Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bogus Basin Contour Special

Photo courtesy

Well, a gorgeous weekend lies ahead, with temperatures in the 80s, so it's going to be a great weekend to do almost anything outdoors. I'm recommending a 5.75-mile hike or mountain bike ride at Bogus Basin called the "Bogus Basin Contour Special." The hike is featured in the Boise Trail Guide, and the ride is in the brand new 5th edition of Mountain Biking in Boise.

You could combine the hike/ride with the annual "Star Party" at Bogus Saturday night, from 7 p.m. to midnight. Scale the mountain by day, revel in star-gazing at night.

It's a beautiful hike or ride to circumnavigate Bogus Basin, following the Deer Point Trail from the bottom of the Deer Point chairlift, and climbing ever so gently but steadily up to the saddle near the top of the Showcase Chairlift. From there, you pick up Elk Meadows Trail and follow that around the backside of Bogus to Lodge Trail, back to the Pioneer, or take a sidetrip to the top of Shafer Butte for the best view. Be sure to bring a lunch or a snack for the summit.

Lodge Trail returns to the Pioneer Lodge. Go to the left of the Morning Star chairlift and descend on Sunshine, a two-track that dissolves into a wildflower-bordered singletrack. Cruise down to the bottom of Sunshine, merge into the bottom of Shindig, and then follow the service road back to the base area.

If this ride seemed too tame, check out the freeride Eastside Trail. It's longer and much more challenging. The official trailhead is by the Nordic Lodge. Another option is to ride the Bogus Basin freeride trail, which may or may not be ready to ride right now ... - SS

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New edition of Mountain Biking in Boise to hit the streets next week

Ian Fitzgerald of Eagle flies into the sky at the Idaho Velopark (Mari Briggs photo)

Five Mile Creek

Bob's Trail, Josh Roper photo

Orchard Gulch off of Rocky Canyon Road
Practice good trail etiquette

Oregon Trail

Scaling Hard Guy

Lots of elbow room on Avimor trails

Idaho Velopark Stage Fright jump line

Hi all,

After many months of work, I'm happy to report that the 5th edition of Mountain Biking in Boise will be released for retail sales in the middle of next week. The book also is available for sale on my web site.

Many new trails have been added to the Boise and Eagle Foothills trail network over the last 5-6 years since the last edition. Volunteers from the Southwest Idaho Mountain Biking Association (SWIMBA), the Idaho Velopark and Boise REI have stepped up to create more trails, more fun, more challenge and more pure adrenaline than we've ever had before. My hats off to all of the people who made this happen.

The new book features 65 rides and maps, a photo gallery of action images, and tips on riding technique, trail etiquette and bike maintenance. The book has 25 more rides than the last edition, including rides in the Eagle Foothills, the Idaho Velopark, Avimor, new Ridge to Rivers Trails and new trails around Bogus Basin. All told, the trail system in the foothills has expanded from 80 miles to 200+ miles of trails, much of it singletrack.

We're blessed to have so many public trails right out our backdoor in Boise. It's a world-class trail system -- one of the best in a city of our size anywhere in America, in my opinion. We need to do everything possible to tread lightly and be an ambassador for the sport of mountain biking when you're out there on the trail.

Go out of your way to yield to other users and say hello ... it's a wonderful thing to see all of the people out there hiking, walking their dogs, running, biking and horseback riding in the foothills, in addition to the motorbikes and ATVs in the upper reaches of the foothills. Everyone is out there to have fun and enjoy the fresh air and the surrounding environment. Do your part to preserve the resource.

The new book will be available at Treasure Valley bike shops, book shops and outdoor stores. Book-signing events will be announced soon.

In the coming days, my web site will feature sample rides from the book, videos of more than a dozen trails, and a fun slide show of previous book covers and associated trivia ... -- SS

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Priest Lake is one of Idaho's crown jewels

Awesome beach camping


This tree doesn't have much foundation left

Paddling up the Narrows to Upper Priest Lake

Full moon over Priest Lake

Navigation Trail

Sweet singletrack

I am so happy to be here!

Our campsite

Wendy and I had a four-day weekend reserved last week to run the Bruneau River. But after our friends had to cancel, we shifted the trip to Priest Lake, one of my all-time favorite outdoor haunts.

We headed for Beaver Creek Campground in the Panhandle National Forest, a premium camping area on the north end of Priest Lake that has beachfront, immediate access to singletrack hiking and biking trails, and close access to the "the Narrows," a creek-like water channel that connects to Upper Priest Lake. It's a perfect base camp for just about any outdoor activity, including reading on the beach!

We mountain biked on the Lakeshore Trail, a 10-mile wonder along the west shoreline of Priest Lake in heavy timber right on the edge of Priest Lake. We also rode the Navigation Trail to Upper Priest Lake. It's an easy trail for the most part, but there was one challenging section with some stairstep drops into a creek bottom, and Wendy landed at the bottom of the stairstep feature and lost control. She got ejected from her bike and Supermanned into the creek bottom, landing on her head in the mud. Ouch! She was OK after a bit of rest.

The Selkirk Mountains are directly above the east shoreline of Priest Lake. You can take logging roads to points near the upper ridge, and hike to the peaks from there. When Mark Lisk and I worked on the Idaho Impressions coffee table book, we hiked out to Chimney Rock at sunset, and he got a great shot of the orange-and-rouge sunset glows on the Selkirk Peaks, and we hiked back to the truck in the dark, and actually found it!

Several of the mountain bike trails in the Priest Lake region are featured in my statewide guide "Mountain Biking Idaho." Check 'em out. They're awesome!

Try to plan a week to visit Priest Lake and immerse yourself in all of the outdoor fun. Don't forget to hang out on the beach and chill, too.

How to get there: From Boise take I-84 west toward Portland. Go right on I-82 near the Tri-Cities. Then take U.S. 395 north to Ritzville and I-90. Go east to Spokane, then U.S. 2 north to Priest Lake from Spokane. It's about 8 hours of driving time if you keep the pedal to the metal. -- SS