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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Idaho camping and riding in the fall

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insp1505

Oregon

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Posted: 10/29/13 11:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Last weekend Karla and I decided to head out as the weather was suppose to be great for fall camping. Sunny with highs in the upper 50's and lows in the 20's for the mountains. Winter is coming fast so we have to seize every one of these opportunities when they present themselves. It was most likely our last opportunity to ride our motorcycles into the high country of the Idaho mountains as we ran into snow in several canyons and on tops of the mountain passes.

We camped along Sawmill creek on the west slopes of the Lemhi Mountain range.

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Our first journey on the bikes was to climb up Warm Creek canyon to get to the crest of the Lemhi Mountains and meet up with the trails that come up from the eastern slopes that I had been on last month.

About half way up the canyon we ran into snow left over from the storms we had earlier in the month. Fortunately enough ATV's had been over the trail during the recent elk hunting seasons that there was enough traction from the up-turned rocks for us to get through the sections of snow in the canyon.

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We made it to the divide to look over the east side but the snow prevented us from continuing any further as the road was filled with deep untracked snow at this point. We were at 9800' elevation when the snow stopped us. You can see the road switch-backing up the hill above the bikes in the next picture.

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This is the road we had intended to ride down on the east slope of the Lemhi's. It drops down into Spring Mountain Canyon above the Hahn townsite, an old mining community.

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Unfortunately there was more snow in the road than we were comfortable traversing on our dirt bikes going down hill. Riding a dirtbike in the snow is hard work and the risk of getting hurt from crashing that far up in the mountains wasn't worth pushing through it. We headed back down the way we came instead of being able to make the loop ride we had intended.




Later in the day we attempted another trail over the top going up Squaw Creek Canyon but we were once again stopped about a quarter mile short of the pass summit due to snow. There is an old dozer near the summit that has had many parts removed off the motor so it won't be going anywhere.

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We're looking northwest from the bulldozer in this next picture, Yellow Peak is on the right above the Big Timber Creek Valley where my dad and I were riding last month. These pictures don't do it justice for how huge this country is but when you get on top you can see how it all interconnects and there are trails that connect all of it. Hopefully I'll be able to ride them all before my riding days are done.

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Once again we were denied in our attempt to drop over to the east side of the mountain so back down the west side we headed. We tried a few more canyons to the north that evening but kept running into snow and ice. We did find some fun new trails to explore next year when the snow melts off sometime in late June or early July so it was a good trip.



The next day we headed across the large mountain valley between the Lemhi Mountains and the Lost River Range. We planned on riding into the upper Pahsimeroi River valley below Mt Borah, the highest peak in Idaho at 12,662', in the Lost River Range.

Crossing through the desert valley with the snowy high mountain peaks rising from both sides of the valley was beautiful.

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We tried to get to a camp spot along the river but the departure angle of the tow hitch extension prevented us from dropping down the last hill. We could have unloaded the bikes and trailer and removed the extension and made it down there by pushing the empty trailer down the hill but it wasn't all that important to us to be next to the river as we were there to ride, and not really to fish this time.

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We just decided to park out in the valley above the river canyon with great views of the mountains instead of being down in the river bottom with trees and canyons blocking our view. We chose to camp out in the lower desert country rather than driving up into the canyons so we could enjoy the vast mountain and desert scenery.

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From our base camp in the valley we rode our motorbikes up into the mountain canyons to the Merriam Lake trailhead and the east fork of the Pahsimeroi River Canyon. This was the same area I drove my Arctic Fox into last summer in this Merriam Lake trip report. Merriam trip report clicky

This was the same area that lifted my front truck tire off the ground and nearly tipped my truck and camper over in the ruts. It is so rough and rocky that it took several hours for me to drive into it last year. On the motorcycles it took about a half hour to make it the same distance to the Merriam Lake trail head and we even stopped several times to take pictures and look for elk.

I really love the motorcycles for getting back into the beautiful rough country which saves time because you can go so much faster and also saves much wear and tear on the truck and camper not having to beat them up on those rough roads.

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We had to get another picture of the sign where the road drops over the edge and gets bad. I did take my AF past this point last year but it was very rough!

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At the trail head to Merriam Lake several creeks flow together and they had some neat ice formations.

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The last day we tried to get to Carlson Lake. I had never been here before but once again the best we could do was get to the top of the ridge and look down into it. The trail dropped off the north side of the ridge and was too steep and snow filled to go down it. It would be a steep technical rocky descent on a good summer day with out the snow but this day all we could do was look at it from above.

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This is the view looking west from above Carlson Lake.

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We drove out over Doublesprings Pass and headed home down highway 93 through Mackay and Arco. This was the last shot of the weekend looking up the northwest side of Mt Borah. The night before we were camped in the valley on the back side of it.

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Although the snow stopped us from making our intended loop rides out of the awesome high mountain trials, we still had a blast. It's raining in town and snowing in the mountains today as I write this so I'm sure our mountain motorcycling days are done for this year. I guess snowmobiles are next on the list of toys so we can still play in the mountains in the winter. I know the camper is up for the task of getting us out there and keeping us warm at night.

Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli

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Posted: 10/29/13 11:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice. Looks cold but that's part of the adventure. Thanks for sharing.


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Scott16

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Posted: 10/29/13 11:51pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the great trip report. Nice pictures. I never get enough of seeing the out doors in all its, Beautiful splendors.
Scott


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colbert wa.

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Posted: 10/30/13 06:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Really great pictures. Thanks for the trip report.


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Rettrooper

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Posted: 10/30/13 07:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Inspiring! Great trip photos!


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billtex

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Posted: 10/30/13 08:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Epic...I am jealous.

Idaho is on my list...next trip out West.

Winter is coming on fast here in New England also...I am unloading tonight and will put the TC away until ski camping Feb/March.
Too cold in mid season (Jan/Feb).

Rock on, Bill


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DianneOK

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Posted: 10/30/13 08:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Eric points out, so eloquently, why I live in Idaho !!!!


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~DJ~

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Posted: 10/30/13 09:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Idaho + TC + dirt bikes = ultimate trip!!!

Idaho is over 83,000 square miles and 60% are Public Lands!!! [emoticon]

Thanks for taking us with you!!


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bka0721

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Posted: 10/30/13 09:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What a great report of such beautiful country.

Thanks for sharing so much of what many of us seek, the back roads. While many of us as unable to reach many locations, due to the style of Truck Camper we have, or unwillingness of literally scrambling eggs in our refrigerators, you remind us, wonderfully, that there are other ways to reach these remote areas. I will certainly reach out to you, the next time I am through Idaho and maybe pick your brain, or seek some guiding with my own Honda CRFX450 and maybe get DJ too. You learned something better than I did, and that is getting your kids out riding with you, as I see now I should have done that with my kids, before they grew up. I sit here now, still dealing with the injuries from my accident, from destroying my beloved BMW last month. The new replacement GSA is covered outside my Truck Camper, as I wait for probably another 4 weeks before I can seriously ride again. Your post is good timing to see why motorbiking is something I am looking forward too, soon.

Ride Safe and Smart.

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Butch50

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Posted: 10/30/13 01:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Man oh man I'm going to bring my ATV up and join you on a ride. Such great country. Great pictures!!!

I use to live in NW MT but moved out as I was just not into winter sports anymore. Use to ride snowmobiles but got tired of getting them stuck in 6 to 7' of snow and then trying to get it out. Also they have closed down so many of the trails and back country roads in MT because of grizzly and elk and whatever habitat. It got so you couldn't use the ATV anywhere just gates locked at the start of ever road. I was born and raised there and have never seen anything like it.

I have thought of coming up sometime for the Wallace Jamboree that they have.


Butch

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