Part 13: Riggins, ID to Eagle, ID


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The Trip

We broke camp at Spring Bar on the main Salmon River and headed toward Boise.  We decided to take a path through the mountains on the dirt that would take us through Yellow Pine and some remote areas of the forest.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

This is what Riggins, ID is all about.  They claim the title as the "whitewater rafting capital of the world" due to the proximity to a number of large, wild rivers.  Above, we watched as a raft guide briefed some newby rafters prior to their put-in.

The chaos that I spoke about in the previous adventure was in front of us.  Attempting to get back to Riggins from Spring Bar, we encountered a large group of trucks.  This one was high-centered as it attempted to leave River Road to pull into the fire camp's kitchen area.  This was a big truck with many "dangle downs" and did not clear the berm on the side of the road.  All traffic on the road was stopped as the road is a single lane.  Above, a team has an "aw shit" meeting.

Finally, somebody took charge and a normal situation occured: 2 workers with 10 watchers.

The chaos was complete.  The trucks could not continue on due to the blockage and could not back up because they were following too close to the rig ahead.  Plus, one of the trucks had a double trailer which is impossible to back with any precision.

There were perhaps 6 big rigs and several support vehicles including an ice truck. So, that raises a question: with only 30 tents in the fire camp, who is going to be fed?  I assumed that these trucks were for the fire team since that was the area that they pulled into with the truck, but perhaps it was for a very large group of rafters on the river.  This set of rigs looked like it could feed many hundreds of folks, so the real answer is a mystery.

We finally squeaked past the chaos and continued on to Riggins via River Road.  We passed a number of floaters along the way.

One of the two bridges that cross the river.

This drainage is only about 20 miles from the Hell's Canyon area of the Snake River.  The terrain here is similar: steep and difficult.

We went south on the asphalt to McCall, ID then back onto the dirt.  We got to Lick Creek Summit and pulled over to get a few photos.  The mountain above is Beaverdam Peak at 8656 feet elevation.

Sawtooth Peak was to our south at 8875 feet.

The road was in pretty good shape, but being close to McCall (a major tourist town in the area) it had a lot of day-trippers and therefore plenty of dust.

The peaks were not that high in an absolute sense, but were very rugged.

From Lick Creek Summit, we continued east.  The road was narrow, steep and unforgiving of mistakes.

This fellow was not paying attention and went over the edge.  I doubt that he survived.

As we descended into the canyon below the summit, the depth of the gorge became apparent.

We met another Jed in the oncoming traffic stream.  This is one fine ride.

We followed Lick Creek for many miles.  We eventually made it to the small hillbilly village of Yellow Pine.  In Yellow Pine, we met one of the locals: "Rasta Jed".  I have seen many backcountry types, but none (thus far) had dreadlocks.  Rasta Jed was getting his tire fixed at the general store.  We got ice cream at the general store there and noticed that our front right tire was low.  Rats!  This was the tire that we repaired in La Junta some weeks before.  It was leaking about 10 psi/hour so we had to fill it every hour.  We decided to stop at a small camp along Johnson Creek.  While within ear shot of the main trail, we had the place to ourselves.

From Johnson Creek, we headed south then west to Warm Lake.  We encountered some steep grades on the trail.

Warm Lake was visible from one of the high passes.

At the crest, the dirt turned into asphalt and steep, tight switchbacks.

Despite the motion blur in the photo above, the vivid colors of the flowers are apparent.

We did a lunch stop in Cascade, ID and then followed the Payette River gorge toward Eagle, ID and Boise.  The steep grade on the river caused the water to boil.

We past a number of kayakers that were shooting the rapids.  This group was in the runout after a particularly intense section of rapids.

We had to stop many times to refill the air in the front right tire.  It was clear that the repair action had full failed and that a tire change was in order.  So, Kathleen found an RV park that had showers and we pulled in and started to work.  Above, my tire crane gets it's first real use changing a tire.  We undid the ratchet straps that held the spare in place and lowered it to the ground.

The crane setup worked exactly as intended which is always a nice thing.  Once the spare was on the ground, we jacked the wheel, drained the air, pulled off the retaining ring and pried the tire from the wheel.

The retaining ring and spring for the wheel.

Kathleen captured the balancing beads from the old tire.  She also found the patch that had come loose.  The plug that was put in the tire also worked itself out but we did not find it inside the tire.

I added U500 rims to the 1017 some months back.  These are huge rims, thick and heavy.  I was told by a fellow San Diego mogger that has similar rims on his 2450 that changing the tire is easier with the rim left on the axle.  So, that is what we did and it worked great.  It was MUCH easier than tearing a tire off a rim with big bars.  We had the tire off in only a few minutes, cleaned the rim and prepared to seat the new tire.

The new tire seated well and took full air pressure.

The sad thing about the tire failure is that the carcass of the tire is in excellent condition.  Note the tread left in the photo above (the old tire is at the left of the photo).  But, due to the location of the puncture (at the transition of the sidewall with the tread) I doubt that the tire is serviceable.  We will keep it as a spare, but will buy a big bottle of tire goop to use should we have to put it into service again.

This section of the trip took us through some great country.  Had we not suffered the tire issue, we would have stayed in the high country a few more days before coming into the Boise area.

We did chores after completing the tire and then hit the hay.  Tomorrow, we will do a resupply and then head to the southwest toward the Alvord Desert and the Steen Mountains.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2011, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.