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.

NO NO NO

2 comments:

Jonathan Freitag said...

Great scenery. Where exactly is Boulder Pass?

John Speare said...

Jonathan -- Boulder Pass is "Boulder Creek Road" -- the top is at Deer Creek -- which is also the northern trailhead to Kettle Crest Trail

https://goo.gl/maps/XNSi1ZMF5zroqaeK6