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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Magruder Corridor - Elk City ID to Darby MT

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~DJ~

Boise, Idaho

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Posted: 08/05/08 06:05pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Whew!!! Made it!!!

I have wanted to do this trail for a number of years now. I've heard it to be a Jeep trail but heard of 4x4 pickups making it OK so why not try it with my TC.

Despite one good disappointment, some stupid assumptions and a little senile forgetfulness this has to be one of my most memorable camping trips.

I reluctantly left my 16' enclosed trailer with all the comforts of home including a soft riding quad behind. I thought if I am going to make it at all it won't be with the trailer. So my trailer was reduced to this for chainsaw, extra water, gas and beer.
[image]

I had originally planned to leave Monday morning but changed my mind and left Sunday noon. I don't know if I was too excited to wait around or if it was to wave vigorously at campers returning to Boise to start their work week. [emoticon]

I travelled north to Grangeville on US 95 where I topped off the diesel tank. I then headed out of Grangeville east on SH 13 until it connected to SH 14 which I followed nearly to Elk City. Just before Elk City I turned south onto road 222 and followed it to 468, the beginning of the Magruder Corridor.
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Darby MT, 113 miles, you are on your own!!!! I am really excited now.

I drove the first 18 miles to Granite Springs Campground. All of the campgrounds along this route are primitve USFS. A parking spot and fire ring. No $ [emoticon] The road in so far has been very good. But I had heard the first few miles were like a freeway.
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Monday morning I was hit with this. Can't possibly mean me, can it? [emoticon]
[image]

Continuing on, the road has deteriorated significantly. It is getting very rough. Rocks the size of bowling balls, crawling along in granny at 3 mph, 1 to 1 and 1/2 miles in between pullouts. Very narrow. Egad, I hope I don't meet someone. DIC reading 5 mpg. Oh goody, this is costing a dollar a mile!!! Wish I had brought extra diesel now.
[image]
[image]


Here I had to saw and drag a log out of the way. Sure glad I found room for the chainsaw!!
[image]

You're kidding, right?? [emoticon]
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I did find time to take a couple side trips.
Green Mountain Lookout and area.
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Burnt Knob Lookout and area.
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Monday night camped just below Sabe Saddle. The little white speck in the middle is my TC.
[image]

So far my wishes have been granted. I haven't met a soul. Settling in for the night my thoughts are starting to question my sanity. There are no other rigs with me. There isn't even another person with me. I drowned the "what ifs" with some Jack Daniels and all was well with the world. [emoticon]

Tuesday I reached the Point of No Return. I do NOT WANT to go back over that road. I hope my diesel will hold out. [emoticon]
[image]

Continuing on toward Darby this is the view from Dry Saddle.
[image]

As I pulled up to Observation Point I was met by a local critter.
[image]

The view from Observation Point was awesome. Even though a little smokey from a nearby fire that I later learned was being controled vs put out.
[image]

I have to tell you words nor pictures can do this country justice. You have to stand up there and see it yourself to realize the 100's and 100's of square miles of primitive country.

Getting close now to the Magruder Ranger Station and the Selway River. The road is getting better. How great it is to hit 2nd gear and 8 mph!!! [emoticon] I see a Chevy 4X4 parked in a pullout with a 6 horse gooseneck trailer. OK, I KNOW I'm gonna make it now. [emoticon]

I make it down to the Selway River without incident and find a very nice camp spot at Magruder Crossing Campground.
[image]

I lay around camp Wednesday and rested up. Also checked my rig out. Found a baseball size rock jammed in between the duals that I had to dig out with a tire iron. Glad I found it before I hit highway speed. [emoticon] The only visible damage I can see from the trip is more "custom pinstriping" on the truck and camper. Although at times I drug both front and rear carriers the only damage to the MC carrier was getting tweaked from my tow strap dragging one of the logs. My water heater tank has developed a small leak so I just leave the pump off unless I need water. My outfit really took a pounding on that trail. I learned I have one great camper and one darn tough truck. Even the stock Generals, which took the worst beating of all, came through with only some rock cuts on the treads.

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat but not with a 12' high, 12,000 lbs TC!!!!!! [emoticon] With a pop up on my same truck I would leave tomorrow. [emoticon]


OK, this is one of the main reasons I came on this trip. Although much easier to access from the Montana side.
[image]

I talked with a Fish and Game Officer doing research in the area. He told me that funding for maintaining this trail had been ceased many years ago and that the trail is probably overgrown. Thus my disappointment.

I'm going to try it anyway. Get hiking boots. Senior moment #1. Boots are on the floor of my bedroom closet. [emoticon]

I'm still going. I'll wear my old holey tennis shoes.

I set up the laptop and download the massacre site onto my GPS. I throw on my day pack and down the trail I go. Stupid assumption #1 thinking this is going to go all the way to the site. I didn't study the trail on the map when I downloaded the site. [emoticon]

OK, 5 1/2 miles, 2 hours tops, no problem. I hit the trail head at 10AM. It is agreat trail. Very little overgrowth and logs have been sawed out of the way. Stupid assumption #2. Thinkng someone lied to the F&G Officer.

I'm cruising down this beautiful trail looking at animal signs. Lots of deer and elk and what I think were gray wolf. No bear sign and I'm grateful for that.
[image]
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The trail has been winding around the mountains and I have been enjoying the trip. I looked at my watch and it is now noon. Hey, I should be there by now. Take GPS out of pack, SHOULD have been in my hand!! Senior moment #2!! I started out 3.7 miles south of the site and now 2 hours later I have hiked 6 miles and am 4.5 miles west of the site. [emoticon]

OK, all is not lost. It was a great hike and I simply missed a connecting trail. I turned around and will search for the other trail. I go about a mile and oh-oh. I'm feeling that old familiar burn on my right heel. No problem. Grab some mole skin out of the pack. You guessed it. Someone [emoticon] forgot to put any in. Good Grief!!

By the time I got back to the trailhead I had huge blisters on both feet. I did look for an adjoining trail on the way back but to no avail. All I could do when I got back to camp is stand in the icey cold river and drink painkiller. [emoticon]

I AM going back and I WILL be prepared for a cross country trip with no trail following my GPS, IN MY HAND!!! Don't ask my why I need to go there. I just do. [emoticon]

* This post was last edited 11/24/08 03:09pm by ~DJ~ *   View edit history


'17 Class C 22' Conquest on Ford E 450 with V 10. 4000 Onan, Quad 6 volt AGMs, 515 watts solar.
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northern, ca.

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Posted: 08/05/08 06:38pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DJ, Great trip report. I probably would of chickened-out at the primitive road sign, as there was likely no place to turn around...eeeeks! Glad you didn't cause the pictures are awesome. Looks like agreat place to get off the grid. Glad to see that you are enjoing retirement.


2007 Dodge 3500 DRW,4x4,L/bed,Q/cab,6.7 diesel w/exhst brake,6 spd. auto,4:10,Timbrens, 2005 Citation 9-6 T/C, 1 keeper wife,1 son, 1 yellow lab, 2 quad polaris atv's & trailer,extreme lust for freedom & self accountibility, neither low output or income.

DonCurley

La Sal, Utah

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Posted: 08/05/08 06:40pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hey ~DJ~ ... really great write-up and pics! And it's a good thing you had a Dodge! And I love signs like that. The road has already degraded and gotten more narrow and yet more signs come up telling you how the road is going to degrade and get narrower still. Great!

But I always like off-road trips that leave you wondering as you proceed if you are going to make it through to the end. That always seems to add that extra spice that keeps you on your toes and all the more tuned into the experience of the moment.


-'07 Dodge 3500/QC/SB/SRW/4x4/6.7L CTD/6-spd auto/35" Toyo MT's/Ride-Rite air bags/RS9000XL shocks
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luv2skyski

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Posted: 08/05/08 07:07pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

WOW! What a trip. Thanks for the great-humorous post. Dave.


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Nemo667

Louisiana

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Posted: 08/05/08 07:36pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank goodness someone posted a offroad trip report cuz I sure needed a fix. Thanks DJ...great pics and write-up. I'll have to disagree with Don though; the trip would have been much more enjoyable and the ride definately better over the rough stuff, in a Ford.

Proceed at your own risk...gotta love it. [emoticon]


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54suds

adk mts.

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Posted: 08/05/08 07:48pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

wow ! that's a dream trip, thanks for the report! ...you've shown the real reason to have a truck camper,rather than a mobile home on wheels !

* This post was edited 08/05/08 08:00pm by 54suds *


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DonCurley

La Sal, Utah

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Posted: 08/05/08 08:20pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nemo667 wrote:

Thank goodness someone posted a offroad trip report cuz I sure needed a fix. Thanks DJ...great pics and write-up. I'll have to disagree with Don though; the trip would have been much more enjoyable and the ride definately better over the rough stuff, in a Ford.

Proceed at your own risk...gotta love it. [emoticon]
Sadly, DJ would have likely become a unfortunate statistic had he been unlucky enough to be in a Ford. [emoticon]

BTW Ben, if you need another off-road trip report fix, Janet and I are going to be doing Ophir Pass (11789 ft) and the Alpine Loop (Engineer Pass at 12800 ft and Cinnamon Pass at 12640 ft) in the San Juan Mountains starting on Saturday or Sunday. I don't know if anyone has done these high-altitude 4x4 routes and passes with a camper on board before, but we're really looking forward to the trip. Stay tuned.

Don

Camp, Forrest, Camp!

Boise, ID

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Posted: 08/05/08 08:30pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I am THRILLED to see this report! I have been wanting to drive that road ever since I saw the Idaho Backroads special on Idaho Public Television. Now that I know my camper can make the trip, I am totally going to do it now.

Thanks for the report!


-2000 Chevy K3500 CC DRW 7.4L, Auto; 2000 Arctic Fox 1150 WB; 1999 Bayliner Capri 1800LS Outboard
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Matho

New Mexico Texas

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Posted: 08/05/08 08:53pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great report DJ! That was a good call on taking the chainsaw. I carry mine. Would not want to back up miles at 1/2 MPH to get out!

DJ, the Idaho Mountain Man. Thanks


2015 Chevy 3500 SRW 4X4 6.0 CC SB Big Wig 2016 Northstar Laredo SC Off Road

Nemo667

Louisiana

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Posted: 08/05/08 09:47pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DonCurley wrote:

Nemo667 wrote:

Thank goodness someone posted a offroad trip report cuz I sure needed a fix. Thanks DJ...great pics and write-up. I'll have to disagree with Don though; the trip would have been much more enjoyable and the ride definately better over the rough stuff, in a Ford.

Proceed at your own risk...gotta love it. [emoticon]
Sadly, DJ would have likely become a unfortunate statistic had he been unlucky enough to be in a Ford. [emoticon]

BTW Ben, if you need another off-road trip report fix, Janet and I are going to be doing Ophir Pass (11789 ft) and the Alpine Loop (Engineer Pass at 12800 ft and Cinnamon Pass at 12640 ft) in the San Juan Mountains starting on Saturday or Sunday. I don't know if anyone has done these high-altitude 4x4 routes and passes with a camper on board before, but we're really looking forward to the trip. Stay tuned.

Don
Sounds like a good time to me Don. Hope you and Janet have a great trip.

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