Hanging out at the coffee shop in Wilson, Wyoming we were displeased see a line of rain clouds stretching across Montana’s extended forecast. We’d hoped to spend several days riding remote trails in Big Thigh Country but neither of us wanted to camp out in a wet, slow-moving Pacific front.
Allison had prepared for this kind of thing with a collection of maps for other places. More or less at random, we picked an area in the White Cloud Mountains in central Idaho that had a number of long trails looping from end of a dirt road and off we went.
We didnt have much information about the area, just the topo maps, and maybe because we didn’t quite know what we were in for selected a 40-some mile singletrack link up. This morning I found a guidebook reference for a smaller variation of the loop that mentions “you’ll be praying to the endurance gods for forgiveness.” And that’s true. But, it was also some of the flowiest, narrowest singletrack one could hope to ride. We just had to earn the long downhill with two dozen miles of loose uphilling punctuated by hike-a-bikes. The ride through winding pristine valleys was worth the fatigue. Back at camp that night we drank cold beers and soaked in hot springs along the river.
The next day we rode a more popular loop, though after looking at the trailhead register it still looks like it only gets a few bikers a week. The Big Boulder to Little Boulder Creek loop climbs 3500′ before dropping over a pass and down to a chain of alpine lakes. From there it contours along a high bench for a few miles before dropping the remaining elevation back to the road. This trail was wider, blown out in spots by motos and horses. Still, there were miles long sections that were ripping fast with plenty of little root and rock drops to keep a me focused. Plus, the scenery is amazing.