Scouting For Spring – Part 2

May 2017 Feature

A few weeks back we told you about our effort to find spring—and open roads/trails—in the mountains of eastern Idaho. We were somewhat successful.

We headed out again a couple of days ago to see if our prospects have improved much to gain higher elevation, this time in the Big Hole Mountains of eastern Idaho. In short the answer is: kind of.

The goal for this ride—in our fancy Yamaha YXZ1000R demo unit—was to see if we could make it to Relay Ridge. Our starting elevation down in the valley was just shy of 5,000 feet. We meandered across the farmland, gaining a little elevation while passing remnants of snowdrifts still clinging on early in May. Eventually we headed north on Canyon Creek Road before heading up toward Relay Ridge on Forest Road 219. We made it about two and a half miles up before we got stopped by snowdrifts. We beat a couple of smaller drifts but these ones were too deep and long and really weren’t worth the battle of trying to bust through. This was at about 7,062 feet in elevation, so a bit more than 2,000 feet higher from our starting elevation.

This stretch of road/trail went back into the trees and so didn’t see much sun during the day, which is why the snow was still lingering. We even hiked up the road a ways to see if the snow continued or we just had to beat that one big patch of the white stuff. Yea, the road was covered for as far as we could see and with all the trees, it looks like it will be a couple of weeks or more before the road is passable.

So we turned the YXZ1000R around, headed down the mountain and picked up Forest Road 218, which we were going to take all the way to Kelly Canyon Ski Resort and then on to Heise for some pizza. We didn’t make it too far as snow again blocked the trail. So we retraced our tracks back around the lower reaches of the mountains and picked up Forest Road 218 again and finally made it past Kelly Canyon and to Heise. Had the road not been plowed just above Kelly Canyon, though, we would have once again had to turn back.

It was still a great ride. The sun was out and it was fairly warm so we’re not complaining. We dialed up about 102 miles for the day and look forward to heading out again.

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