Saturday, May 16, 2020

McNitt Road Loop

This is an old morning-ride chestnut. It's quick loop with a bit of climb, a bit of dirt, a lot of deer. Only 10 miles. And a kickin' view.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Easter Sunday Mine

I've been wanting to check out the Easter Sunday mine for a month or so.

The ~1930's (?) map shows that there was a small mining camp way up in the middle of the woods. Each little square on the map was a structure of some sort -- I'm assuming a place where people lived or perhaps worked.

But if there's a dot that made it to that map, then there was something there in 1930's, which is sort of interesting since according to the report, The Ore Deposits of Northeastern Washington (published 1914), the mine was pretty much done by 1909... kinda makes you wonder what the hey was going on nearly 20 years later up in these structures.

I took Monday off to go check this out. I invited Thomas to go with me. He's the dude in the first pic. As it works, I converged with Thomas online via Instagram. Sometime in the last year, he went to get some work done by Glen, who vetted him and proclaimed him, "a good guy... I really like him." Thomas' Instagram account shows a dude who likes to explore. He's got Mondays off. And I prefer company when bushwhacking deep in the NF. So it was a go.

With Caltopo, I traced the old route from the 30's map into a GPS track and dumped it on my GPS.

According to the FS 2016 map, the old road is long gone. As it turns out, that's only partially true. In real life, the final 1/2 mile or so was actually spot on the red line. And the mapset I was using on my GPS unit was also in error with that fact. Additionally, the road numbers on both newer map sets didn't correspond to the real world in a couple cases. This is a good reminder to have a bunch of map options when playing around in these areas.

You can see all the potential roads in the map shot above there.

Worse pic of all time --especially given the horrific reality of what was way way down that hole: turbid, yellow water and a tunnel that goes surely goes straight into hell.

There's a lot to explore here, and none of the dots on my 30's map lined up with the single miner's cabin that we did find, but the mine detritus was definitely in the right spot. My thinking here is that by spending a bunch of time exploring this area, I'll for sure bump into many unmarked treasures.

This mine was only about 16 miles from our house, the transport stage is a pretty mellow 10 mile paved journey through beautiful farm and forest. Then NF opens up -- we rode about 6 miles of forest road (~ 4 gravel/nice and ~2 proper/gnarly) to get to this mine. We saw a very promising closed off road that requires exploring. I'll be heading back.

Monday, April 27, 2020

More Summit Lake exploration

We drove up into the Summit Lake area last weekend to find some old mines. A couple excellent loops emerged. Specifically, I'm excited about a loop on FS Road 100 off of Summit Lake -- we drove the old jalopy up there and had to put it in 4x4 mode.

As a bike ride, the loop would make a fantastic climb and descent. Some view, some rocky-challenging surfaces and some smooth forest roads. Lots of filter-able water. And of course, not a soul to be seen.

But there's a lot of evidence of past souls. Mines, cabins, tailings, foundations, abandoned steam equipment. Pretty fascinating.

We just caught a tiny corner of this vast mining area -- nearly all of which is on Forest Service land. And is full of abandoned and forgotten roads that need exploring.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

New routes in Ferry County

 I really get stuck in ruts. I like routine.

I've ridden the same general area of Ferry County for about 15 years now: it's a rough square bound by Deadman Creek on the south, Kettle Crest Trail on the west, the Kettle River on the east, and Boulder pass on the north. You really gotta know this area to make any damn sense of that. But it adds up! It's a box that's about 20 miles x 15 miles of fantastic riding, almost entirely in the Colville National Forest.

As I've got back into riding up here this spring, I've dug into the old chestnuts. I'm particularly happy with my early season climbing of Boulder Pass. That's a beaut of a climb. It 17 miles to the top of that pass from my house -- 11.57 miles of that is the climb up 3,338 feet. I've made 5 attempts and got to the top 3 times. I plan to ride that regularly this year.

But there’s a bunch of Colville National Forest (CNF) all around me that I’ve not explored.

So, today I went up to “Summit Lake.” And was rewarded with a fantastic ride — it’s 15 miles to the lake from my door. GPS said it was about 2000 feet of elevation, but it didn’t feel like it. 

On the map below, start at Barstow, head north on Pierre Lake Road and keep going until you hit Summit Lake. The map is there to illustrate the potential. It's like a steaming pile of guts up there: friggin roads everywhere -- and it keeps going like that for 20? 30? miles east. Old mines, ancient roads, endless loops. If I don't come home some day this summer -- look for my body up there.

The chunk of CNF I usually ride, up around the Kettle Crest, is interesting to me because it’s pretty pristine and natural — it’s far from untouched — but there’s just not a lot of historical left overs of human activity. 

The region around Summit Lake and specifically, the area I’ve been eyeing northeast of Summit, is old mining area. About 100 years ago, this neighborhood was booming with mining, a bunch of little towns and camps, and 1000s of people. First gold. Then silver. Then lead. 

I saw a few things I’ll need to go back and explore. Dig this old mining cabin:

Maddie loves exploring old ruins up here. And I love exploring them with her. I've figured out some magic with historical online maps and the garmin GPS software that results in a GPS file with waypoints for schools, houses, mines, etc that existed in 1936 up in this area. We'll be going up there with that situation to find the good stuff.

These stacked rocks! Click for big to see the second stack in the background. Those are not small rocks.

Summit Lake -- according to my CNF fishing map, there's Cutthroat trout in there. I was pondering the fly-rod portage plan as I rode home this afternoon. 

The difference between Ferry County cows and Spokane-area cows? All Ferry County cows stop every-damn-thing and stare at you. Cyclists might as well have 6 heads. Spokane cows don't even lift their heads up when you ride by.

That's a gas station. Well. When it was a gas station, it was probably called a filling station. It's dead in the middle of nogoddamnwhere. I love that kind of shit.


Saturday, April 18, 2020

I ride a bike again

I was out for a while. I had nothing to say.

One reason I had nothing to say is because I wasn't riding enough.

Blogs are long dead. This feels like the right place to carry on. So I think I will.