Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Life Beyond the Ridge Road -> In search of the Gardena Bridge.

It was a goal to ride dirt from Boise to McCall in a day utilizing the many backcountry roads in order to avoid highway riding.
Stage 1; cross Highway 55: success, alternate route preferred…
Stage 2: McCall:  another day…
We started from near Highlands Elementary School at about 6:15am and started to climb Bogus Basin Road.  The start was spring chillingly refreshing, warming slowly as the sun rose over the ridge.  Traffic was light and the weather perfect.
We stopped at Simplot lodge to fill up on the day’s water needs (in total close to 30 water bottles between us).  Continuing beyond the Nordic lodge we climbed up and over our first ridge (the Nordic extension to you Nords out there).  We rolled along the ridge for an hour or so as Bogus loomed behind us.  Seemingly a short time later we crossed the first/only major road of the day: Harris Creek, leading directly down to Horseshoe Bend. 
Our goal was to continue on the ridge a bit further to find the path less traveled by, ultimately to drop down as close to Gardena as possible to catch the bridge across the Payette River.  Having not seen a road that fit our ideals, we rolled beyond Hawley Mountain Lookout enjoying the views and mashing our cross bikes up the steep sections of the ridge road.  We found a spring near the lookout which would have negated carrying all of our water from Bogus, but good thing to remember for a future trip.

In the end we dropped down a pretty worn road that battered us up pretty good on the CX bikes before we turned south and headed back to Gardena.  We knew we were a bit too far north for the preferred road we wanted, but not knowing if any road bailing off the ridge to the West would dead-end, we chose a better known exit that put us at 67miles by the time we made it to Gardena with an additional 8miles exploring the ridge and the various roads that may or may not be shorter routes to the Gardena Bridge.

We have a few roads to explore to ensure connectivity, but the possibilities for a shorter ‘day’ route to McCall is not off the table!
The Climb out of Gardena in the distance

Yesterday's Transportation
Gardena Ranch

Saturday’s 75miles of exploring the end of the Ridge Road was fantastic.  Next time we’ll be carrying less and on our Phat Knobbies with renewed focus of completing the first section and moving on past Smith’s Ferry!