|Huck cools off in Loon Lake.|
|Morgan Hine cruises to Loon Lake on the sweet singletrack ...|
|Wendy on the Payette Rim Trail|
|Overlook of Payette Lake from the Rim Trail.|
|The new Huckleberry Trail comes within 10 feet of the lake at times ... Very cool!|
As the clock turns forward into June, the summer heat has been turning on in the Boise Valley, which in my mind, means it's time to head up to the mountains of McCall to go hiking, biking or boating.
We were up at our cabin in McCall last weekend, and took the kids rafting on the Cabarton section of the North Fork Payette River on Sunday. Then on Monday evening, I rode the new Huckleberry Loop in Ponderosa Park and hung out with the mule deer, which looked nice and tan in their summer coat. On Tuesday mid-morning, I rode the Payette Rim Trail with a friend, and my, it was riding as smooth as ever!
It's SO nice to sniff the cool mountain air while riding the trails and enjoy the wonderful smells and sounds in the deep woods. You look out through the trees to the azure lakes below, and know you could be swimming there on your way home. Plus, the air temp is 15 degrees cooler than it is in Boise!
This week, I'm recommending several hikes and bike rides in the McCall area. June is less busy in McCall than July and August, so it should be possible to find some lodging deals through inIdaho, vrbo or the local hotels. I'm also including a link from Roger Phillips' story in the Statesman today about biking at Brundage Mountain, Tamarack and Jug Mountain Ranch. All of those venues are excellent as well! See my guide, Mountain Biking in McCall for 40 rides in the area.
1. Check out the new Huckleberry Loop trail in Ponderosa State Park. There's a new singletrack trail along the east shoreline of the peninsula that connects to the old Huckleberry hiking and biking trail, and there's another singletrack that takes off from the main beach area and goes north through the huge ponderosa pines to the road to Osprey Point. You pop out on the road just short of the very top. I think the loop is about five miles long in total. It has some steep, technical sections. But overall, I'd rate it strong intermediate as a bike ride. For hiking, I'd rate it moderate. It'd be beautiful to hike it or ride it, whatever your preference might be. Riding time is 1.5 hours. Hiking time is 2+ hours.
Here's a map of the route ...
|GPS tracks of the new Huckleberry Loop Trail. There are several variations|
that you can enjoy in the southern part of the park on your way out.
3. Ride Jug Mountain Ranch. See the link to Roger's article above for details. JMR has built a new trail with banked corners called "Berm and Ernie." I can't wait to ride that new trail! See the trail map above. As Roger said, they have the coolest shuttle rig anywhere that'll take you to a point where you can do gravity rides on the trails. JMR is dead east of Lake Fork off of ID 55.
|Upper Drain is fast and smooth!|
Don't forget the North Fork Championships are going on Thursday-Saturday. The event is free, and it's totally worth driving up to watch expert kayakers negotiate the mighty North Fork, some of the gnarliest whitewater in the nation. This year there's a BoaterX race with 6 paddlers racing down S-turn rapids all at once. That's tomorrow at 3 p.m. Saturday at 1 p.m. is the big giant slalom event through Jacob's Ladder, the steepest section of the North Fork. Kayakers zip down a steep slide and leap into the river to run the gates in Jake's and Golf Course. It takes phenomenal skill and experience to compete in that event.