Sixmile Ridge

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Sixmile Ridge parallels the South Fork of the Salmon, near Buckhorn Creek.

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I picked Art up a little after 6am, and this time I remembered to bring the chainsaw (not needed this trip, but you never know). We had dry pavement going over Big Creek. Down in the South Fork, it was 24°F, but the cloudless day promised warmer temps. This herd of elk was hanging out at a hot springs on the river. When we drove by, they ran up the hillside and rolled rocks on us. Backcountry terrorists!


Trailhead

It's not a lot of miles down to the Buckhorn Trailhead, but at 25mph, it is a lot of time. So the sun was already pretty bright just above us as we signed in at the register.

Snake River

There used to be a road up Buckhorn Creek, but a slide washed it out so only ATVs could get in. And then another slide took out the ATV trail. It appears that people are still getting motorcycles in here, but that looked pretty sketchy to me.
But when, after walking about 1/4 mile from the car, you turn up the West Fork, it's hiking only.

Approach

After not much longer, the trail splits again. The sign is on the uphill side of the trail, putting it at about 8' above you. Still, it's pretty obvious.

Approach

The trail isn't the most obvious. But it's there. And so are some others, which might instead be elk trails. hard to tell. We interpreted the right way, or it seemed like the right way, using a combination of GPS map and Idaho trail experience.

Approach

This area burned a few years back, and as a result there is some small deadfall across the trail.

Approach

If you can't find the trail, just look for the downed trees. It's almost guaranteed that it's underneath.

Approach

The deadfall isn't constant, but there is plenty. We each found our own method for dealing with it.

Actually, this technique was rare for Ruby- she was leaping over the downfall like she was running steeplechase. She's an amazing little hiking dog (said the proud father).

Approach
It's pretty steep country, but the trail does a good job of winding around and traversing at a moderate angle. Soon enough, we were high above the river. Approach

And then on the summit of Sixmile Ridge.

Approach

Our original plan had us going all the way out to Krassel Knob. But our pace had slowed considerably. So we turned back on Peak 5891, seen as the left highpoint on the forested ridge in the middle distance here.

With another vehicle, one could drop down from Krassel Knob to Krassel Guard Station, making for a shorter day while adding another highpoint (but we don't know what that section of trail might be like).

Approach

But back to the business at hand. This ridge gives wonderful views of the South Fork area, although many are filtered by trees.

Still, a few highlights. Looking south-southeast, there's Thunderbolt Mountain.

Approach
Miners Peak to the south. Approach

And to the west, Bearpaw sort of in the middle, and Rainbow Peak on the right.

Approach
It was a really nice day: very spring-like temperatures, some wildflowers, and even the year's first tick. But for me, the anticipation of new life goes beyond just Spring, so we had to head home. Approach

Map.

 

Map

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