The temps were hovering in the mid 50's as we arrived at the near full Williams Creek trailhead parking lot around 10AM. After conversing with some riders from the San Francisco Bay area, we saddled up and headed down Highway 75 for the short two mile ride to Fisher Creek Road. Along the way we dodged the inevitable jacked up 4x4 pickup truck pulling the monster trailers screaming down the highway.
Another two mile stretch of gravel road took us into a two track that followed Fisher Creek through willows, aspens and living pines.
Soon we entered the burn area and started the gradual climb.
|Tam fueling up.|
Even though we had an almost full parking lot we only saw about a half dozen other people on the trail - nice! We completed this 13 mile loop in a little over 2.5 hours and then packed up for the short drive to Stanley Lake for a short lunch break. After fueling up, we were off on the next loop.
Our version of the Elk Meadows Loop started with a two mile run up the Stanley Lake road followed by another 2 mile grunt up the gravel Elk Mountain road. At this point the weather was heating up (mid 70's still!) and our legs were feeling the lactic acid build up, but we pushed through to the trail head.
|Tam almost to the trailhead with McGown Peak in the background.|
The guide book says that the single track trail includes "lots of baby head shaped rocks" and that caution should be exercised. There were definitely baby sized head rocks all over the place. These combined with large tree roots and an occasional downed tree provided a great technical ride contrasting the smoother Fisher/Williams Loop.
After a couple miles of rocky rutty single track we dropped out onto Elk Meadows where we cruised on smooth single track with an occasional mud hole thrown in to keep you awake.
The trail then gradually rose up the flank of Elk Mountain, past an old mine, and entered another large meadow that offered spectacular views of the Northern Sawtooths.
After this meadow it was back to a two track/gravel road for the bumpy ride back down into the Stanley Lake basin. This 12 mile loop took us 2 hours to complete. It was 4PM and we were spent.
There was a lot of sighing on the drive back into Boise. What a day!