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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    san diego
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    1,967

    TR - Sun Valley for 4th of July 2020

    Another long weekend, time to escape the craziness again and get out of town. It's been a few years since my last trip to Stanley and I've been wanting to get back up to Idaho. Securing a couple extra days off work and recent pics of abundant wildflowers helped steer me that way for 4th of July.

    In the past I've gone up I-15 through SLC never bothering to check google maps for optimal routing. I checked just to see the estimated drive time - 14 hrs, which is about my limit for a 5 day trip. Incidentally, maps showed it was an hour faster going up Nevada 93 from Vegas through Ely NV. Hmm.... I've heard there are some good trails there, and the temps didn't look terrible.

    So I hit up MTBR's KRob who lives in the area and made a plan to meet up at 6am for a pre-work ride. I didn't relish the early start time since I'd be getting in very late, but that would leave lots of time to check out other rides or get up to Ketchum in time to ride.


    Day 1

    Ride 1

    Leaving already? Not quite.... I was leaving my random campsite though




    The Legend, KRob.

    I had to ask the correct pronunciation of Ely as I don't think I've ever heard anyone speak the name. Is it Elly or E-Lie? Turns out it is E-Lee. You learn something every day!




    He had a couple hours to ride before he had to be at work, so we met at Ward Mtn and wasted no time. First climb was mellow.




    This was the top of the first lap on the G Loop. Not a huge climb or descent but pretty fun.




    Climbed back up a sage filled back canyon to the Old Connector. Great views from up top.




    Then we dropped into Powderberry Divide, a fun descent that took us all the way down to the highway closer to town. KRob had a big hand in building it so it was great to check it out in person. Nice work, super fun trail!




    Picked up a nail about 1/2 mile from the highway after the trail dropped onto a fire road. The home brew sealant works and it didn't go flat. This is what I found back at the truck. A bacon strip later it was all good. Glad for that, it was a brand new tire.




    Thanks for the tour KRob! He was awesome enough to park at the end of the ride and pedal the highway to meet me to avoid a shuttle.

    12.5mi +1800/-2400



    Ride 2

    Rather than check out other trails at Ward Mtn I opted to check out another trail system nearby at Cave Lake State Park. It was only 9am but starting to warm up a bit.




    After a couple miles traversing along a creek I got to Cave Lake. I paid the $2 entrance fee and the climbing started right away.




    It was all rideable but the steep grade had me stopping often to catch my breath.




    Almost at the top




    I followed a Trailforks route called High Roller which was basically an outer loop that covered most of the system. Here it crossed onto the backside of the mountain and got quite rocky.




    Cool rock outcrop and a nice view of the mountains west of Ely. The descent was a bit pedally but pretty fun. 10 mi and +/- 1,800ft




    I decided to bail on a third ride, Whorehouse DH, and skipped out of town after a swim and some food. 6 hours driving to Ketchum.




    Ride 3

    Got to Hailey just before 8pm which left about 90min til sunset. I'd heard the Croy Creek trails are fun and an easy pedal so I headed there rather than something further away in Ketchum.


    The sun about to leave me in the shadows as I started the ride




    Came across this on the trail a couple miles up. WTH? It looked like a 20" earthworm or a rubber toy. Turns out it's a northern rubber boa, and apparently quite rare. It was either extremely docile (barely moved even when picked up) or injured. Was hoping it hadn't been run over, so I moved it off the trail.




    Some great views up high in the back 40. The climbs were very mellow. This would be a perfect network for a singlespeed.




    Around the corner, looking north. Last alpenglow fading on the mountains behind Sun Valley




    Using that seems to be asking a lot these days, generally speaking




    Finished just at dusk and didn't need my light. Definitely a fun little trail system. Part is open to motos and the parts I rode would make for a great beginner moto ride. I was half hoping I'd have time to come back as I am usually too chicken to take my dual sport on singletrack in case I lay it down below the trail. These trails seemed like they'd be fun, and safe for a noob.

    9.5mi +/- 1,350


    The combo of riding til dark, late sunset and restaurant Covid schedules has been a pain for months and Idaho was no exception. Fortunately I had half a breakfast burrito left which was more than enough, and I set off in the dark to find a spot to camp.


    Showing up mid week proved to be a good move as a lot of dispersed sites near town were still open. Some spots had a camping limit of 3 days which was perfect for me. I nice got a site 1/4 mile off the main road. Perfect...


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    san diego
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    1,967
    Day 2 - Pioneer - Johnstone - Bear - Parker loop

    A ride I've wanted to do forever in Sun Valley is the classic Pioneer Cabin loop. I decided to hit it first thing and get it out of the way as it's a pretty big day.

    Slept in a bit later than I should have and it was noon by the time I got riding.


    Being its a summer MTB destination shouldn't there be a biker statue along side?




    Is it still trespassing if the sign is deliberately hidden? So many questions as I started the ride




    Bike path out of town and then Corral trail. Such a nice pedal. Then once I hit the Pioneer Cabin Trail things got steeeeep. Tons of hikers coming down as I was climbing. I got lots of "you're crazy".




    It was all rideable until the top of the switchbacks, then it got even steeper with loose shale on top. Time to hike... Above the main tree line views opened up




    Snow capped peaks in the Sawtooths. Sun Valley is out of sight down the valley and around the corner




    First view of the cabin. With the peaks in behind it's a spectacular sight




    A viewpoint off to the right




    A benefit of heading up late is all the hikers were on their way down as I was climbing. Just two groups remained. One left just before me, the other was camping in the cabin overnight. There are bunks and a stove inside. It's pretty clean.




    Buttons to embed media seem to have disappeared for me so here's a link to the vid of the descent from the cabin down to Johnstone Creek trail

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=li7fNd52SEo



    Johnstone Creek trail starts with a traverse. Much more raw than the other trails.




    The views continue. Fun descent. Only saw one hiker with his four labs




    Climbing up Bear Gulch. The start is nice and mellow. But with 2000ft gain in 3 miles its going to be a grunt.




    I'll be climbing up to that distant saddle. The steep climbing has just begun.




    Almost there. Great view to the south from the ridgeline




    The top... Parker Gulch trail has similar stats but the opposite trajectory. Time to let it rip. Such a fast, fun trail.




    There was a few miles of bike path back to town which was good to loosen the legs. Finished right at sunset. Great day on the bike with two tough climbs and two fun descents

    34mi +/- 6,000ft.


    Not much open in town for food so I ended up at Lefty's. I was in need of a soak so I checked out a hot spring north of town. No one there which was nice, but it wasn't much more than lukewarm. Better than the cold river though!

    Last edited by evdog; 07-26-2020 at 07:37 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Where bankers' bankers breed
    Posts
    2,457
    FML
    All the years combine
    they melt into a dream

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Magically whisked away to...Delaware
    Posts
    2,644
    That is one RAD trip. Thanks!
    It makes perfect sense...until you think about it.

    I suspect there's logic behind the madness, but I'm too dumb to see it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    208 State
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    2,160
    Nice. Yeah, hikers seem to have no idea that the glitter gulch area has a lot to offer for in shape riders, not just Adams Gulch. Kind of like b/c skiing over there. Not a lot of folks get after it much, but those that do are few and far between.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    slc
    Posts
    12,172
    You mean I typed out all that beta for nothing? What a dick!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    On a genuine ol' fashioned authentic steam powered aereoplane
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    12,951
    Another high quality evdog TR.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    san diego
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    1,967
    Quote Originally Posted by Dantheman View Post
    You mean I typed out all that beta for nothing? What a dick!
    LOL

    Not to worry, I was definitely taking notes! Was a bit concerned if I got into the goods in your area I wouldn't make it up to ID. TR ain't over though, so stay tuned.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    san diego
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    Day 3 - Osberg Ridge


    Another lazy morning.

    There was an enticing fishing hole right near camp that I couldn't get past without throwing a line out. I'd had some luck the previous day and this morning hooked into a chunky rainbow. As it turned against the current my ultralight rod snapped and the only thing I could do was just back up and pull the fish up onto the bank. The nail in my tire from the first day turned out to be a clutch find, making a perfect dowel to put the rod back together with some duct tape. Back in business!




    I stopped at a couple other promising spots with mixed results on the way up the valley to drop my bike off for today's point to point ride. Then headed back to town to drop off the truck and ride the moto back to start the ride. First order of business to start the ride was a wet crossing, followed by a second crossing.




    Since I was camped off Warm Springs Rd I decided to climb Castle Creek trail rather than do a much longer drive to the other side of the ridge.




    Seemed like that was a good move. Castle proved to be a pretty nice climb, mostly following close along the creek




    A few motos had finished their descent just as I was starting but I saw no one on the climb.




    Nice view of adjacent peaks as I got higher up




    The higher I got the tougher the climbing became. Some hike a bike ensued under darkening skies




    Riding through an old burn area with storms visible in the distance




    Looking really ominous now. A storm was approaching from the rear as well and I took shelter under some trees for 20min while the storm passed.




    I ran into one couple right at the turnoff onto Osberg and another pair of riders just above that who commented on Osberg being a full day ride implying I shouldn't attempt it at this point? Dunno, I hadn't started til 230pm and it was now 5:30 with over 20 miles to go. What could go wrong???




    6 miles of traversing and 1,000ft of climbing remained to get to the high point




    The higher I got, the better the views




    Interesting burnt forest below the high point




    Looking north toward Galena




    The top at 9,600ft, ready to descend.




    Curious what happened to the bark on all these trees, the fire must have been long ago for there to be no burn marks




    Flowers on the descent




    Not much stopping for pics as I was trying to make it back to the truck before dark. Rest stop as I turned onto a climb at the start of Oregon Gulch




    Made it back to the truck just before dark. Stop in town for a burger at Leftys again. Tried a couple other spots but both were not open or kitchen closed at 10pm. Had a fire back at camp. It's rare we can have a campfire in Socal so this was a treat




    30.5mi, +3,850/-4,560ft

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Vacationland
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    3,408
    Nice, did Osberg => Alden Gulch last fall.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    san diego
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    1,967
    Yeah I've heard Alden Gulch is a fun ride. Next time!

  12. #12
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    May 2012
    Location
    san diego
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    Some footage, now that I've re-figured out how to embed:

    Pioneer Cabin descent





    Johnstone Creek Tr




    Parker Gulch




    Osberg Ridge




    Upper and Lower Oregon Gulch




  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    san diego
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    Day 4


    A couple big days in a row and my legs were complaining. It didn't help that my sleeping pad suddenly wasn't holding air and had to be reinflated multiple times in the night.

    I figured I'd go retrieve the moto which was still at the bottom of Castle Creek, hit up a hot spring, and then see how I felt.



    Ended up hitting the hot spring on the way out. 9am and already multiple groups selfie-obsessed groups there. Figured it best not to wait til later. I headed for the one upstream a bit and on the far side of the creek.




    No selfie here. You'll have to settle for a shot of my feet




    Got the moto and did a little fishing on the way back. A few decent rainbows in the 10-14" range plus a few smaller ones.




    It was getting on toward noon so I hit up the Sawtooth Brewery for lunch.




    I had a bunch of rides in mind but had to be done at a decent hour. Rather than two big rides I went back to do a short one on Corral Trail, which I climbed on my way to the Pioneer Cabin. It is 3 miles of super sweet flowing singletrack through the trees with the most awesome smell of pine and damp dirt.


    The start, climbing up to tree line




    3 miles out and 3 miles back. Perfect.




    I had time for one more moderate loop and opted for Greenhorn-Imperial south of town rather than any of the stuff right by Ketchum. It was getting on towards 3pm by the time I got there so there were not many people around. Bonus.




    Mostly the climbing was mellow. Good thing, as it was hot out.




    Lots of flowers trail side




    First trail intersection after half mile of steep climbing. A couple burned out chairs to sit down on, if you dare...




    Almost at the top, the views really opened up on the ridge here




    Great place for a snack break




    One more saddle




    Into the trees. Shade break




    Fun descent with just a short climb near the end




    And...done. I liked this loop. Had a bit of everything. I was tempted to turn off and head north/west rather than right onto Imperial Gulch. Looks like there are infinite ways to put together loops in this area. I'll be back for sure.

    10.5mi +/- 1,700ft


    Onwards! Being 4th of July I was treated to a full on fire works show all around me driving through rural Idaho. Guess they don't have much to burn down in the flat lands.


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Sun Valley, ID
    Posts
    1,845
    Hey man. Glad you enjoyed our hood so much.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    san diego
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    Day 5

    SLC area


    The drive down through NV would have saved an hour or more, but temps that way were not looking favorable. High 90s for a high in Caliente. So I opted to head down through SLC and get in a high elevation ride, and hopefully not get home too late.

    Prior TRs I've seen did not name the location so I'll follow suit here. If you know, you know I guess....



    Started near camp with a bit of extra credit




    Some flowers to spice up the views




    Nearing the top of a long, shitty hike a bike section




    More, less shitty hike a bike




    Looking across, lots of trail opportunity over there?




    Probably not as primo as this ridge, though




    The goal now in sight. I'd spotted some hikers on the peak but hadn't met them yet




    View to the NE from a saddle




    Climbing out of a gully




    Met the 3 hikers here. Final stretch! This is going to be some sketchy shit coming back down




    Summit view




    Looking back down at the climb




    Someone mentioned I shouldn't see any hikers up here. Well these are either all covid hikers or the secret is out, but there were a full 3-4 pages of check-ins dated July 3 in the summit register, including this lucky guy. I ran into 5 groups on the descent, other than the group I'd already passed. Plus a solo dog near the bottom on my climb up. That one's a mystery.




    Fun descent!






    16.5mi, +3,525/-5,625


    Fun, except for the shitty HAB section in the middle. That sucked almost as much going down as it did going up. I finished at the grotto but there were 50,000 hikers there so I cooled off in the stream next to the truck rather than head up there. Ride took longer than hoped so I was running a little behind schedule. 3pm with a 12 hr drive home? No problem....


    You can do 85-90 on Utah freeways right? Well with the right strategy, you can. I'd fall in behind someone going that pace, and then back off 1/2 to 3/4 mile but keeping them in view. That way any highway patrol would ping them and I'd have plenty of warning. Worked great on the drive from Ely to Twin Falls, and even better on the drive south of SLC. A few who took one for the team:






    This one made me sweat a little as the officer was on the median and couldn't pull out right away, he was almost turning into me as he got on the freeway. But went for the car ahead of the RV.




    Great trip! Got home a lot later than hoped with some BS traffic around Baker CA. But recovering is what Mondays are for, right?
    Last edited by evdog; 07-27-2020 at 12:01 AM.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    san diego
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaliBrit View Post
    Hey man. Glad you enjoyed our hood so much.
    Thanks! You guys have some pretty rad trails. Wish I could spend a couple weeks or more up there!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Ogden
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    6,113
    Nice trip report, thanks!

  18. #18
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    Jan 2008
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    Paper St. Soap Co.
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    2,527
    Nice, looks like a good trip.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    SLC
    Posts
    1,874
    Sick TR!
    That undisclosed UT peak has a similarly high price of admission in the winter but you can't beat those summit views... And the ridge looks absolutely glorious!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    slc
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    12,172
    Great stuff and nice work on Santaquin. Crazy that it's become that popular. I did it five years ago on a Saturday morning and I'm pretty sure I didn't see a single person.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    san diego
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    Thanks!

    Hopefully they are just Covid hikers and will go back to gyms and shopping malls once things calm down. I was glad I was there on Sunday with 10-12 ppl and not on Saturday. Guess most people go to church Sundays?

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