Overland and interstate travel is awesome right? Well... not always. Over the course of our adventure, travel's served a purpose of connecting ride-destinations. We set a goal of riding daily in a unique location to break up our passage between the Roaring Fork valley and Port Angeles, WA. On our leg-out, we'd managed to string a few destinations together that made good highway-sense in that we could link reasonable driving stints with ride-locations to document along the way. The journey home provided a bit of a challenge as the seasons weren't quite lining up weather-wise for us to stay north to access some of the higher-elevation trails.
Our desire was to include a route a bit to the north if at all possible, including riding in either Montana or Idaho en-route back to Grand Junction for the RanchStyle event. What we hadn't counted on was a cold front accompanied by moisture coming out of the PNW, that was delivering rain and snow to latitudes north of Utah, and temperatures lower than we'd see in WA, which hovered around 50* for a high. NOT encouraging.
A decision was made to skip the proposed overlap with a return through Vernal, and we opted into I-84 through Boise ID to break up the drive, and set our course for a general approach vector the following day to possibly include someplace on the Wasatch 'front-range'. A night stopover in Boise would give us opportunity to chart progress and for the group to select a destination for the following day.
Yet another late pull-in and a miscalculation on my part; attempting to recollect a campsite in a State Park that I’d passed years ago that it turned out was along a different route, saw us pulling into Boise fairly late...before midnight, but not by much. Our camping options being somewhat limited, the old stand-by is to head straight for a ski-area as the season's now over, and to slumber in the vacant parking area. We knew Bogus Basin was in the immediate vicinity, so we added the destination to our GPS and began the climb up and out of Boise and towards the ski area.
16miles later and mile upon mile of switchbacks, we finally were pulling into the area. I was eying the drop in temperature as we climbed, certainly not eager to gain elevation and to subsequently lose temperature that we'd sorely missed over the last week or so. The rear of the parking area was out of the way of any immediate traffic, being a dead-end of sorts, so we made that our home for the evening. Just as tents were being deployed and the evening bustle had begun, snow began to fly. Initially nothing alarming, but after about 5min, we had a legitimate dump on our hands. Flys went on the tents, everyone silently went about their business, and pleasantries were jettisoned as we climbed into our cocoons and called it a night with nary a 'goodnight' between the group.
The morning was welcomed with soft light and calm. We'd heard a front-loader pass us at around 0700 or so, and thinking that he may need access to the mound of dirt immediately behind where our encampment lay, we hastily packed-up and made our way down towards town in search of breakfast and fuel. Food which ultimately never ended up on our plates. We pressed-on fueled by energy bars and sipping water, determined to arrive in Utah in time for some evening photo-work and to arrive into a camping location with some natural light for once.
The miles ticked by on the odometer as satellite-stations were combed-through on the radio to pass the time. Mile after empty mile, dotted by ranches and feed-lots on occasion served to mark our passage through Idaho as geographic landmarks were few. The temperature climbed a bit, but never really much until we seemingly descended into Utah. Landscape morphed from moderately hilly countryside to take on a more rugged spring-like character of green mountains littered with rocky and occasionally snow-covered summits. As we approached the Wasatch from the north we enjoyed scenery that resembled home a bit more, along with a bump in ambient temperature from the 50's we'd had for the last week or so, back up into the 70's, with a corresponding drop in humidity. GREAT news for my bedding in the tent on my roof, that'd been holding humidity and wasn't ever fully-drying as it was folded up daily while we were in Washington.
Ogden was our first stop in UT, with a late-lunch needed as well as some gas and water (and more food for fridges/coolers). We gassed and ate and then decided upon making our evening destination an area just outside Spanish Fork. We cruised through SLC just as rush hour traffic seemed to be reaching fever pitch, delaying us somewhat, but not enough that we thought we'd miss shooting in some pristine Utah evening light. The cruise south to Provo and the subsequent exit onto 6/50 was already feeling more like home. Often I’ve driven this route at the end of an epic adventure, and the climb back up into the mountains has that gateway-feeling that you get when you're on the home-stretch after a long journey for some reason. We passed the new wind farm at the bottom of the canyon, and the temps began cooling as we climbed away from the congestion of Provo/SLC.
Another quick climb up into a forest-service area just a few miles up hwy 50, and a left-turn at the first gas-station on Rays Valley Road,had us away from humans once again, and heading back into the hills and on towards another riding adventure (we hoped). We'd consulted a few websites and had what we believed to be solid intel, steering us up and into another riding zone that was more alpine than anything we'd ridden so far on the trip (sans our Elko stop).
A brief combined search-mission to locate our trailhead with both Map, GPS and smart phone, and a quick turn-around on the wrong road, saw us pulling handily into the trailhead area of Fifth Water Ridge trail and enjoying something other than a parking-lot for the evening. Grass, a babbling creek bordering our campsite, and moderate temps, had the group in a completely different mindset. No threat of precipitation, a nice soft area to wander barefoot about camp, and a trail directly around the corner meant we could set up camp before we lost the last precious rays of light, and even had a bit of time to do some exploring on the bikes to survey our surroundings. Perfect.
It was now time for me to get caught up (to date) on the blog-situation. I hastily erected my aluminum camp-table, lighting, fired up the inverter and got out the computers, external hard drives, initiated the task of transferring images etc, and settled in for several hours of composition. It felt good to settle in a bit and to not be driving constantly. Super-late-dinner notwithstanding (it would prove to be midnight this evening), it was fantastic to feel as though I was making some meaningful headway on the editorial segment of my assignment. Getting my bedding dried out in the more arid environment was a godsend for me psychologically as well. The cold and wet was wearing on me slightly, and the comfort of warmer and drier was a blessing.
I would write well into the evening to catch up, and then fed myself a meal just after midnight, after which I promptly went to sleep... Tomorrow would be yet another adventure.