
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    · · · · We weren&#8217;t sure which way we would go the next day. Would we have rain or sun? Would Jesse be able to dry his gloves that way or would they perish in the bullet-free fire? And what would Joel have for meals?​
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    #16
  17. Sp00k

    Sp00k Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    70
    Location:
    Canberra Oztralia
    Great read. Enjoying it.
    #17
  18. b0rderman

    b0rderman Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    144
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    yes...can't wait for the finale!
    #18
  19. cleanair

    cleanair Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    Oddometer:
    200
    Location:
    just past resume speed
    enjoying the rr and great pic's.
    what a beautiful country this is!
    #19
  20. MacG

    MacG Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    261
    Location:
    Ga.
    Great pics and narrative :thumb
    #20