Sometimes a person just needs a change of scenery–it’s good for the soul. Our friend Ken mentioned a few weeks ago a possible ATV trip to Challis, Idaho but plans might not work. Things changed, plans were cancelled and the trip was a go. We had previous appointments in Billings prior to departure day leaving us with one day to load the rig. Whew! By the end of that day we were both dragging–I prepared a bunch of food to take with us–the ladies share responsibility for happy hour snacks and side dishes. Charlie is in charge of grilling each couple’s chosen meat for dinner each night.
So, off we went a week ago today–bright and early heading for the Challis, Idaho area.
That’s Ken and Lesley in front of us, Charlie and Peggy are out there in front somewhere with us bringing up the rear. It was smooth sailing all the way to Challis with two stops for gas and a stop for lunch. We had some difficulty finding a boondocking spot traveling up this steep mountain road with absolutely NO place to turn around only to find no boondocking spots and the campground full. Back down that awful road cringing when we would meet oncoming traffic–it was one narrow, steep road!
We ended up camped in a BLM campground along the highway. And were so lucky to find one accommodating camp host. There were not three open spots so he allowed us all three to camp in one large pull through, end to end. We parked first in the middle and moved our truck, Charlie backed his rig close to our front and Ken pulled his motorhome up to the rear of our trailer. Our doors all faced the grassy area and picnic table. It was a great spot with lots of shade in the afternoon.
It was chilly every morning–really chilly and we didn’t start riding until about 9:30am each morning when the sun was finally coming up over the mountains and hitting the campsite.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the 50 inch rule–many US forest service trails and even state trails are designated as 50 inch ATV use only. This means 4-wheelers and side by side ATVs that are only 50 inches wide can use these trails. In some areas the rule is even stricter and only ATVs in which the rider sits astride are legal. This bridge you see us about to cross was just barely 50 inches wide and the two poles were set in concrete and were exactly 50 inches wide. Our Polaris RZR is 50 inches wide and let me tell you, I would cringe as we were going through these barriers but we didn’t scrape so all is well!
The trails in this area–the Yankee Fork–are well used and rugged with some challenging riding. I only got out and walked once–that’s my gauge for how scary the trails is, I walk if I’m that uncomfortable and I take Emmi with me!–but I was tempted to get out more than once!! There was some side hilling that really made me cringe but we all survived! The fifty inch trails interspersed with other wider trails and roads were very narrow, usually incredibly steep with lots of trees to avoid–challenging!
Even though the trails were well used we saw very few other people–less than five rigs per day–even on the weekend. The fall colors were spectacular as was the scenery in this historical former mining area of Idaho.
We rode four days–50 miles, 55 miles, 80 miles and on the last day 47 miles. The dogs and the people all enjoyed each other’s company and we had a great trip. Tuesday we all loaded up and headed for home bucking a dang gale force wind all the way back to Montana. The wind brought the smoke supposedly from the California fires and it was miserable Tuesday night but by Wednesday morning all was clear once again.
Every day we rode past the ghost town of Bayhorse–an Idaho state park, closed for the season. The above photo shows one of the buildings and the next photo is of the kilns used in the processing of the gold found in these hills long ago.
I will share more of the photos in the next blog posts–don’t want to overload you! Our fall colors in Montana are glorious right now too and the temps are downright chilly with frost most mornings–fall is here and winter not far behind. Now, if it would just rain or snow!!