November in Idaho - Lessons from the "Beef Trail"

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Heath, Nov 30, 2006.

  1. Heath

    Heath Coke-The choice of Angels

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    717
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    Update: pics from another ride to the area on the bottom of page 2.


    Preface:
    I’m not going to mention the names of any places in this report - you’re allowed to ride there at the moment, and I’d like to keep it that way. It’s a pretty special place in part because not many people know about it. I’m sure some people who’ve ridden in the area will know exactly where we were… but if you could keep it to yourself, it’d be great.

    I'm selfish like that :ricky






    Report:
    I’m right in the middle of my senior year in college – I’ve been really, unbelievably busy since the 3rd week of August. Meaning, I’ve had other things on my mind than riding. I don’t know if you’ve ever just really wanted to ride but not been able to for three months at a time, but I can assure you that it’s not a lot of fun. Just imagine what you feel like towards the end of winter, but rather than snow and rain for the last three months, it’s been in the 60s, 70s, and 80s and sunny.

    Exactly.

    So, on November 18th, Happy Trails had a tech day. It was generally a good time – I didn’t pay attention to the valve seminar (‘cause I already know how to adjust valves), but just walked around and talked to people who also know how to do valves. Well, three of these people (Sam, Byron, and Todd) liked the idea of a ride at some point over the Christmas break.

    The Sunday after Thanksgiving was supposed to be in the mid-50s with only a *chance* of rain. That is a chance that we were all willing to take…

    My dad and I had been talking about a ride for a while. We “hiked” part of it last year. If you haven’t done any hiking in the desert lately, you should give it a shot. It was only 5 miles... how bad could it be, right? Right.

    Anyway, we learned a lesson from the hike last year: Walking sucks. Bad. However; we saw the potential for a ride in the same area. The problem is, there’s a rather large river we need to cross, and there’s not a “bridge” in the strictest sense. We heard from a reliable source that we could push across a dam then ride. With the help of Google Earth, we had our plan.

    5 of us left Boise at 10am on pavement, but we wanted dirt as soon as possible.

    [​IMG]

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    We caught the aptly (if uncreatively) named “Powerline” Road. Uncreatively isn’t a word – I’m creative like that.

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    One of the cool things about riding in the high desert late in the year are the tumble weeds:

    [​IMG]

    It’s hard to describe what riding this road was like. It was windy, and there were tumbleweeds everywhere so it looked like the desert was alive. Ok, I guess that wasn’t hard to describe… One sentence seems to have covered it. It was cool though.


    When we got off the Powerline we had to catch some pavement to get to our eventual destination:

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    Well, not the gravel parking area… the canyon out there.

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    Yes. That one.

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    We eyed our route:

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    Byron dropping into the canyon:

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    Down in the canyon, we met our first obstacle

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    It probably wouldn’t have been that hard if I’d just pushed the bike with both hands rather than pushing it with my left hand and taking pictures with my right:

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    On the other side of the dam, we found some… single track? I don’t even know what you’re supposed to call it when there’s no track. Sagebrush I guess.

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    The road widened a bit, giving us a great view of the inside of the canyon

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    I know these are blurry but I just had to include the sequence. Sam motioned for me to take some pictures but I thought he was trying to get me to ride up beside him:

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    He saw me when I got next to him:

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    And immediately drove off the side of the road. He was nonplussed:

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    Finally, after a wrong turn (Somehow. How can you turn the wrong way in a canyon?), we found what we’d been looking for

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    Sleep now, more later.
    #1
  2. knybanjo

    knybanjo kinda slow

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    34,737
    Location:
    out in the clover patch
    :lurk
    :ddog OK where's the beef?:topes
    #2
  3. Kodanja

    Kodanja Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    Oddometer:
    739
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho
    Great Start! I've been to the dam...what's on the other side? Can't wait to hear.
    #3
  4. brother dan

    brother dan Lost in my mind

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    Oddometer:
    239
    Location:
    Boise, Ee-da-how
    I know exactly where you've been...part of those pictures aren't far from my house... and I'm guessing you found the cave huh? :D or was it the petroglyphs?

    Great shots!

    Dan
    #4
  5. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    67,743
    Excellent!! Great pics too :thumb
    #5
  6. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Oddometer:
    3,421
    Location:
    Corral de Tierra CA, Ketchum ID
    Time to wakey wakey and start posting. :D
    #6
  7. ditchbanker

    ditchbanker Owner of dull user line

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,143
    Location:
    Idaho-Beneath the smell of sugarbeats
    More pictures. :clap
    Unfortunately, I know Heath, and I'm not expecting an "early" return to the ride report :lol3
    #7
  8. davewho

    davewho Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho
    Here are some pic's with new Sony T10
    #8
  9. davewho

    davewho Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho
    Another pic
    #9
  10. hez

    hez no longer rational

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2006
    Oddometer:
    348
    Location:
    Boise
    Exactly. Let's see, I would say no earlier than noon, MST. That's 3.5 hrs from now.
    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. davewho

    davewho Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho
    another pic.
    #11
  12. =RANDY=

    =RANDY= Lanky Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Oddometer:
    138
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho
    I've been mountain biking out there, but not on that side of the canyon. Curious to see what it's like over there. :ear
    #12
  13. Hair

    Hair no wants or warrants

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2003
    Oddometer:
    17,690
    Location:
    Northern New Mexico
    So your freaking out over paved trails and jeep track.

    Maybe you should keep your reports to yourself.
    #13
  14. Idahosam

    Idahosam Set Adrift

    Joined:
    May 23, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,180
    Location:
    Back in the Saddle
    I'm glad you finally got around to writing up our little ride; So come on wake up you drama cliffhanger you!:lol3

    Sleep..phff...your a fouth year collage student, you learned to give that up in your second year, everybody's waiting..
    #14
  15. Heath

    Heath Coke-The choice of Angels

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    717
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    I think you're missing the point - it's not really a remarkable ride. I think the whole thing was less than 100 miles round trip. Clearly, plenty of people know where it is... you can take pavement the whole way there. However, the canyon we were riding in is a protected wildlife sanctuary - the other side of the road (not pushing across the dam) has been closed off after a few miles because of people. The side of the river we were riding on is still open, in spite of being a historically significant site. I left out the names because we (as a group) decided to omit them. What difference does it make to you anyway?

    So, just to sum things up: :fyyff


    Dan: Cave? :lurk

    GB: thanks!

    pumper: I'm awake, rough draft written. Unfortunately, I've got some errands to run. It'll be up soon enough.

    DB: Hey man, I was up by 9am today!

    Davewho: great pics man! It's really beautiful down there huh?

    Ra+: I'd say you're about spot-on with your time prediction. Thanks!

    Sam: My personal best is 5 days without sleep, but at this point, I recognize that I need sleep in order to perform well.
    #15
  16. ditchbanker

    ditchbanker Owner of dull user line

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,143
    Location:
    Idaho-Beneath the smell of sugarbeats
    Heath:

    Hey, I love it when I can be flagrantly wrong and still not be the bastard. It's a good day to be me.
    #16
  17. Hair

    Hair no wants or warrants

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2003
    Oddometer:
    17,690
    Location:
    Northern New Mexico
    I understand if you are trying to protect sensitive areas. I have a few of those on my riding list.
    #17
  18. Mr.Moose

    Mr.Moose Living the Adventure

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Oddometer:
    539
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    great pictures.. that looks like a great place to ride.
    #18
  19. capt ed

    capt ed Capt Ed

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    530
    Location:
    Boise,Id
    This was a Super ride, we moved to Idaho almost 9 years ago and have been blessed with rides in Nevada, Oregon, Wyoming and Washington. I love it all but my favorite has to be Idaho.:rayof
    #19
  20. Heath

    Heath Coke-The choice of Angels

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    717
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    I believe this is where I left off:

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    What we were looking for:

    [​IMG]<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    Oh, heck yea! 3,000 year old petroglyphs. They’ve been carved into rocks all along this stretch of the river by somebody with way too much time on their hands. Remember what I said about walking? If I had to choose between that and carving dots into rocks, I’d be all over the dots like complaints on forumites

    <o:p></o:p>
    We milled smartly about, acting as touristy as possible:<o:p></o:p>
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    One of the cool things about <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:State><st1:place>Idaho</st1:place></st1:State> is how indifferent the state is about things like this. There’s a sign about 5 miles the other way that says there might be some rocks with some type of carvings on them. This would probably be a state park with tour guides anywhere else, but here Byron can sit on the priceless artifact while Sam snaps a pic:<o:p></o:p>
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    From here there are two ways out of the canyon: back the way we’d come, or forward. Looking at Google Earth, we thought there was a pretty nice road that would eventually lead us to the highway… and a town for lunch. <o:p></o:p>
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    After some discussion (Todd and I saying “let’s go forward”, and everybody else saying “screw that”), we decided to go forward. I’m not sure why we decided that as a group, but it's probably because Todd and I are the tallest. 5 days later I’m still not sure if that was a good idea, but hey man, they don’t call it Adventure Riding for nothing - and back tracking sucks almost as much as walking. <o:p></o:p>
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    Well, after about a mile, things started to get interesting:<o:p></o:p>
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    Just think about what this line must have looked like: <o:p></o:p>
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    Almost immediately after that turn, things started getting gnarly. The road changed from a 4’ wide band of soft, pillowish sand to a 1.5’ wide band of soft pillowish sand full of rocks: some loose and some and some very nicely planted. Just in case that wasn’t fun enough on a KLR, the hill also happened to be really, extremely steep. We found a somewhat level spot to stop. Todd took off up the hill and dumped it about 20 yards up. He righted the bike and walked back down to talk to us about what the trail was doing:
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    You know how they say pictures compress hills? Well, we could barely walk on this one. <o:p></o:p>
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    It wasn’t good… Mad props to Todd for making it the rest of the way up the hill solo. <o:p></o:p>
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    Byron strolled up to take a look:<o:p></o:p>
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    As far as I know, nobody got any pictures of my summit attempt… I started off badly by hitting a big rock just as I let the clutch out. The bike almost went down but somehow I kept it from falling with one leg stuck over the seat and the other on a wobbly rock. I spent about 5 minutes (or 15 seconds) yelling for help and completely wearing my arms out. I probably should have taken a break to let my arms cool down... Screw it though, I’m riding, not sitting. About 20 feet up the trail I hit another big rock – the hill was steep enough that it bumped my front tire up off the ground. I threw my weight forward to get the front end down, but the tire landed right in front of yet another big rock (the one right next to Byron’s foot in the previous pic)… When the front end of the bike came up for the second time, my windshield came through my open visor and into my nose. <o:p></o:p>
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    I maybe could have saved it… but getting smacked across the bridge of the nose takes all the fight out of you. Er, well. Me anyway.
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    We set my bike up again and I made it about 30 feet before I went down again. Pretty much the same thing happened… just a bit further up.<o:p></o:p>
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    Byron was up next, and met with similar results. He only went down once, but he managed to break a mirror. <o:p></o:p>
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    Dad's attempt:<o:p></o:p>
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    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
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    Right. <o:p></o:p>
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    We ended up pushing/dragging him and his bike the rest of the way up. <o:p></o:p>
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    Sam took a stab at it too. He didn’t make it far before he went down, so we pushed his bike up as well :<o:p></o:p>
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    Sorry, not a ton of pictures here… I was kind of busy with dragging all those 400lb motorcycles up the hill. I think I should stress that we’re all very experienced riders, and we’ve been on our bikes for a long time – I’m the newbie with 4 years and 40,000 dual sport miles under my belt. Right. This is, without a doubt, the worst (best?) section of trail I’ve ever tried. It took us over an hour to get all five bikes up this 300 yard section if that gives you any idea. I know it doesn’t look like much in the picture, but trust me on this one
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    It was pretty clear sailing when we made it to the top:<o:p></o:p>
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    We stopped to pick up a fender bag:<o:p></o:p>
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    It wasn’t long before the weather started heading downhill:<o:p></o:p>
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    [​IMG] <o:p></o:p>
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    We hit the highway (and a town) before too long. Five bacon cheeseburgers please… Here’s freaking Todd and his tots.
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    We talked to a guy while we were eating. He called it the "beef trail" and noted that it was impressively difficult on an ATV, and seemed to question our sanity for taking the bikes up it, rather than the easy way (turning around). Some people's children, I swear.

    Sorry, no more pics. My camera was safely in my pocket, because while we were eating that *chance* of rain turned in to a *lot* of rain. For about 40 miles.
    <o:p></o:p>
    So, the inside of our gear was wet from sweat and the outside of our gear was soaked with rain. Even with winter gloves and heated grips, I couldn’t feel my fingers when I got home.

    I’ve got three dime-sized blisters on my right foot, bruises and cuts all over my right leg,, some cuts on my face from barbed wire, and a sore shoulder…<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I couldn’t imagine a better ride :ricky


    <o:p></o:p>
    lessons learned:
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    -You can do just about as gnarly a trail as you want, as long as you have enough people to help you pull your bike up

    <o:p></o:p>
    -When they say “a chance of rain,” they mean “you probably shouldn’t go for a ride”

    -Google Earth is full of lies and deceit

    -The weather man is full of lies and deceit

    -Motorcycle boots aren't good for climbing steep, loose, rocky hills

    -No matter how rough the road, riding is always better than walking

    -If you're going to be doing something physically strenuous in the middle of a ride on a 40ish degree day, strip off as much of your gear as possible to keep it dry

    -I need to ride more.

    That's it... thanks for reading!



    By the way, if anybody wants more pictures of the petroglyphs, let me know. I have plenty - both from the "hike" and from this ride.

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    #20