Oregon Trail to Pine and Back

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June 4, 2012

We’ve struggled lately to find a weekend to ride but finally found a little time to head up toward Blacks Creek, along the Oregon Trail byway to Pine, back around Anderson Ranch Reservoir to Pierce then home. It was hot, about 90°F. It felt good to be in the wind.

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mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/7710847990
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If you have an Idaho Driver’s License, take a look at the faint photo background behind your stats. It should look exactly like this.

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mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/7710855140
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The roads Jessica and I followed out of Boise coincide with the Oregon Trail. With nothing of apparent nearby interest, an official looking interpretive sign piqued our curiosity.

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mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/7710863476
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It turned out that rock there was covered with axle grease emigrant graffiti from the 1850s—kind of cool.

Site 9: Inscription Rock
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Site 9: Inscription Rock
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“Bowns Creek was another camping area which provided little water in most years. The Trail followed down the creek for a mile before continuing to the north. Another large granite boulder close to the Trail became an ‘emigrant post office’ as many people wrote their names in axle grease upon the rock. Although faded from the elements, some are still visible after 150 years” (Oregon Trail interpretive sign).

160 year-old axle grease
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160 year-old axle grease
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mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/7710888248
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Even with our space suit paraphernalia, we didn’t spot any graffiti around the other sides of the rock.

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mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/7710897398
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Next up was Canyon Creek Station. We didn’t set out to hit Oregon Trail sites but with the temperature rising into the 90s, shade looked pretty nice. This area served as a wagon stop where many would camp for the night. Other structures were destroyed by fire so all that remains are these lava rock walls.

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mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/7710907434
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Here we departed from the Oregon Trail and headed toward the mountains. Bye emigrants.

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mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/7710919138
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We followed Immigrant Road to Highway 20 then turned off to circle Little Camas Reservoir. We’d never seen it and we happened to be in the neighborhood. We both thought it looked pretty slimy—more a fishing hole than recreation area.

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mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/7710927402
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I could see it was a good thing we didn’t shoot for Trinity Pass just yet.

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mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/7710934834
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Ever wary of backtrack anathema, I saw in an aerial view what looked like a means of circling around the Little Camas Reservoir so I plotted it on the GPS. Worked great.

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mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/7710941844
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mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/7710951186
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The backtrack-avoidance route took us on an interesting tour near Anderson Ranch Reservoir. Jessica only had to get off and walk once.

Your choice of deep fried animals
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Your choice of deep fried animals
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Our mature waitress suggested I drink more soda to contribute to the wait-staff’s recycled-can massage fund. I had a second Mountain Dew. Three more cents for you!

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mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/7710968290
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We had never circled around the non-highway side of Anderson Ranch Reservoir. We noted several great campsites for return with the kids.

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mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/7710979310
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Could just be that I was cavalier about signage as a kid but I don’t remember seeing a hundredth of the “no” signs we see today. It was like this all along the reservoir.

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mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/7710987914
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We had a quick look at the Anderson Ranch Reservoir dam then followed the river several miles past more beautiful campsites—many folks floating and fishing—until it was time to climb out of the canyon toward Pierce.

Prairie ahead
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Prairie ahead
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I tried to route us from Pierce out a jeep trail along the bench above the river but we were turned back by “No Trespassing” signs. So we made due with this.

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mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/7711014322
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mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/7711023244
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In lieu of the bench-above-the-river trail, we stopped at this point just off the road above the top end of Arrowrock Reservoir, a spot Hunter enjoyed last year.

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mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/7711030768
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There is a bald eagle nest below the point that a couple enthusiasts pointed out to Hunter and I last year. I was a bit surprised to see the same nest still there. I guess they don’t move around much.

The End
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The End
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