Arriving on the Red River Thursday evening, I pulled the bike off for a quick stroll around the hills, and get a feel for what was surrounding me (other than rivers and deep canyons). The hills above camp did not disappoint.
On Friday, I did some exploring on Magruder, to get a feel for distance and difficulty, and found the real difficulty was not the surface of the road, it was the distance – 113 miles, one way. The terrain was not easy, as some sections were a bit tricky, and good tires are a must. Paying attention to the road may be the hardest thing to do, as the views are endless and spectacular. The series of burns in this wilderness area have left it mostly open, and allows for miles of viewing, not only scenery, but also your path – it can be seen for miles. In fact, the only thing blocking your view of the path is mountains, at times.
Day 2, Saturday, was spent exploring off the Corridor. I had seen enough 4-wheeler traffic coming in on Friday, I decided to avoid the dusty chaos that was sure to follow. That was a good choice, as it turned out to be a much better day spent foraging for the elusive mountain huckleberry. The huckleberry pancakes I made for the next two days were worth every bit of the effort.
Sunday turned out to be a much harder day of riding than I expected. Initially, I attempted to blaze across in 3 hours, so I could take my time and explore on the way back. Of course that did not happen. I did too many stops, and HAD to explore a little bit on the way over, and it took closer to 5 hours. Well that chewed into my explore time coming back, as I really did not want to ride the largest wilderness in the dark. A 40-mile side trip up a river really threw me off my time coming back. This place is truly incredible. Of course, wildlife is everywhere, including wall-to-wall deer and elk.
Rivers and creeks split the immense wilderness, and formed deep canyons that traced the water. Hard to imagine how the early settlers, trappers and miners traversed this landscape without the aid of machinery.
But then again, I am constantly amazed at how rugged everything was back in the days of Lewis and Clark, and the Nimiipuu. The more I read, the more I am in awe of those who have traveled these lands before me. I do not doubt the reasons the Nez Perce fought so fiercely to KEEP these lands.
Like so many forests in Montana and Idaho, I could spend weeks more riding around and exploring in the Nez Perce. Since it was rainy and cold this morning, I decided it was a good day to pack up and head on south to McCall, Id.