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  1. #101
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    Nice writeup. Glad you had a good time.

    As a general rule the high passes are unrideable until July 4th or later. I ran into the trail crews this weekend in the willow creek area and they were working there way through the high trails.
    Last edited by smilycook; 07-15-2014 at 06:55 AM.
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  2. #102
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    Can anyone familiar with the lower singletrack (Willow Creek and White Cloud) segments comment on tire preferences? I'm heading out there with gabrielamadeus this Friday, and I have 2.2 Geax Saguaros mounted now.

    Considering going to 2.4 Ardents for comfort and loose stuff, since I'm riding a rigid 29er. Very appreciative to both Casey and the commenters for all the beta so far!

  3. #103
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    Great hearing about everyone's trip and planning thus far! I'm headed down to ride the route in early August and am PUMPED. Currently, I've got a BOB YAK trailer and am wondering if anyone has done the trip with one yet. I've done a good amount of riding/overnights with the BOB and feel confident with it in tow. I am a little apprehensive about the singletrack & BOB combo, however. Any thoughts or experience with a BOB on this route would be appreciated.

    Pedal on

  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by howrad View Post
    Can anyone familiar with the lower singletrack (Willow Creek and White Cloud) segments comment on tire preferences? I'm heading out there with gabrielamadeus this Friday, and I have 2.2 Geax Saguaros mounted now.

    Considering going to 2.4 Ardents for comfort and loose stuff, since I'm riding a rigid 29er. Very appreciative to both Casey and the commenters for all the beta so far!
    Well it is a tossup. The 2.2s will be nicer on the roads than the 2.4s, but with the bike being fully rigid then 2.4s might be a good choice to smooth things out. We generally ride 2.4 to 2.5 in the Smokey and Whitecloud area.
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  5. #105
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    You will be fine on the road with the BOB, but will need to modify the Whitecloud singletrack to make it BOB friendly. I would take the road at Bowery Guard Station and then go up little boulder.

    Quote Originally Posted by dsid View Post
    Great hearing about everyone's trip and planning thus far! I'm headed down to ride the route in early August and am PUMPED. Currently, I've got a BOB YAK trailer and am wondering if anyone has done the trip with one yet. I've done a good amount of riding/overnights with the BOB and feel confident with it in tow. I am a little apprehensive about the singletrack & BOB combo, however. Any thoughts or experience with a BOB on this route would be appreciated.

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  6. #106
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    Here is a short write up from a ride in the Smokeys to give you an idea of the area:
    Smiley Creek Loop
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  7. #107
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    Looks awesome, thanks!

  8. #108
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    07/16/2014 - 3 lightning caused wildfire which are being managed as the "Whiskey Complex" (see EDIT below) between Placerville and Garden Valley. It has also closed the Hot Springs Campground on the Lowman Cutoff. It is advised riders stay off the Lowman Cutoff west of Lowman as well.

    Current updated info here: InciWeb the Incident Information System: Whiskey Complex
    Closure area map as of 07/15/2014 here: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/photos/IDBOF...54.620-CDT.pdf
    Modify message

    EDIT: The Main Route is not closed, but all areas to the immediate east of the road are. This could change at any moment. So, please use caution on Alder Creek Rd.
    Last edited by flumphboy; 07-16-2014 at 11:59 AM. Reason: corrected info
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  9. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilycook View Post
    I think Casey just had some hard decisions since there is just endless variations of this route. His singletrack options just scratch the surface of the possibilities since there are so many ways to go on amazing trails.
    Nailed it, smily.

    And, the biggest constraint of the main route is that it has to be dirt roads/no singletrack to allow for folks doing heavy-touring-bob-trailer-pannier style. Also, if we would've used that option there would have been less hot springs on the main route, another constraint which I faced with the routing.

    In addition, I really wanted people to get out and create their own routes. So, far I have not read a trip report where someone did not take a deviation from my original routing. Which, is awesome. Both maps are a great place to start and have great routing, but there is so much opportunity to do whatever additional trails and roads that folks are up for.
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  10. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsid View Post
    I am a little apprehensive about the singletrack & BOB combo, however. Any thoughts or experience with a BOB on this route would be appreciated.
    As stated on the maps, I highly recommend not using a BOB for any of the singletrack sections
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  11. #111
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    Okay, more questions! White Clouds:

    We're thinking of extending our time up there with the Boulder Creeks and Frog Lk Loop. We'll spend a night in the Chamberlain Basin and then skirt the southern flank of Castle Peak to get to the trails. Is there another way to re-connect to the official route, or will we have to re-trace this trail? Everything farther north looks pretty mountain-y, but perhaps there's a northwest passage or a tunnel or something that I haven't found yet.

  12. #112
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    The passage is in the form of a couloir down to Born Lakes. It's steep, loose, and something Ive been wanting to do for awhile. There have been riders who have done it. Access it by heading up past Windy Devil out of the Boulder Chain Lakes. I saw Boy Scouts with pack goats going up it last year. Don't let that fool you though, heading downhill with a loaded bike it is truly a no-fall-zone. Very, very dangerous to those without mountaineering or climbing or backcountry skiing experience.

    The 500-Mile Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route-srm_406.jpg

    Also, if/when the National Monument passes the Boulder Chain Lakes will be shut down to bikes. So, get it while you can.

    Smily, you have any experience up there?
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  13. #113
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    The boulder chain lakes have very little riding and more hiking. Your first challenge at the top of the chain lakes is a switchbacking talas field. There is a trail, but you need to be carrying your bike to make it up the switchbacks. You then crest the windy devil pass and have to go down devil's slide as shown in the picture. I have slid down that couloir twice with a mountain bike on my shoulders and a small day pack. How heavy is your bike going to be? The consequences for error are basically a 800 ft tumbling fall onto talas. It is steep and loose the whole way down.


    My recommendation is descend the Grand Prize Trail to Bowery Guard Station and then take the East Fork Road to the big Boulder trail. Take the big boulder trail into frog lake and then from Frog lake use the Castle Divide Trail to go over and into the Chamberlin Basin. Then you are back on the main route.
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  14. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by flumphboy View Post
    The passage is in the form of a couloir down to Born Lakes. It's steep, loose, and something Ive been wanting to do for awhile. There have been riders who have done it. Access it by heading up past Windy Devil out of the Boulder Chain Lakes. I saw Boy Scouts with pack goats going up it last year. Don't let that fool you though, heading downhill with a loaded bike it is truly a no-fall-zone. Very, very dangerous to those without mountaineering or climbing or backcountry skiing experience.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Also, if/when the National Monument passes the Boulder Chain Lakes will be shut down to bikes. So, get it while you can.

    Smily, you have any experience up there?
    Quote Originally Posted by smilycook View Post
    The boulder chain lakes have very little riding and more hiking. Your first challenge at the top of the chain lakes is a switchbacking talas field. There is a trail, but you need to be carrying your bike to make it up the switchbacks. You then crest the windy devil pass and have to go down devil's slide as shown in the picture. I have slid down that couloir twice with a mountain bike on my shoulders and a small day pack. How heavy is your bike going to be? The consequences for error are basically a 800 ft tumbling fall onto talas. It is steep and loose the whole way down.


    My recommendation is descend the Grand Prize Trail to Bowery Guard Station and then take the East Fork Road to the big Boulder trail. Take the big boulder trail into frog lake and then from Frog lake use the Castle Divide Trail to go over and into the Chamberlin Basin. Then you are back on the main route.
    Yeah, that sounds a little ridiculous. Fun, but perhaps not for this trip!

    Your suggestion makes a lot more sense, but we'll just miss the Little Boulder descent. Ah well, can't do it all.

    Thanks for the quick replies!

  15. #115
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    We have the ACA maps here in Boise at Bike Touring News. Stop in and see us if you are beginning or ending in Boise!

  16. #116
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    Thanks everyone for the information on this route. Big thanks to casey for creating it!
    Nice write up Tim, you said you rode fully rigid, how was that?
    How technical are the single track options? Are they ridable fully rigid or would a hard tail be heaps better?
    I understand about compromises, just trying to get a feel for it from across the ocean in NZ. I have toured the GDMBR but there is bugger all single track on that.
    Any advice welcomed. Planning on touring IHS next year.
    Thanks, Scott

  17. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by lepetitbrevet View Post
    How technical are the single track options? Are they ridable fully rigid or would a hard tail be heaps better?
    The Whitecloud singletrack is the most technical and I can't imagine riding any of the singletrack options fully rigid. At a minimum you will want a hardtail for the singletrack options. As mentioned earlier you could include a lot more singletrack depending on your fitness and technical level.
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  18. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by lepetitbrevet View Post
    Nice write up Tim, you said you rode fully rigid, how was that?
    How technical are the single track options? Are they ridable fully rigid or would a hard tail be heaps better?
    Thanks, Scott
    I was only expecting to ride some of the Singletrack and planned my equipment accordingly.

    I do have a suspension fork for my Salsa fargo but the air seals failed after a few rides and it had to go back to be repaired, I got used to riding the singletrack around home with the Salsa steel fork the frame came with. Did not allow long enough to properly test the suspension fork when it came back. I think if I had not swoped it out I would probably have taken it.

    If I had intended to ride all the singletrack I would have taken the suspension fork.

    I found the Salsa much better than I expected with the rigid fork on the singletrack, with the On-One Midge dirt drops as they allow you to easily control the bike from hooks whilst holding them loosely. Going down hill it was good to sit off the back of the saddle and let the front just go over stuff. [ It was so much better than my first rigid mountain bike from the 90's which I rode again along a rocky trail here in the UK (Langdale in the Lakes) to get to the start of a walk in early June.]

    In Idaho when it was too rough I go t off and walked for a bit this would have been the case with a suspension fork because I was on my own and did not want to take risks but to a lesser extent.

    I could ride stuff with the rigid but I was slower and it tired out my body. For example on the way down from the high 'start' of Eagle Nest I rode more than 90% of the descent until I got to the road crossing. At the point I was tired and decided to ride the fireroad rather then the single track to the 2nd road crossing. In some ways this very fast descent of the fire road was more of an adrenalin rush that riding the single track slowly.

    For the singletrack I did most of it was perfectly ridable with out a suspension fork, but the bits where I had to get off, or unclip and go slowly, when I might not have had with a suspension fork spoilt the flow a bit.

    NB - I did not ride any of the Whitecloud single track.

    If you plan to ride all the single track I would take a suspension fork, if you are not going t ride all of it (for example due to lack of time) then you can stil have a good experience on a rigid.

    What I would take if I was going to ride all the single track is another person to make lifting bikes over trees over the trail so much easier. As I had panniers it was easy to dismount luggage and reduce bike weight, even then is was hard manoeuvring the bike over trees above knee hight with out luggage. It would have been so much easier with a 2nd person.
    Last edited by tim_f; 07-23-2014 at 03:48 PM.

  19. #119
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    Thanks for the replies Tim and smilycook.
    We will be touring in a bikepacking style rather than with panniers, so hope to do as much singletrack as possible.
    Sounds like forks are the go.
    Still keen to hear others input also.
    Thanks, Scott

  20. #120
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    Awesome trip reports and photos!

    Keep them coming. I am very interested in hearing what everyone likes and dislikes about the route.

    Also, I've been hearing that some riders are perhaps underestimating the language on the maps in regard to the singletrack sections. I cannot emphasize enough that all of the Singletrack Options are true bikepacking epics. This is real-deal backcountry singletrack mountain biking. These options can be extremely difficult if you are coming from a manicured-front-country singletrack background. Or, a dirt/paved road touring background. Riders absolutely need to plan for encountering obstacles such as downed trees, rutted out trails, long hike-a-bikes, and moving water crossings. If those situations are in any way unappealing, I recommend not attempting any of the Singletrack Options.

    If the appeal is still there, plan for being out there longer then expected. Which means packing more food as well.
    A conservative recommended allowance of time for each option:
    Willow Creek - 2 days
    White Clouds - 4 days
    Secesh - 4 days
    Eagles Nest - 2.5 days

    A little beta on the Secesh Option as of 07/29/14: The Twentymile Trail has been fully cleared in the past few day by moto riders and volunteers. Trail crews are working on Bear Pete right now.
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  21. #121
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    An unusual amount of precipitation in the past 48 hours have cause a number of landslides on FR 227 between Featherville and Ketchum.

    - There is one slide on the Featherville side (Fairfield Ranger District) between Skeleton Creek and Big Smoky Creek. If you are coming out of Featherville, the road is closed at at Skeleton Creek. Baumgartner Campground and it's hot spring pool are Open.
    - There area at least 2 slides on the Ketchum side (Ketchum Ranger District). The road is closed between Dollarhide Summit and Rooks Creek. The road is closed at Rooks Creek if you are coming out of Ketchum. Access to Frenchmans Bend and Wairfield is still available.

    There is no timeline to clear the slides. Depending on the severity, it could super fast, or it could take months. 2 examples in the region to illustrate this: 1) Last year there were numerous slides on the Salmon River Road between North Fork, ID and the put-in at Corn Creek. The road was cleared the following day. 2) The was a slide in May 2014 on the Skalkaho Hwy SR 37 between Hamilton, MT and Philipsburg, MT. The road is finally open, over two months later, as of today Aug 1st.

    We will have to wait and see the severity these slides caused.

    This is the current suggested reroute: http://goo.gl/maps/py3Z7. There is a bike path that runs between Hailey and Ketchum: BCRD Summer TraiLink - Wood River Trail. If you do take this reroute I suggest stopping in at Powerhouse in Hailey: Power House Pub & Bike Fit Studio — Burgers, Bikes, Beer - Built On Site. Motels are also cheeper in Hailey then Ketchum, and there is a full grocery and numerous restaurants. There is a convenience store, motel and restaurant on US 20 in Fairfield.
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  22. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by flumphboy View Post

    We will have to wait and see the severity these slides caused
    Wouldn't a road still be passable by a MTB with a little hike-a-bike?
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  23. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    Wouldn't a road still be passable by a MTB with a little hike-a-bike?
    The Forest Service has closed those stretches to everyone. For permission to travel through the area riders would need to touch base with both the Fairfield RD (208-764-3202) and the Ketchum RD (208-622-5371).

    Also Vik, it not quite like the HAB you guy did on the GDMBR in Canada last year. Or, this is not a secondary mining road that will probably never be repaired, it's a main road, and my gut feeling tells me they will try to clear it as quick as possible. So, heavy machinery will be running, and it would be respectful for riders to stay out of the way.
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  24. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by flumphboy View Post
    The Forest Service has closed those stretches to everyone. For permission to travel through the area riders would need to touch base with both the Fairfield RD (208-764-3202) and the Ketchum RD (208-622-5371).

    Also Vik, it not quite like the HAB you guy did on the GDMBR in Canada last year. Or, this is not a secondary mining road that will probably never be repaired, it's a main road, and my gut feeling tells me they will try to clear it as quick as possible. So, heavy machinery will be running, and it would be respectful for riders to stay out of the way.
    Got it. Thanks for the clarification.
    Safe riding,

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  25. #125
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    With 8 river launches a day at Corn Creek, the Salmon River Road is pretty important to keep open. And if the slides are above Cache Bar where the Middle Fork trips take out, then all those people ending their Middle Fork trips have to get out.

  26. #126
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    I'm planning on riding the route sans singletrack this month, and have a bike selection question for those familiar with the terrain:

    Which of the two bikes would you bring, not so much for speed but for making the route most fun. Either would be fitted with a couple of panniers:

    1. Kona Explosif (650b steel hardtail w/ 120mm fork)
    2. Specialized AWOL (29 x 2.1 Nanos)

  27. #127
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    I would take the AWOL, and then if you really like it come back and do the singletrack with the Explosif. You should match the bike to the terrain and I can't think of a bike that would be a closer fit than the AWOL.

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    Thx, I was hoping to hear that. So the descents aren't rough enough to merit full MTB?

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    Ether would work fine, but Id take the 29r. You'll be able to handle the descents in the drops with 2.1s. A few folks have ridden the main route with cross bikes and this is what they said:

    'Overall I thought that the main route was no problem on a cross bike and Christine agrees. She had previous experience on some 100+ gravel races but I literally only had 20 miles of gravel road biking in my life going into this trip. Also I've only used a mountain bike once in my life so all I will say is that if you already own a cross bike then it's not necessary to go buy a mountain bike just to use on the main route.

    I actually used my exact same bike set up from my 12 day Pacific Coast tour from Portland OR to San Jose CA back in May of this year: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/ADPC2014

    I stuck with my 32mm Continental Tour Ride Tires which I believe are the same ones that come stock on the Surly Long Haul trucker. Christine also had 32mm tires with similar tread.

    With my setup, I did not have to hike on any portions of the climbs but I definitely had to take rests. My rear tire would only start slipping on the real steep parts that were sandy. Christine had to hike with her bike on certain steep parts of the climbs when the dirt road became too crappy. A nice gentleman we met who had completed the Continental Divide last year was hiking in the real steep spots also.

    The sections that had the most washboard and sand were probably the most annoying parts of the ride and I assume that wider tires and shocks would provide a smoother ride.

    The downhills were probably the sketchest part for our bike setups especially when hitting sandy spots with decent speed. I could feel the front tire losing traction in the sand and wanting to slide left or right if I didn't hold my line straight. For the most part though, this was not an issue on most of the downhills and could easily be avoided by taking it slower on the descents. My arms were definitely tired after the real bumpy downhill parts and shocks would probably help eliminate some of that stress.

    Long story short.... We had no problems using our cross bikes with rear panniers and 32mm tires on the main route."
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    Quote Originally Posted by albeant View Post
    Thx, I was hoping to hear that. So the descents aren't rough enough to merit full MTB?
    I rode main route on a steel fork fargo with 2.1 smart sam tyres in late June / early july

    The main route descents are fine, need to pay attention on descents to look out for holes in surface so one can slow or pull up on front of bike (need to ride bike like mountain bike descending we weight well back) . Most iffy road was descent from Dollar summit towards Ketchum where last years burn has impacted road. Most of holes in road are flagged.

    Plenty of people were riding route on tyres less than 2.1, but I think wider tyres are better on washboard and allow you to avoid the worst washboard by riding on the softer bits of the road.

    The "Smart Sam" tyres were really good on main route and ok for most of the single track bits I did - I got off if was very lose on the single track.

    Tim.

  31. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by albeant View Post
    Thx, I was hoping to hear that. So the descents aren't rough enough to merit full MTB?
    I agree with the people who've responded so far that the main route is perfect for something like an AWOL or Fargo. My wife and I completed the route a couple of days ago. I used a rigid 26er with 2.4 Holy Rollers and my wife used a hardtail with 2.1 WTB Nanos. There were many sections where I wished I had the various hand positions available with drop bars, but I never wished I had a full suspension bike.

  32. #132
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    Thanks much to Welnic, Tim, nrj, and Casey for the detailed info. The AWOL it will be!

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    Quote Originally Posted by flumphboy View Post
    An unusual amount of precipitation in the past 48 hours have cause a number of landslides on FR 227 between Featherville and Ketchum.

    - There is one slide on the Featherville side (Fairfield Ranger District) between Skeleton Creek and Big Smoky Creek. If you are coming out of Featherville, the road is closed at at Skeleton Creek. Baumgartner Campground and it's hot spring pool are Open.
    - There area at least 2 slides on the Ketchum side (Ketchum Ranger District). The road is closed between Dollarhide Summit and Rooks Creek. The road is closed at Rooks Creek if you are coming out of Ketchum. Access to Frenchmans Bend and Wairfield is still available.

    There is no timeline to clear the slides. Depending on the severity, it could super fast, or it could take months. 2 examples in the region to illustrate this: 1) Last year there were numerous slides on the Salmon River Road between North Fork, ID and the put-in at Corn Creek. The road was cleared the following day. 2) The was a slide in May 2014 on the Skalkaho Hwy SR 37 between Hamilton, MT and Philipsburg, MT. The road is finally open, over two months later, as of today Aug 1st.

    We will have to wait and see the severity these slides caused.

    This is the current suggested reroute: http://goo.gl/maps/py3Z7. There is a bike path that runs between Hailey and Ketchum: BCRD Summer TraiLink - Wood River Trail. If you do take this reroute I suggest stopping in at Powerhouse in Hailey: Power House Pub & Bike Fit Studio — Burgers, Bikes, Beer - Built On Site. Motels are also cheeper in Hailey then Ketchum, and there is a full grocery and numerous restaurants. There is a convenience store, motel and restaurant on US 20 in Fairfield.
    I do not have anymore specific info to report on the Ketchum side, but on the Featherville side things are really bad. Apparently, the road slipped into the river and the river responded by re-routing onto the former road. It is about a 100 yd stretch. There is a local meeting tonight and more info should be available tomorrow.
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  34. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by flumphboy View Post
    An unusual amount of precipitation in the past 48 hours have cause a number of landslides on FR 227 between Featherville and Ketchum.

    - There is one slide on the Featherville side (Fairfield Ranger District) between Skeleton Creek and Big Smoky Creek. If you are coming out of Featherville, the road is closed at at Skeleton Creek. Baumgartner Campground and it's hot spring pool are Open.
    - There area at least 2 slides on the Ketchum side (Ketchum Ranger District). The road is closed between Dollarhide Summit and Rooks Creek. The road is closed at Rooks Creek if you are coming out of Ketchum. Access to Frenchmans Bend and Wairfield is still available.

    There is no timeline to clear the slides. Depending on the severity, it could super fast, or it could take months. 2 examples in the region to illustrate this: 1) Last year there were numerous slides on the Salmon River Road between North Fork, ID and the put-in at Corn Creek. The road was cleared the following day. 2) The was a slide in May 2014 on the Skalkaho Hwy SR 37 between Hamilton, MT and Philipsburg, MT. The road is finally open, over two months later, as of today Aug 1st.

    We will have to wait and see the severity these slides caused.

    This is the current suggested reroute: http://goo.gl/maps/py3Z7. There is a bike path that runs between Hailey and Ketchum: BCRD Summer TraiLink - Wood River Trail. If you do take this reroute I suggest stopping in at Powerhouse in Hailey: Power House Pub & Bike Fit Studio — Burgers, Bikes, Beer - Built On Site. Motels are also cheeper in Hailey then Ketchum, and there is a full grocery and numerous restaurants. There is a convenience store, motel and restaurant on US 20 in Fairfield.
    For folks riding the Willow Creek Option, consider using this routing to get to the Smiley Creek Lodge: Bikepacking Idaho’s Hot Spring and Cold Creeks | 2wheeltrails
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  35. #135
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    Nice writeup and great route. The signs on Willow Creek are old and should be ignored or taken down. I spoke with the FS about the signs on Willow Creek, but they did not know when they would get up there to remove them. Finally at the top of Bear Creek you can also go down the East Fork of Skeleton Creek this descent is top notch singletrack.
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  36. #136
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    I'm planning on heading out to ride the main route towards the end of September (either the third or last week) - what are temperatures like? I'm assuming down into the mid-30s at night? I'll be attempting to sleep at lower elevations - just don't want to leave the winter bag at home if I should bring it.

    My plan is to bring the same gear setup I would for doing a trip around here (Oregon) if I was heading up into the Cascades between 4-6,000' in September. Plenty of warm clothes, rainjacket, pants, waterproof gloves, down jacket, wool knit cap, etc.

    I'll be coming in from Portland, plan to head into Boise, park, start riding Sunday, take ~6-7 days for main route, then drive back to Portland the following weekend.

    If anyone's interested in joining me with that timeframe in mind, let me know.

  37. #137
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    Just a heads up the middle fork of the boise road has been washed out.

    The affected area extends 15 miles from the junction at Slide Gulch upstream to the Neinmeyer Recreation Site.
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  38. #138
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    SurlyNate, The weather is very unpredictable that time of year. We have gotten snow storms of a couple inches at the end of September that melt off within a couple of days. I would bring the winter bag just in case you need it or get stranded waiting for snow to melt.
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    Thanks for the intel on the road closure and possibility of light snow.

    Besides following the forum chatter here and over at bikepacking.org and ACA forums, where could I find information regarding road closures of the route? Your comment was the first I had heard of the Middle Fork Road closure, and I'm unable to find either that road closure or the FR227 closure anywhere online?

    Am I not looking in the correct spots, or is it a matter of calling the local ranger district?

    Thanks!

  40. #140
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    Closures are slow to show up on the FS websites. I would check ktvb and idahostatesman a couple days before you leave they will have road closures posted.
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    Hey, do you mean the sign on the upper part of Willow Creek about "trail closed due to fire damage"? It certainly didn't look damaged, but we weren't sure what it'd be like later on & down the trail.

    Quote Originally Posted by smilycook View Post
    Nice writeup and great route. The signs on Willow Creek are old and should be ignored or taken down. I spoke with the FS about the signs on Willow Creek, but they did not know when they would get up there to remove them. Finally at the top of Bear Creek you can also go down the East Fork of Skeleton Creek this descent is top notch singletrack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carbonguy View Post
    Hey, do you mean the sign on the upper part of Willow Creek about "trail closed due to fire damage"? It certainly didn't look damaged, but we weren't sure what it'd be like later on & down the trail.
    Does the sign say it is closed? From my memory it just warned of possible downed trees and washouts, but there was no mention of it being "officially closed".
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  44. #144
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    There are dedicated threads to the landslide/washouts over on the Road Closure section of ACA's forum:

    Temporary ACA Route Road Closures

    Basically everything is passable, but head over there for the info/directions.
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  45. #145
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    The sign says it is closed, but should be ignored.

    Quote Originally Posted by flumphboy View Post
    Does the sign say it is closed? From my memory it just warned of possible downed trees and washouts, but there was no mention of it being "officially closed".
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  46. #146
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    A customer just finished the loop and did this write up on the Willow Creel Option.
    IHSMBR ? Willow Creek Option

  47. #147
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    Just finished the first part of our trip report and photos: Idaho City to Smiley Creek Lodge.

    Check it out: Limberlost ? Lost in Idaho ? Idaho City to Smiley Creek Lodge

  48. #148
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    Looks like some rough times on the singletrack options. Fully rigid old school mountain bikes with panniers are not going to cut it on the singletrack options. Hopefully Casey will add some extra warnings in the map for the next printing.

    I am going to recommend a deviation on the Whitecloud singletrack unless you really love pushing your bike.

    From Pole Creek road you take Grand Prize Trail to the Bowery Guard Station. The singletrack option then recommends going up the Bowery Trail. This is 100% hike-a-bike up and then 50% hike-a-bike down for bikepackers. Instead get on the East Fork Road and ride to Big Boulder Road. Turn left on Big Boulder Road and ride to the trailhead for the Big Boulder Trail. Take the Castle Divide trail to Frog lake then up and over the divide. There will be some hike-a-bike near the top of the divide. Then descend off the Divide and back onto the singletrack option. The Chamberlain Creek trail is about 70% hike-a-bike on the way up so use this option gives you a lot more riding.

    Also visit trails.idaho.gov for lots of intel. Plus all routes can be downloaded into Google Earth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilycook View Post
    I am going to recommend a deviation on the Whitecloud singletrack unless you really love pushing your bike.
    Different strokes for different folks, I guess. For my money, the descents into Germania and Ants Basin were highlights of my trip (White Cloud section). The scenery in both areas was stunning. I wasnt expecting the rowdy descents; so happening upon them was something out of a dream.

    The hike-a-bikes were epic, but so were the views, descents, wildlife, weather, etc. A very consistent experience

  50. #150
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    Quote Originally Posted by henrychinaski View Post
    Different strokes for different folks, I guess. For my money, the descents into Germania and Ants Basin were highlights of my trip (White Cloud section). The scenery in both areas was stunning. I wasnt expecting the rowdy descents; so happening upon them was something out of a dream.

    The hike-a-bikes were epic, but so were the views, descents, wildlife, weather, etc. A very consistent experience
    I am still recommending the Ants Basin route, just skipping the first hike-a-bike since the majority of people will enjoy the detour better since there is a lot more riding fit into basically the same amount of time. The descent into Germania is very rowdy indeed and something few people can ride.
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  51. #151
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilycook View Post
    people will enjoy the detour better since there is a lot more riding fit into basically the same amount of time
    A quick look at Strava indicates youre adding 15 miles and ~1,100 feet to get to the Big Boulder Cr. Trail head (from Bowery). Further, Big Boulder Cr. to Frog Lake, over Castle Divide, and descending into Chamberlain Basin doesnt look like a picnic (see Strava below). In fact, youd cover somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,500 feet over nearly 16 miles. Youd also spend a significant amount of time at high elevations, topping out at nearly 10k over Castle Divide. Im staring at the Sawtooth/White Clouds Idaho Trail map (Sawtooth/Whiteclouds, Idaho Trail Map & Guide | Adventure Maps) and it indicates the section of trail through Frog lakes as double black, so its not like youre going to avoid technical riding. Youd be doing all this to bypass a hike-a-bike (similar to what youd find on your alternative) and a 2-mile descent. Ive never ridden the proposed sections, but I think its highly likely it would take significantly more time than the 10 mile section youre bypassing. In fact, its a long enough of a stretch to add a day to your trip. Though, another day in that country wouldn't be all that bad

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  52. #152
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    Quote Originally Posted by henrychinaski View Post
    A quick look at Strava indicates youre adding 15 miles and ~1,100 feet to get to the Big Boulder Cr. Trail head (from Bowery). Further, Big Boulder Cr. to Frog Lake, over Castle Divide, and descending into Chamberlain Basin doesnt look like a picnic (see Strava below). In fact, youd cover somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,500 feet over nearly 16 miles. Youd also spend a significant amount of time at high elevations, topping out at nearly 10k over Castle Divide. Im staring at the Sawtooth/White Clouds Idaho Trail map (Sawtooth/Whiteclouds, Idaho Trail Map & Guide | Adventure Maps) and it indicates the section of trail through Frog lakes as double black, so its not like youre going to avoid technical riding. Youd be doing all this to bypass a hike-a-bike (similar to what youd find on your alternative) and a 2-mile descent. Ive never ridden the proposed sections, but I think its highly likely it would take significantly more time than the 10 mile section youre bypassing. In fact, its a long enough of a stretch to add a day to your trip. Though, another day in that country wouldn't be all that bad

    Bike Ride Profile | Livingston to 4th July near Clayton | Times and Records | Strava
    Henry, The trail from Livingstone Mill to Frog lake is great singletrack and very easy with bike packing gear. I was bike packing into Frog lake on the castle divide trail with BOB trailers over 10 years ago. On the recommended route there is about 1500ft of hike-a-bike on bowery and then about 1800ft of hike-a-bike on chamberlain creek. Maybe you are right about adding a day since that is a hard call and can vary so much by ability. I just know after having ridden in the Whiteclouds for the past 15 years I would much rather go my way than the recommended route with bike packing gear. Without gear I would actually go up Little Boulder Creek.

    Check out my writeup on chamberlain creek on mtb project and you can see the steepness. https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/600...in-creek-trail

    I don't have a writeup yet for bowery creek on there.
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  53. #153
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    Hi Gang,

    I'm a working stiff who tries to periodically carve some time out for bike adventures. This carved-out time is precious and valuable and so I like to make it count, which necessitates research and planning. I've also done enough of this to know that nothing is for sure, and part of what makes bike adventures so great is that you can be forced at times to relinquish partial or full control of your circumstances to nature and chance. I'm good with that. Actually, I'm more than good - that's where all the great adventure lies.

    So with that preface, I have carved out a 4+ day weekend in October. The dates are 16-19, Thur-Sun. The "+" part is that I can bail from work early on Wed afternoon, hitting the road so that I can be "there" and ready to ride on Thursday morning.

    One of the options I have been considering is the IHSMBR. For some context, I live in Spokane. I have a like-minded buddy who has also carved out said time and who will be coming with me. We are both pretty experienced off-road bikepackers and we both have some backcountry experience and some emergency medical knowledge. Both of us have passed through our 20's and 30's and I like to think we have some pretty good judgement, meaning that families and obligations force us to have pretty good judgement. We are both also reasonably fit and love a good physical challenge and would rather be either climbing or descending, and love spending time outdoors and are reasonably used to adapting to and dealing with adverse weather conditions.

    My question for y'all is whether a mini-tour through some part of the IHSMBR during this time frame is a reasonable option, or whether we are smoking crack.

    We would be bailing from work early on Wed, 10/15, bee-lining for a town where we could overnight at a motel and park my truck, then heading into the hills for the next three days, returning on Saturday night, overnighting, and then driving home on Sunday. I suppose we could also come out on Sunday morning, get in the truck and drive straight home.

    Hitting hot springs at the end of each day on Sat and Sun would be ideal, obviously, since it will be damned cold at night. Planning a route that is at relatively lower elevations would seem to be a smart move, at this late date. Along with weather, another thing that I could see seriously impacting this trip is the amount of hunting activity that might be going on during this time. Neither of us are all that crazy about interjecting ourselves into peak hunting seasons, probably especially the modern firearm ones.

    With all that said, we still envision that maybe there is the potential for a rather awesome excursion, and wanted to solicit the opinions of those in the know here, especially those who understand the seasonal conditions/hazards/realities of the area in mid to late October.

    Are we crazy for even considering this? If we are, I can accept that. But if we aren't, are there any destinations/routes that you think would particularly lend themselves to what we have in mind?

    Thanks in advance for any feedback you are willing to provide.

  54. #154
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    During fickle times of the year - fire season, spring, fall, etc. - what I like to do is plan 3 trips to 3 different areas. That way if, lets say, it's snowing in the White Clouds, it may be 20 degrees warmer and sunny in the Owyhee Basin. Or, out at some of those hot springs in Eastern Oregon.

    I don't think your crazy for attempting a trip to central Idaho during that time of year, but just have a backup plan(s). I went down there 2 years ago in late October and we had 70 degree days for a week, and then a cold front moved in and it dumped 8 inches of snow above 8000ft.
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  55. #155
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    I haven't looked at my maps yet, but I think that with 4+ days your best option would be to do one of the singletrack options and then complete the loop by traveling back to the start of the singletrack on the normal route.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Welnic View Post
    I haven't looked at my maps yet, but I think that with 4+ days your best option would be to do one of the singletrack options and then complete the loop by traveling back to the start of the singletrack on the normal route.
    The White Clouds would be ideal for this. Start/end at Smily Creek Lodge area.

    But, if you plan for the White Clouds, I'd definitely have a back-up plan. Snow is fickle.
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  57. #157
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    Casey and Welnic, thanks for your replies.

    I got home from work today and my maps were on my doorstep and my face has been glued to them for the last three hours. Casey, they are AMAZING. Thank you.

    Welnic, your idea of tying some singletrack into the main loop to create a mini loop was exactly what I had in mind. Unfortunately, the devil is in the details.

    Casey, before even reading your reply about the White Cloud/Smiley Creek option, I was magnetically drawn to it on the map. The problem is, that's the highest average elevation of the route, and I may well have misrepresented my abilities in my introductory post, but traversing 9 and 10k' passes in mid-late Oct is way more than I want to bite off. The other thing that jumps out from the maps is just the sheer elevation changes and therefore steepness of that section. It would be super slow going. I would love to do this, but in June or July.

    One possibility at lower elevation that jumped out at me was driving to Cascade, overnighting there (if that is an option), and then driving south and finding a place to park the truck and heading out on some sort of 3-day route that would include a bit of Eagles' Nest singletrack and then a bunch of banging around on the main route and other secondary dirt roads between the numerous HS's in that region.

    I am very excited about the"big route" and am anxious to get immersed in it and plan some longer trips in the upcoming season, but as a way to "get acquainted", given the limited time I have available this Fall, does this potential mini-route seem like a plan that has any merit?

  58. #158
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    That looks like a good plan.

    A lower elevation alternative would be to start riding at the confluence of the South Fork of the Salmon and the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon. Ride south on the main route to the North Shore Lodge. The highest point of the trip would be next, Warm Lake Summit at 7290 feet. Then when you get to Landmark head north and descend the road next to Johnson Creek to Yellow Pine.
    Then ride down the road next to the East Fork back to the start.

    The only time I have been in that exact area of Idaho was on a paddling trip in 1979 when we ran the East Fork. I really liked the town of Yellow Pine, though I can't really explain why. I saw a trip report from someone who rode the route and they did this diversion through Yellow Pine.

    Web cam of the runway just south of Yellow Pine:
    Johnson Creek Airport WebCam

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    Welnic, thanks. The loop you described looks like another great option. One thing that really appeals to me is all the time you would spend riding alongside either the south or east fork. Lots of campground options, as well.

    The JCA webcam is great. Sure looks like a fine day up there today!

  60. #160
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    October in Idaho is such an unknown. Last year we got snow on the second weekend in October down to about 6000ft.

    You would be better off planning for the Boise or Sun Valley area. McCall tends to get snow earlier and in larger quantities. Boise or the Owyhees are a good backup plan in case the snow really rolls in. I would suggest picking up the Adventure Map for the Sun Valley area and using that to create a singletrack option off the main route.

    It is also hunting season in October so a lot of campgrounds will be packed.
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    Just got back from a modified version of the main route (due to smoke I just hauled ass down 55 from McCall back to Boise).

    Amazing trip, people, and scenery. I"ll be back for sure.

    One note - I'd highly, highly recommend either the walk around on the hill or the entire re-route for the 268 slide. I definitely would not attempt to cross the river, then re-cross it to get back onto the road. The first crossing is doable without too much trouble. However, there is a LOT of quicksand-ish material near the eastern re-crossing. As in - it looks like a solid surface with a foot of water on top of it, but the first step you take onto it you'll be mid-thigh deep in sand and water to your ribcage. Scary stuff. I just realized on the drive home that had I been carrying my bike with me, it would have gone into the sand as well and I honestly don't know how I would have gotten it out.

    So yeah - the walk-around on the hillside can be a pain in the ass from what I hear, but it's easily the safest option. Having both legs buried past the knees is kind of scary.

  62. #162
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    Thanks

    I just wanted to thank whoever built the trail around the slide on the Middle Fork Rd., 268.
    It took us ~ three hours to move our two bikes and panniers to other side using multiple trips back and forth, but was easily doable last Thursday.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The 500-Mile Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route-p1000172.jpg  


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    Quote Originally Posted by tim_f View Post
    Completed main Loop last Tuesday and returned to the UK today.

    I was riding a rigid Salsa Fargo with panniers.

    my track is here - https://share.delorme.com/timfield

    Will be publsihed extended story on crazyguyonabike.com in due course with photos.

    My maps are with my baggage which missed a connection so some names my be wrong.

    This is how my trip panned out

    DAY 1 Monday 23rd June.

    Left my Warm showers hosts in Boise about 8.00 and followed Boise Greenbelt cycle route up to Sandy Point rec areas where I joined Boise Spur route.

    Reached Neinmiyer camp-site - warm spring pool under water - about 18:00

    Day 2 Tuesday

    Cycled up to Atlanta and got their about lunchtime. Had cheeseburger and apple pie at the Beaver lodge bar. Both very good particularly the apple pie. Went to hot spring and camped at riverside camp-site. Bar lady at Beaver lodge is also forrest services camp-site person and has good info on which hot spring and which camp-site to use.

    * Atlanta well worth a visit *

    Day 3 Wednesday.

    Started Willowcreek singletrack about 8.00. climb up past mine is steep but ridable apart from soft area where mine is working on road. Mine guys told me that I would be doing a lot of pushing later.....

    Singletrack section starts well a lot ridable for me but had to get off for looser and /or steper bits.

    A lot of trees down and not trivial to get bike over.

    But the top section was epic, lots of steep snow patches, I had to kick steps with my feet and carry bike and panniers separately.

    Reached Decker Creek summit about 18:00.

    Trail down was covered with snow so took me about an hour and a half to get down to ridable section.

    Reached Willow creek camp ground about 23.45 by Petzl headtorch light. Trail got more ridable for me the futher I got down.

    * Too early in season to make this section anything but an epic due to combination of snow and downed trees from lack of tyre marks in snow think I was first across this year *

    Day 4 Thursday

    Only go going about 9:00 because of late finish.

    original plan had been to back track to Featherville to get some more food. But due to late start decided not to but instead stop and cook some pasta at lunchtime.

    Was tired from the previous day so found climb to Dollarhide summit hard compounded by altitude. Was going so slowly on final mile and stopping so much that ended up getting off and pushing bike at a steady 3 mph.

    Descent need attention because road was in poor condition.

    Reached Ketchum about 21:00 tired and hungry and went straight to supermarket for Bagels, cookies, orange juice and a yoghurt, which al tasted great.

    Chatted to a guy who suggested Lift tower lodge Motel

    Room was about $99 and was fine.


    Day 5 Friday

    In morning went to Laundrette and to supermarket to get more food.

    Laundrette is attached to Grumpies bar on route in to town. Opens about 9:00. Bar can give change for machines.

    There are 2 in town both upmarket and expensive.

    Started to rain about 11:00 so sat on porch until rain stopped about 13:00. Just out of town started raining heavily again so took shelter.

    Stopped at Sawtooth Park visitor centrer and got Harrison & Galena trail map and black wide mountain bike trail guide.

    Got board of the Harrison Trail a bit before Galena Lodge so joined main highway for a a few miles.

    Convinced my self that something was wrong with bike front end so adjusted headset tension, and cleaned dirt from behind front axel bearing dust covers to get rid of squeak.

    I was sceptical that I was in the right place when starting the old tol road trail section, but it is exactly as described in the route narrative.

    Camped wild on trail on 'old toll road' section.

    *** Old toll road section is not to be missed ******

    Day 6 Saturday

    Day started cold but with no rain (and it was not to rain again during trip)

    When old toll road trail reached the highway I decided to complete climb on the highway, not much traffic at that time and description indicated trail was rough.

    Met some roadies on summit and put on warm gloves for descent down old toll road trail.

    Excellent descent.

    Followed trail through to Stanley, a great days riding, but getting hot towards end of day.

    Signs indicated redfish lake camper grounds were full, but fanced a shower and bed so took a room at Mountain Village Motel at Stanley. ( I asked about camping at their RV park but they do not do that. Room was about $90

    So liked Stanley that I decided to stay a 2nd night

    So on Sunday cycled out with out my luggage up to Redfish lake.

    At visitor centre there looked at a mountain biking guide book and learnt about a MTB trail around the lake and decided to do it. A nice technical trail just right for my rigid Salsa Fargo. Climbs out rigid on one side of lake then descents to far end (where I had a dip in the lake) and then climbs by switchbacks up the ridge on the other side. Trail just touches boundary of wilderness area. It was great and back at Redfish lodge a band was playing on the grass, so I sat in the shade and listened to them for a couple of hours. Then back to Stanley for a shower and Pizza. Did not have time to sort out a dip in the motel's private hot spring.

    * Supermarket at Mouintain Village is very well stocked and reasonably priced *

    Day 8 Monday

    As I was leaving met a group of 4 guys rising the main loop accompanied by 2 of their wives driving their gear in a 4X4. They were having to get a wheel fixed, but exchanged plans for the day and said we might all meet at Bear Valley campground.

    Ride was very good, good dirt roads with no significant traffic. At lunchtime met the 4 guys who had got wheel fixed and then had taken highway to make up time, but where then waiting for their wives to arrive with lunch. So beat them to Bear valley camp-ground. Camp-ground was almost full as lot of native tribe people camping. It was good to chat with the seniors of the tribe and them to show their spear fishing techniques.

    The river was good to swim in (away from where people were fishing.

    The 4 guys rolled in about a hour later than me and then Mike who was doing the main loop in the opposite direction arrived.

    The 4 guys group kindly invited me and Mike to a very goof meal of chicken and rice. It was good to sit around the fire after the meal and chat about our shared lover of the outdoors and rest of our lives.

    Day 9 Tuesday

    Got going well before the 4 guys and had a good day with a few climbs and descents, reached Warm Lake in early afternoon. The final descent was on tarmac and great fun, like being on a alpine descent. Pleased oh how well I count corner on the 2.1 Smart Sam tyres.

    Was warm so after a cold drink and ice cream from lodge retreated to the shade of the picnic ground 'no car' campsite (just past lodge).

    About 6:00 went for a wonderful swim from the rocks below camp-site.
    Lake was nice temperature (but not warm)

    Had good meal from Lodge and chatted with a group of young cycle tourist doing their own Idaho loop with more tarmac and less dirt.

    ** Store at lodge only has non perisahable supplies - tins, pasta etc.****

    Day 10 Wednesday

    said goodbye to the 4 guys as they were taking the highway to Cascade due to lack of time.

    Descended down Salmon river, on tarmac, (though with some climbs ) lots of fisherman. Had a dip in 16 mile hot spring. (look for it soon after 15 mile post - I did not look until I got to 16 and had to go back)

    Then back on dirt road and started climbing again. Here I had my only flat tire of the trip, which I quickly patched. Did not find anything in tyre, so guess it was a sharp road chip.

    Stopped at Ponderoser Pines campground at 13:30. It was very hot even in the shade. It was too quiet after being with people for the last few nights as no one else was camping. My small radio could not get a signal at all. Very pleased when it got cool enough again to cook and read.

    ***camp has water pump***

    Day 11 Thursday

    Continued up Lick Creek Climb and got to summit 11ish to decided to ride the last bit of Sech single track section in the opposite direction to the guide and then take the highway to McCall.

    The initial climb up to Duck Lake was very good, rideable with out downed trees blocking the trail, so it looked good for the descent down the other side. I had told my self that if I found a problem with this bit I would turn around. The descent started well, but then I came to lots of downed trees which were high above the trail, it was hard to get bike over them even after removing panniers. A 2nd person would have made it so much easier. It was joy to hear trail bikers (on motorbikes) coming the other way which meant no more trees across the trail.

    Very good to get down to the lake and filter some more water and take highway to McCall. The idea of taking a Motel room was in my mind as a struggles with the trees but getting to McCall I realised that being ththe 4th July holiday weekend everywhere would be full. So camped at RV park and campaground beyond airport.

    I expecteded a noisy night and I was right so did nor hurry to bed until past midnight.

    *** two very goof supermarkets in McCall, good value with good selection. one near airport sells campstove 'european' butane /propane mix light weight cartridges and dried backpacking meals at resonable prices ***

    Guy invited me to stay for 4th July party in the afternoon but I wanted to get on and avoid another noisy night.

    Day 12 Friday 4th July.

    Route leaves town for the dirt roads of the Long Valley past the finish farmsteads.

    I reached the historic town of Rosebery about 12:00, it was very hot and the Museum did not open until latter, so headed off route to town of Donnely for a cool drink and a ice cream, then down to Lake Cascade for some shade and a rest. Found a good shady spot in the picnic shelter by the boat launch. The Latino group having a picnic party their offered me food and cool water and I read and had a swim. When it was cooler at 4.00 I got back on my bike and headed back to Rosebery. On the way a guy out in front of his house with his family and friends who I had chatted with earlier waived me down to stop and meet his friends - and he got me to have a go at badminton - which i failed to master - last time I tried was about 35 years ago. he ivited me to camp in his garden but I had not gone far that day son continued.

    The museum town at Rosebery was very good - the town 'died' when the railway missed town by a mile and a new down was build by teh railway.

    Abut 5:00 I got going again and camped wild on Gold Fork river. Lower down it is private land but higher up land is public and there are lots of camping spots by the river.

    Day 13 Saturday 5th July

    Day started with climb to Eagle Nest where single Track section starts.

    At first I did not spot start of trail even though it was right in front of my eyes. So ended up deciding I was in wrong place and continuing on main route. Realised I had been in correct place and went back.

    The route description says trail starts with a short climb. At first I could ride it but then I got too tired and the trail too steep and so I ended up pushing. Took about 1 hour to get to top of trail, but trail free of trees across trail ;-).

    Descent was great, but hard of body on rigid bike, so when I go to road crossing I choose to follow dirt road the rest of the way particularly as the single track had another section of climb. Perhaps I should have missed the top section and ridden the lower section?

    ** watch out for the cool water spring on the main route after joining warm lake road ***

    I got to cascade about 14:00 and had a rest in the shade in the park for a hours or so.

    **** Cascade has a good supermarket and a 'Family Dollar' store which is very good value - I was able to replace broken sunglasses for $8.00 - I also go fig roles and dried fruit ***

    I continued past Cascade lake to Clear Creek Station RV park

    Good value at $7.00 for camping with showers.

    They had a very good blues/rock band playing for a 5th July party. The band played from 6:00 to 10:00 so no problem with late noise. A very good evening.

    **** have very small small store selling basic stuff ****

    Day 15 Sunday 6th July.

    Climbed up and over to Boiling Point Campground where I stopped for a long lunchbreak spent in the shade sitting on a tree root with my feet in the river.

    Then another climb over to Silver Creek plunge pool camp ground.

    The hot springs feed a swimming pool ($8.00 admission after 8:00 $10.00 all day) this pool was very welcome as it relieved something in my arm that I had hurt somehow on the descent. I am glad I did not stop at the 1st campground after the descent.

    Day 16 Monday 7th July

    Climbed over to Crouch and arrived at midday , very hot buy hung out in air conditioned seating area at supermarket for a few hours reading.

    **** supermarket has good selection and is good value ****

    Then moved on to Library which is on way out of town, coold with good internet connection - Wi-fi and computers.

    Left library about 5:00. Reached Placeville at five past seven just as shop had closed, and soda can vending machine outside was out of order.

    ***** Placeville shiop looked like it had good selection of food even though it is a general store *****

    Reached Idaho City about 21.00 and took room in Idaho City Lodge Hotel $65.00 a night mid week.

    ****Owner of Lodge can sort out car parking whilst on route.****

    **** 2 small supermarkets in town - one open to 22:00 ***

    Cooked on stove in car park as all earing paces closd by time I had showered.

    Day 17 Tuesday 8th July

    Hanged out in Holel until Museum opened at 11:00, then extended lunch at 'Donnas place' and then hang out at library.

    Got going when it was cooler at 16:00.

    3000 feet of climbing.

    reached highpoint at dusk, and then climbed futher to lookoout.

    amazing sunset - red sky.

    met shepherd with flock of sheep.

    very scenic ride along ridge before dececending to cottonwood creek.

    Ride to complete route at Cottonwood campsite completed by moonlight (almost full moon) and petzl headtorch.

    *** Cottonwood campsite is unsigned and on opprosite side of creek from dirtroad. ***

    Day 18 Wednesday 9th June.

    Main loop now completed.

    Followed Boise spur along Arrowrock resevoir to Sandypoint rec area where I swam in the lake - nice temperature of water, then followe dBosie Green Belt cycle path back to Boise (rather that ACA route to airport)

    Any questions happy top answer.

    Big thanks to Casey, Adventure Cycling, everyone I met, and my hosts in Boise from warmshowers.org.

    Tim
    The photos from my trip are here - https://onedrive.live.com/?cid=c0bff...E4HbZh-vUb8nl0

  64. #164
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    Nice set of pictures. Thanks for putting those up there.

  65. #165
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    I just posted some more photos and stories from the White Cloud leg of our trip, check it out: The White Clouds & Stanley

  66. #166
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    Finally finished writing up my trip report from Idaho! We rode most of the route including the singletrack sections back in july. Fantasticly difficult vacation, thanks for all the hard work Casey!

    See and read more here:
    Limberlost ? Lost in Idaho ? Idaho City to Smiley Creek Lodge
    The White Clouds & Stanley
    Journey North to Burgdorf Hot Springs
    Lost in Idaho - 4 of 4 - The Return South Through Eagle's Nest


    Our crew in Idaho City by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Trudy's Kitchen, Powers courtesy of the house by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Thorn Creek Butte at Sunset by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Ryan King by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Jason, Soaker by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Fresh mint and snow summit cocktails by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Ross Shoulder by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Ross Shoulder, looking out over the Sawtooths and down into the Ross Basin by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Lyle by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Porcelain Rocket Mr Fusion seatbag by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Dropping into our campsite in Ants Basin by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Ants Basin by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Morning rituals by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Lyle crossing The Meadows by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Chunky! by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Boat Box Hot Springs by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Mr Fusion again by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    I carried a Tenkara rod and even caught some cute lil buggers by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Camp Cocktails by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Running out of food, lucky to find this large bolete on the trail by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Slept like a champ! by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Camped in a regenerating burned alpine meadow by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Top of Steamboat Ridge by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Swimming hole by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Goofballs by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Fool Creek Trail by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Lyle, getting loose by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    Yup, a Mountain Lion by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr


    And it's a wrap! Hardest 17 days I've had on a bike. by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr

  67. #167
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    Sweet! My wife and I rode with you mr. slingshot man out of Smiley Creek-excellent write up and pics!

  68. #168
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    Awesome! It was great chatting with you, hope the rest of your trip was fantastic!

    I got a photo of you guys:
    Headed into the White Clouds by gabriel amadeus, on Flickr

  69. #169
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    Nice pic-thanks so much for posting. Yes-amazing place next time we'll bring our touring bikes. I must say-that mountain lion pic is out of this world...that would be on my highlight list for sure.

    jamie

  70. #170
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    Looks like that mountain lion is a youngster?

  71. #171
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    Totally a baby kitty! He/she was playing in the hot spring when I rolled up!

  72. #172
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    Cutest thing ever!

    The scary thing about mountain lion cubs is that they stay with mama kitty for two years. So if you see a baby kitty, you can bet that mama is somewhere about.

  73. #173
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    Looking forward to this ride, ordered my maps already. New to bikepacking so I have Some questions for those who have already been there.

    Is late August okay? Works better for my schedule. Tent or hammock?
    My ride of choice is a sweet Canfield brothers Nimble 9 singlespeed. Is a singlespeed doable?

    Any and all advice welcome
    Thanks,
    Ward

  74. #174
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    Late August probably holds the greatest chance of being sidetracked by a forrest fire - or smoke. If you do go then, be prepared to adapt to your plans and routing. Early July is traditionally the best time. Or - after the snow melts but before wildfire season.

    I researched the route on a singlespeed. So, it's definitely doable.

    You could do tent or hammock tent or tarp or mid. There are plenty of trees to hang a Hennessy Hammock type shelter. I prefer a mid, such as the Black Diamond Mega-Light.
    Casey Greene - President, Board of Directors - Bikepacking Roots
    bikepackingroots.org

  75. #175
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    Looking like my only options are late August or early Sept. I like the idea of a Mid as well. How bad are the bugs? I have about been talked out of SS, probably will put an Alfine 11 on my Nimble 9 to keep from having to work so hard on the flats. Thanks for the info.

  76. #176
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    In august and september bugs are a non-issue.
    Casey Greene - President, Board of Directors - Bikepacking Roots
    bikepackingroots.org

  77. #177
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    Great!

  78. #178
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    Keep me posted. I'd love to have some partners in this route. I'd be coming from the west unfortunately.

  79. #179
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    At this point our plan has us arriving in Ketchum on Sunday 8/16 early and trying to get on the road that day. Still debating the CW or CCW route.

  80. #180
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    What's the word for 2015 season conditions on the route?

    How was the snowpack in ID? If as dry as other parts of the west, do we have an earlier date for trails/roads clear of snow and trees?

    What is current and planned status of the MF Boise road washout?

    Thanks if anyone can comment. Schedule constraints prevented me from making it over there last year but I hope/intend to do the loop this year.

  81. #181
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    MF Boise Rd is fixed.

    Snowpack is melting about 2 weeks to a month ahead of last year.
    Casey Greene - President, Board of Directors - Bikepacking Roots
    bikepackingroots.org

  82. #182
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    Wilderness was just signed into law this morning. It is now illegal to be in possession of a bicycle on these 2 sections of the White Cloud Option.

    The 500-Mile Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route-whitecloudsfb.jpg
    Casey Greene - President, Board of Directors - Bikepacking Roots
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  83. #183
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    ^^^ bummer
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  84. #184
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    Ugh. Fakk. Total bummer. A buddy and I were really hoping to ride this section in September.

  85. #185
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    My wife and I are going to be traveling through on our way back to the PNW the second week of July. I was thinking it would be fun to stop and do some day rides to some of these spots. Are any of the singletrack options conducive to out and back in a day, i.e. what is the average distance from the road to the springs? I assume most of the roads are graded/gravel. Any input would be appreciated.

  86. #186
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    The Harriman trail heads north out of Ketchum towards Stanley. A double track with spectacular views its is a slow steady, but nothing too hard, until you reach Galena Lodge. A great place to stop and eat but they don't stay open very late at all. From there you either climb Galena pass or you turn back towards Ketchum for 20 plus miles of zooming downhill that rarely makes you touch your brakes. That run was my favorite ever on a bike!

  87. #187
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    OK, it looks like I am FINALLY really going to ride this thing. I've convinced two friends to ride the full main route beginning Sept. 10th. We will all be on hardtail MTBs so might consider one of the shorter singletrack options if time permits. Some questions:

    1) If we want to shave some miles/time, is there any reason we can't stay on the MF Payette road between points N and J on the Crouch-Cascade section? You'd miss Silver Creek HS and might only save an hour or so, but good to have options.
    2) I'm leaning toward Eagles Nest as a singletrack option over Willow Creek. Seems perhaps better riding, but that's perception NOT based on riding there. Maybe staying around Atlanta makes Willow a better choice??
    3) If you're riding the main route counterclockwise, and if you're on MTB, seems like no reason not to deviate from main route just for the first 8 or 9 miles of Eagle's Nest, since its all descent, no?

    Any other timely inputs, please share. Hoping Sept = cooler temps and fewer bugs. Looks like sub-freezing temps are likely at night in the higher regions??

  88. #188
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    Quote Originally Posted by InertiaMan View Post
    OK, it looks like I am FINALLY really going to ride this thing. I've convinced two friends to ride the full main route beginning Sept. 10th. We will all be on hardtail MTBs so might consider one of the shorter singletrack options if time permits. Some questions:

    1) If we want to shave some miles/time, is there any reason we can't stay on the MF Payette road between points N and J on the Crouch-Cascade section? You'd miss Silver Creek HS and might only save an hour or so, but good to have options.
    2) I'm leaning toward Eagles Nest as a singletrack option over Willow Creek. Seems perhaps better riding, but that's perception NOT based on riding there. Maybe staying around Atlanta makes Willow a better choice??
    3) If you're riding the main route counterclockwise, and if you're on MTB, seems like no reason not to deviate from main route just for the first 8 or 9 miles of Eagle's Nest, since its all descent, no?

    Any other timely inputs, please share. Hoping Sept = cooler temps and fewer bugs. Looks like sub-freezing temps are likely at night in the higher regions??
    At this point you are going to have to work around the Pioneer fire closure, and its smoke: InciWeb the Incident Information System: Pioneer Fire .

    Eagles Nest is much better riding than Willow Creek, and yes, if you are using a bikepacking style setup, there is no reason to not ride that singletrack on the Eagles Nest option. You can stay on the M Fk Pay road to shave some time.
    Casey Greene - President, Board of Directors - Bikepacking Roots
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  89. #189
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    Quote Originally Posted by flumphboy View Post
    At this point you are going to have to work around the Pioneer fire closure, and its smoke: InciWeb the Incident Information System: Pioneer Fire .
    Thanks for that URL Casey. I checked the current conditions page on ACA today and noted that fire, but the text summary didn't communicate the scale as well as the map you linked to.

    Fire/smoke is not a riding obstacle I have a lot of experience with . . . can you help me understand the potential implications? Would you consider riding the route in current conditions? Do folks consider shuttling past critical/smokey areas rather than cancel a planned trip? Is a fire of this size typically expected to be controlled/stopped before we are in the area ~10 days from now? (I realize anything is possible but some generalizations might be helpful).

    It doesn't appear that any of the roads on the main route are currently closed due to the fire. Obviously fire and smoke could make things miserable real fast. Since the fire is currently 58% contained and the status descriptions imply they are making progress, and its burning N/NE, I was hoping it may be resolved before we ride thru that area.

    PS - which hot spring is shown in the map set photo w/ the bathtub and long pipe inlet?

  90. #190
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    Smoke is pretty much the worst conditions to ride through. You can't really breathe in heavy smoke, and when cycling you have to breathe lots. It would say do not even try to ride anywhere between Banner Summit and Warm Lake. It will take a season ending event to put this fire out. Which may come this weekend, but I doubt it. The 58% containment is the area where the fire has already burned through. So, that orange polygon on the map is not all burning right now. Some may still be smoldering, though.

    Here's a better map to gauge where the fire is actually burning, day to day (red dots are were it is most active): Fire Detection Maps

    Smoke typically moves east. So, the westernmost and southernmost parts of the route typically wouldn't be affected by this fire's smoke plume.

    That photo was taken at Burgdorf Hot Spring, on the Secesh Option. Right behind the tub is a huge pool. Google it for images.
    Casey Greene - President, Board of Directors - Bikepacking Roots
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  91. #191
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    Code:
    Here's a better map to gauge where the fire is actually burning, day to day (red dots are were it is most active): Fire Detection Maps
    Thank you for the link.
    Zoran
    Advocate Cycles Hayduke 27.5+

    www.leavenotraceexpeditions.com

  92. #192
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    Given the scale of this fire (the largest currently active fire in the US) and the proximity to the route, we're definitely revising our plan.

    Even the western portion of the ride seems potentially problematic, since there are road closures and camping bans within 5 to 10 miles of the route near Crouch. We are considering riding the Secesh option at the top, then down the main route through the Eagles Nest option, continuing south and eventually cutting back via the Boise spur (perhaps looping out through Atlanta if we have time). I have a friend that can get my can from the N of route down to Boise, so the logistics are viable. But I'm still concerned about smoke (noticed some comments online from Garden Valley residents) or fire movement. Also concerned about the singletrack from my friends, who have some-but-not-a-lot of trail experience.

    Casey, how rough would it be for a full rigid (Troll) on the Secesh and Eagles Nest ST options? Two of us are running front suspension so presumably manageable even if not ideal, but one is full rigid.

    Our other option is to shift entirely to an Oregon tour.

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