Thursday, July 5, 2012

Biking to Overwich Falls

Posted By on Thu, Jul 5, 2012 at 4:44 PM

Yesterday a crew of us set out early to make a classic loop ride in the Warm Springs Creek area. Heading up the creek on the main trail intent on making it to Overwich Falls, we knew we would have deadfall and pushing to contend with on this trip, but just not how many log jams there would be.

Randy Leavell of Valley Bike and Ski cruising the down
  • John Lehrman
  • Randy Leavell of Valley Bike and Ski cruising the down

The climb from the forks with Twogood was not as steep as I remembered, but it did have a dozen or so log jams, only one of which was dangerous climbing over. When you could pedal it was moderate and when you could not, it was obvious making it hard to get too worked climbing. We made it to Overwarmwich Pass after about four hours and ran into the crew we had passed driving in at 0800. They had ascended Warm Springs Ridge and were making a similar loop in the other direction. With good news ahead that a team of trail cutters were just ahead we looked forward to the clean climb up and out Coulter Creek.
We ascended Coulter in style only having to walk the steep sections beyond the culvert and popped out at the trailhead and road in beautiful afternoon light. These guys had come prepared for a Independence day cookout and we roasted corn, burgers, and potatoes all wrapped up tight in tin foil. Wow! What a treat. Well fed we began the beginning of a few great descents, interrupted only by some deadfall between Shields Trail and Porcupine Saddle, mostly single logs but there were a few jams of multiples. Once we made the saddle I was pretty sure it would be clean riding from there on out, as I had pedaled here last week, and it was. The descent along the spine of Warm Springs Ridge is sublime taking the traveler through fields of wildflowers with views of the high Bitterroots stretched out to the northwest.

Don pedals into the evening light

We chose Fire Creek Trail for our descent and it was in good shape with the 2.4 tires and we all hit the switchbacks with confidence as there has been some traffic here since the season began. With only one new wind thrown tree, the descent into the canyon was in the warm evening sun until we dropped below the rim of Medicine Point Ridge and into the shade. It was nice and cool, so I threw the long sleeve back on and we blasted out the canyon to the trail head. Eleven hours and about 35 miles of single track. With many loops in this area and a dedicated following of folks armed with hand saws, the trails will just continue to improve again until winter's storms bring out the true believers yet again next spring.

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