Friday, September 30, 2016

Bernard Peak Ride Report

Rode Bernard Peak the other day.  Started up the "normal" way, by riding the road up to the Scout Trail.  Let me say that the road is in sweet shape.  I know, you never hear me talking about roads being sweet.  But this road has been in rough condition for awhile.  To jump out your rig and start up that road on a hot day is never fun, but now it is nicely graded and smooth.  The pain is somewhat eased.

Bernard Peak is a classic North Idaho mountain bike ride...whatever that means.  But I will say that is the first "big" mountain bike ride I ever went on back in the day.  It is probably my most ridden of the "big" rides in my rotation.  I try and hit it every year.  I always ride up the gated road and then ride as much trail up and back down as possible.  Everyone I ride with does the same.  However, I always hear from people that read such and such on the interweb that tells them to ride the "open" road up the backside of Bernard and then ride the trail down.  I sure feel sorry for those people.  The trail is a great ride up and down. so do it (yes it is hard).

Anyways, the Bernard Peak Trail is in amazing shape and riding great.  If you have not ridden this year, make a plan and do so before the snow.  You will be glad you did.

And back to the readings on the interweb.  I also hear of people reading that they should ride the Scout Trail when doing Bernard.  I try and ride Scout every few years, it seems to take a few years in between rides for my memory to fade on its suckiness.  I would never recommend going up the Scout Trail to get to the Bernard Trail.  If you really feel the need to work this trail in, I would say ride Bernard and then take Scout down the Farragut.  Momentum helps on the large rocky sections.  And even though I say you are going "down" Scout to Farragut, there is a nice steep climb in there.  After riding up Bernard that climb on Scout can feel like a wall.  Variety is good, so try Scout and formulate your own opinions.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Trail #120 Ride Report

The old interweb has been blowing up recently with talk of a new trail and ending for Trail #120 on the Clark Fork side.  This new reroute would bypass the private property that the previous trail ended on, making for a great shuttle/loop ride again.  The direction of the ride now would be to go up Strong Creek, head south from Round Top to Bee Top and then down the ridge and end on West Spring Creek Road.  I went to go ride and give you all some on the ground reporting.  Here are my findings...

Strong Creek sucks.  No seriously.  It is worse than I have seen before.  ATVs and other motos have nicely rototiller the road.  So, instead of it being just a long 7 mile steep grind with some loose sections, it is now a long steep climb with mostly loose tread and lots and lots of big rocks.  Practice mediation before hand and try to visit your happy place.  Personally, I still think this climb is worth the reward of riding Trail #120.

Trail #120 is in great shape out to the Bee Top Trail connector, which is about 6 miles from Round Top.  I think we climbed over 8-10 trees along the way, but nothing major.  Tread was good and the views were straight up amazing as usual.  Plan on taking lots of pics.  Of course there are still a dozen or so scree crossings, which I think get better and better every year as the path through them gets more worn.

So, in the above picture we have just passed the Bee Top Trail.  The trail goes out to the end of the ridge and then starts the long steep descent back to the valley.  The trail out to this point has always gotten a lot of use which keeps things clear and tread packed.  In the past most would turn around here because of the private property and the fact that the trail down was in terrible condition.  Years of minimal use and no maintenance left the trail very overgrown.  The trail wasn't built that great to begin with and water damage, horses and ORVs further made the tread worse.

Close to the first 2 miles after leaving the ridge will offer just what I have described.  Trail is still very overgrown, hard to see, narrow and slow going.  After that initial descent, you will start to see where brushing has been done and tread rework has begun.  The rest of the descent back to West Spring Road is a major improvement over the trail conditions of the past.  However, it still leaves much to be desired.  Hopefully, work will continue and the conditions will improve.  We ended our day with 21 miles from the Strong Creek Trailhead to West Spring Road.
one of the new bridges
One last word on West Spring Creek Road.  Some maps, and Google, will tell you that West Spring Creek Road runs from Sam Owen to East Spring Creek Road and eventually to Clark Fork.  This is NOT true.  West Spring Creek Road dead ends.  There is not much in the way of a parking lot, nor signage.  Just cross the creek at the dead end and there is the newly built trail.  Take a peak at this Google map and note beginning of West Spring Creek Road off of Denton Road.  Start there and take it to the end...try to ignore all the unfriendly neighborhood signs.

This is truly an epic ride.  It is a big day of riding...and pushing.  It is not for the faint, but if you do tackle it, take your sense of adventure and your camera.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Brush Lake Ride Report

Now Brush Lake is a nice ride.  However, it is the least "epic" of the rides surrounding Bonners Ferry.  So, normally I don't really feel the need to do a report every time I ride it.  However, this time around there was something amazing.  The road to the lake got a major face lift.  I mean major.  The road is now graded to perfection and freshly graveled and oiled.  It is a very nice drive up now.  You could even drive little Kia up there now with no worries.

The fresh new road meant there were lots of people at the lake.  I introduced someone new to the trail.  The ride was good as usual.
creek crossing was refreshing

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Mission/Harvey Mtn Ride Report

The other weekend I went and rode Mission/Harvey Mtn...or Harvey/Mission Mtn...or Arndt Tr.  Anyways, there were a few fresh down trees on the initial climb up to Mission, after that the trail down to Robinson Lake was all clear.  I know I have said it before, but this trail has some of my favorite sidehill riding in all of North Idaho.  The views don't hurt either.  The tread is actually in pretty good shape, a few rocks have been turned up by moto guys...but I have seen much worse.

Once last thing, brakes.  Yes, you will need them and want them for this big descent.  Check your pads and make sure your brakes are stopping, you will be glad you did.  Go enjoy.  BTW, this ride is featured in the ID Panhandle Mountain Bike Trail Guide pg 64...if you haven't gotten one of those yet.

the only crumby pic I took...riding was too good