Trinity Ridge Fire Tour

menu
October 30, 2012

A long loop with unknown impediments requires an early departure. Snow and fire kept us out of the Trinity Recreation area this year. I’m curious to see what remains. Some effort is required to push the GS uphill through snowdrifts.

Early on the Oregon Trail
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Early on the Oregon Trail
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154693087

The Trinity Ridge Fire began August 3rd when a UTV somehow caught fire aside a forest road.¹ It was snow, however, that kept us from reaching the Trinity Recreation Area in the Jeep the following weekend.² The fire wasn’t large yet. By the time we could spare another weekend, in September, the much enlarged fire kept us away and almost kept us from getting anywhere.³

Including other attempts cancelled before launch, this would be about my fifth 2012 effort to reach Trinity Mountain. I was kind of determined.

  1. InciWeb, “Trinity Ridge Fire Update” (August 7, 2012): inciweb.nwcg.gov/…/15513
  2. Trail Image, “Camping Below Trinity”: trailimage.com/camping-below-trinity
  3. Trail Image, “Hard Road to Boulder Basin”: trailimage.com/hard-road-to-boulder-basin
Boise from the Oregon Trail
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Boise from the Oregon Trail
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154725598

I took the day off work and left as early as I could after getting the kids ready for school. I planned a big loop up through the Trinities to near Atlanta and back which would require much of the available daylight.

It was still chilly, about 40°F, but three layers and heated grips kept me cozy as I cut across the open land behind Micron along the old Oregon Trail.

Littering immigrants
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Littering immigrants
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154730256

The Oregon Trail is one of our few National Historic Trails.¹ It’s a little known fact that the immigrants’ hubcaps, energy drink bottles and worn shoes still litter the path. This stretch between Technology Way and Bonneville Point usually has a few trash dumps (I also passed a shot-up TV and roll of carpet).

  1. National Park Service, “National Trails Map”: nps.gov/…/National Trails map
Parked at Bonneville Point
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Parked at Bonneville Point
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154734438

I couldn’t pass by the historic origin¹ of “Boise” without a quick stop to admire the locust tree thorns and look back across the valley.

  1. Bureau of Land Management, “Boneville Point”: blm.gov/…/bonneville_point
Easy living along Blacks Creek
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Easy living along Blacks Creek
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154710111
East on Blacks Creek Road
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
East on Blacks Creek Road
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154714075
Pointed at the mountains
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Pointed at the mountains
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154718919

Weekend rain made the dirt and gravel roads more enjoyable than usual — good traction, not dusty. There were, however, hoards of hunters seeking to dismember the living and eat their flesh. You have to take the good with the bad.

Middle Fork overlook
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Middle Fork overlook
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154724365
One lane bridge
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
One lane bridge
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154729535

It was crowded, hot and dusty when last we stopped here. Now, the opposite.

Our spring campsite
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Our spring campsite
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154735653

When snow kept us from Trinity Lakes, we retreated to camp here along Fall Creek.¹ It was fun to see our spot at the opposite end of the year.

I was warned of snow in the mountains but was still determined to go. So far the only difficult area was the eastern side of House Mountain where the road was snow-packed in places. I didn’t stop for pictures since I was preoccupied with anxiety.

  1. Trail Image, “Camping Below Trinity”: trailimage.com/camping-below-trinity
Old bathtub
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Old bathtub
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154740899

This was dug out for Brenna when we camped here. It was mostly under water then so I didn’t fully appreciate the work that was done.

Looks promising
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Looks promising
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154746569
Overheating
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Overheating
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154750865

A good knobby may have provided reasonable propulsion but the end-of-season TKC could only push the pig uphill at about 1 MPH (I saw a high of 1.1 on the GPS). I was still determined to get over the mountain. We just needed several breaks, the two of us, to cool down along the way.

Snow on the road to Trinity Lookout
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Snow on the road to Trinity Lookout
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154755681
Too close to stop now
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Too close to stop now
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154789976
Road slalom
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Road slalom
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154795262

Beautiful and a bit depressing at the same time.

Trinity Saddle
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Trinity Saddle
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154800026

As I’d been doing for some time now, I walked ahead to scout and make tracks along the best route while the motorcycle cooled. I didn’t think slipping off the road would be fun but was too committed to quit.

High enough
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
High enough
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154774999

I thought I would setup the tripod for a triumphant picture of us, the motorcycle and I, at the saddle summit but I just wanted to puke at this point (old age plus exertion) so instead slumped on the seat for a minute.

Black trees in the Trinity Recreation Area
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Black trees in the Trinity Recreation Area
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154808436

Although I’ve seen plenty of wildfire aftermath in years of Idaho riding, somehow the summer of dire news left me with an image of a bare and blackened landscape.¹ The burn area began right at the ridge and I was almost surprised to see green trees remaining.

  1. Over 1,000 Forest Service photos of the fire:
  2. flickr.com/…/72157631137223234
Breaking trail
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Breaking trail
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154784477
White road, black trees
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
White road, black trees
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154791217

… riding on the edge of juxtaposition.

Edge of the burn area
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Edge of the burn area
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154826626
Winding north on Trinity Ridge
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Winding north on Trinity Ridge
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154832990

It was a glorious day to be up here.

Protected hill
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Protected hill
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154839238
Burn around Little Trinity Lake
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Burn around Little Trinity Lake
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154846602

I didn’t feel up to the additional exertion of even the short access roads to Big Roaring River, Little Roaring River or Big Trinity Lake. My legs were starting to cramp from the constant toe dabs needed to keep the GS up so I was glad to stop for a short break and my PBJ at the edge of Little Trinity Lake alongside the road.

Behind the scenes
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Behind the scenes
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154851392
Ten second timer
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Ten second timer
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154855866
Hazard tree
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Hazard tree
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154833629

I walked a short distance around the edge of the lake while eating my sandwich. The danger of falling trees was evident with many already on the ground like this. It’s understandable that land managers wouldn’t want campers up here for a while.

Shadows of themselves
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Shadows of themselves
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154871684
Some escaped the fire
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Some escaped the fire
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154857055
The bigger they are
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
The bigger they are
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154901522

I should have included something for perspective. The tall, thin trees here were the regular size trees everywhere else. I saw a couple of these monsters burned and broken.

Clean slate
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Clean slate
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154883217

fresh snow cannot hide
the acrid smell
of black earth and barkspa

Final moments
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Final moments
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154891211
Late autumn ridge road
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Late autumn ridge road
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154903509

Under 7,500 feet the roads were about perfect.

Horseshoe bend
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Horseshoe bend
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154941366
Looking back to the Trinity Recreation Area
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Looking back to the Trinity Recreation Area
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154926031
Zorro on the job
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Zorro on the job
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154934467
Charred wood
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Charred wood
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154942021
Not the first time it has burned
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Not the first time it has burned
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154947469
Do not adjust your set
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Do not adjust your set
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154955809

I had to see it a couple times before I realized all the red must be fire retardant.

Phifer Creek Road
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Phifer Creek Road
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154991240
Middle Fork campground
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Middle Fork campground
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8154996628
Middle Fork Road
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Middle Fork Road
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8155001408

I had never been up the Middle Fork this far. I really liked the ruggedness.

Northwestern fire boundary
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Northwestern fire boundary
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8155009120

There were a few small spots where fire jumped the river but it looked like crews had been able to hold it here.

Cliffs along the Middle Fork
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Cliffs along the Middle Fork
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8155016494
Orthogonal hues
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Orthogonal hues
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8155023308

sunlit reflections
in midnight ripples —
this election season

Yellow rocks and shrubs
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Yellow rocks and shrubs
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8155002695
Green reclamation
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Green reclamation
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8155010975
Autumn draw
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Autumn draw
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8155018411

It is hunting season. Most every draw, big and small, and a few inexplicable locations, were pickup truck parking lots. If car thiefs want to score they should really consider visiting Idaho in October and November.

Striations
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Striations
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8155053956

Dusty and gravelly, stuck behind cars, I didn’t think riding around Arrowrock Reservoir was so pleasant in the summer. On this autumn evening, however, it was a real joy.

Two if by night
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Two if by night
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8155060418
Fading light above Arrowrock Reservoir
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Fading light above Arrowrock Reservoir
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8155037753
Exposed shore
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Exposed shore
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8155072012
Arrowrock Dam at dusk
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Arrowrock Dam at dusk
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8155077682

When planning began in 1910, Arrowrock Dam would be the largest of its type in the world.¹ During construction, the site was home to 1,400 workers. As I rode by, however, I could have been the only person in the world.

  1. Wikipedia, “Arrowrock Dam”: en.wikipedia.org/…/Arrowrock_Dam
Drained for the summer
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Drained for the summer
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8155055133
Sunset over Lucky Peak
photo_camera

Camera Settings

mapmap
Sunset over Lucky Peak
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8155060709

Wrestling through the snow made me a couple hours later than planned but it was a beautiful ride with no tips or tumbles. I saw the last of the sunrise as I departed and rode the winding highway into the sunset on my way home.