Thursday, March 11, 2021

R2R gives Green Light to select lower foothills trails! Spring skiing is perfect right now!

Nice late-afternoon light on Three Bears Trail above Rocky Canyon Road   

Hi all, 

On March bluebird days like these, it's a tough call for me ... should I go hiking, biking or skiing! 

Today, on Thursday, March 11, I read on the Ridge to Rivers Facebook page that they were green-lighting sandy trails in the lowest part of the Boise Foothills like the whole Military Reserve complex of trails, leading up to Central Ridge, Shane's Loop and Bucktail.  

Since that's one of my favorite go-to mountain bike loops with my pointer Huck, we knocked out that 6-mile ride this afternoon. And it was not only dry, but bone dry! There were a few dog puddles on Bucktail on the way down but that trail was mostly dry all the way. Yee-haw! 

I've been avoiding the foothills all winter -- skiing my tail off, hiking and riding my road bike. So it's always a thrill for me to get back on my mountain bike and ride in the Boise footies! Plus, in the brisk wind on top of the ridge, 55 degrees, it's perfect conditions for Huck to run like a gazelle and comb the country. Love to see him lift his sniffer into the wind ...     

Shane's Loop near the top ... good place to go right now. 

Starting at the base of Military Reserve Park, I like to start out on the Mountain Cove trail along Freestone Creek, where there's water for dogs right now. And then climb Ridge Crest to Central Ridge, take Central Ridge to Shanes/Bucktail jct., then ride Shane's clockwise back to Central Ridge jct., and then zip down Bucktail, enjoying the S-curves like a finely carved GS turn on skis. 

The whole Figure-8 route is a generally a gradual climb compared to other harder, steeper trails in the Boise Foothills. Hence, it's a good place to start working in your legs before tackling the harder stuff. 

Quoting from the R2R Facebook page, here are some other options to hike, run or ride: 

"Some of the trails that we know are good to go at this point and might also make nice little loops for folks would include: 8th St. to the access road down to the Bob's dam, up Bob's to Urban Connector, back around and down Highlands, up Bob's back to the dam and retracing your steps back up the access road and down 8th St. From the Foothills Learning Center this makes a 6.75 mile lollipop.

Also, loops or figure 8's with some combination of the Military Reserve trails and around Bucktail and Shane's Loop are opened up as well. The main Table Rock trail is also good to go at this point, although our best guess is that you will find some lingering wet spots down on the Old Pen trail."

It was cool to see a guy exercising a horse and a mule on Curlew Ridge ... he had both saddled up.

Crestline Trail, Sidewinder, Fat Tire Connector out to the wet spot, and Freestone Ridge are some other possibilities. The trails out by Surprise Valley on the old Oregon Trail should be drying out, too. Over by Seaman's Gulch, I hiked the Valley View Trail the other day and it was mostly dry, and it has fetching views of NW Boise, as always.

Here's a link to the R2R Interactive Trail map.

More than a week of sunshine, steady winds, and longer days are drying out the trails fairly quickly in the lowest part of the foothills. Farther up, it's going to be ice and snow.

Skiing/riding freshly groomed corduroy is a treat. (Courtesy Brundage Mountain)   

Speaking of which, Spring Skiing is absolutely fabulous right now at the alpine resorts. I checked in with Bogus Basin, Brundage, Tamarack and Sun Valley, and they all have online day tickets available for week days or weekends at the moment.

So even if you don't have a season pass, now is a great time to get out and ski/ride in the warm sunshine. High temperatures will be in the mid-30s to mid-40s at those resorts this weekend. Ski area snow depths and snow bases are in peak form. See my latest post on the Idaho Daily Snow.

Enjoy the weekend, and remember to set your clock to spring forward an hour on Saturday night. - SS

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