Saturday, August 22, 2015
Another ride near Limestone Mt.
Wildfire smoke filled the valleys, but up where we unloaded and rode, it was quite nice; the weather was perfect. We started out on a graded road that takes us past the Pass Creek area. We knew there would be a river crossing coming up soon, but we felt confident that this late in the season we could cross it without any concern. So, when we got to the river, we all crossed...and it was just fine. We all had to lift our feet a bit so they wouldn't get wet. Brett said that the second river crossing had a bridge over it, so we would be good there.
Continuing on down the trail, we saw a lot of new timber growth where a wild fire had gone through several years ago. It was a very pretty ride, and the views of the canyon where the Popo Agie runs through are impressive.
We kept looking for trail #354 (into Maxim Basin), but never did see it, so we kept going on #352, assuming we'd run into it anytime. We had some VERY DEEP rutted trails to negotiate. Talk about having one's eye's riveted to the road! The spring rains had washed out so many sections of the trail. The last thing we wanted was to have a tire get sucked down into one of those ruts. The trail got rough with rocks and boulders in places, but it was not too bad.
We kept going and going... and then we came upon another river crossing. No bridge. Hmmm. It was at that point we all were thinking we had somehow missed taking #354...but where? We didn't see any signage. Well, I guess we cross the river. This crossing was much deeper, and the water was swifter. Brett took a look and decided he would give it a try. We watched him (to see how he negotiated it), and he made it. However, a little water must have splashed up under his seat, and his machine almost cut out...which gave him a little scare. I went next, and just plowed through. Although it got deep enough I felt as though the tires weren't touching bottom for a second, and the momentum was carrying me across, the tires grabbed again and I was across. Then Julie came across; she made it just fine. But I could tell she was glad that was over!
We road just a bit further, and Brett recognized Fossil Hill and knew just where we were. Yes, we had really missed the trail that would have taken us into Maxim Basin. Next, we see a rest stop (bathroom). That was convenient, because I was ready for that facility! Brett pointed out that we had come all the way to the top of the Sinks Canyon road (paved highway). We got out the map to see exactly where we were. Oh great. Now we had a decision. Julie's machine is street legal (to run on the road), but Brett's and my machine only have ORV stickers. So if we got caught on the highway, we'd certainly be fined. According to the map, we would have to ride 2 miles on the highway before it turned into a dirt road, taking a chance of not getting caught, or back-track the entire route, including the two river crossings.
Considering the time, and considering the trail, we didn't want to back-track and decided it was worth taking a chance on the highway. So, while we where in a good spot to stop, we pulled out our lunch and solidified our plans.
When we were ready to go, we pulled out on the highway and moved right along; we made it to the dirt without incident. Whew!! From there, we road on the Sinks Canyon Road all the way to Grainier Meadows. From there, we turned west onto the 4-wheeler trail and road it up over Limestone Mt. in about an hour. We made good time! All was well. A great day.