Stormy Point

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On a reconnaissance for ITA, we include Stormy Point for outstanding views into Hells Canyon.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

Dave and I were asked to check out a trailhead and trail conditions for a future ITA (Idaho Trails Association) project (they are still looking for volunetters...click here to learn more). From McCall, we drove down to Riggins, then just down the road we turned up Race Creek Road. This starts as pavement but quickly turns to dirt, with some sections that are quite steep and washboardy. It's 12 miles and takes almost an hour. As the road flattens some higher up, it has huge crater potholes. Slow going if you want to keep your dentures in place.

As we got near Iron Phone junction, we twice stopped to prepare to ride our bikes (and enough with the potholes already!). In each case, we were swarmed by bald-faced hornets. No stings, but didn't appreciate them. Finally at Iron Phone, cooler, breezy, and no hornets. So we changed clothes and rode off on our bikes. At Iron Phone there are a few campsites (pictured) and a toilet. No water.

Trailhead

As we headed out the road from Iron Phone Junction toward Low Saddle, the road is a little rockier, but still pretty good. And soon you leave the trees for more open terrain and the views start opening up. Yeah, it looks like rain. In the spot forecast, NOAA said 30% POP at noon.

Trailhead

The road does a ton of wandering in and out of drainages, with a fair amount of up and down to go along with it. We enjoyed the ride and stopped often for photos.

Trailhead

It took us just about an hour to do the 10 miles, and we were inspecting Low Saddle. This view is to the south and is looking into Sheep Creek in the Seven Devils. On the right of center you can see Dry Diggins lookout, or rather you can see where it should be.

On the far right, that's Stormy Point hiding behind the tree.

Trailhead

This is looking north to Saw Pit Saddle, the terminus for the proposed trail project. We could see sections of trail on the grassy hillsides. Looks like a really fun hike (after ITA clears it)!

Trailhead

I'm pretty sure this is Suicide Point.

Lots of views, and particularly interesting if you have visited this part of the world.

Trailhead

From Low Saddle, there is an ATV track heading farther west out the ridge. We were exploring, so we rode out to see where it went. And there's Stormy Point in the distance.

Trailhead

Then back to the saddle to examine the trail. We weren't sure which direction the project would go from here, so we first checked out the trail to the south, which drops about 3000' to Clarks Hole.

We poked around a bit, but couldn't find the trail heading north.

Trailhead

NOAA said precip at noon, so we had to get going to avoid learning why they call it Stormy Point.

And there it is right up there. We bushwacked for a few minutes, then found a pretty decent trail.

Trailhead
Working our way up the ridge. Trailhead
It's not heavily used, but there is a trail all the way to the summit. Trailhead

From the summit, that's Cold Benchmark. There's a road almost to the top, but we had already dropped our plans to do that today.....

Trailhead

We sat on the summit and had lunch.

But the ridge continued to the west a bit with the promise of even better views. Click to see Dave heading out to see.

Trailhead
Out on the ridge we stopped to admire the even more exceptional views. And then we noticed the benchmark. Trailhead
Looking north. A little farther that direction is Kirkwood Ranch and then Pittsburg Landing. Trailhead

Looking south toward Bernard Creek where I worked an ITA project last spring.

At this point I opted to go back to the summit and send my wife an inReach message. And also call Cathy with the Forest Service, who had left me a message. Dave continued out the ridge a bit more where he said the views were even better....

Trailhead
We were feeling a little spit, so time to head back. Except that Cathy had explained how to find the trail. It took us a bit, but we did find it. Here's my hint--- Trailhead

From that point, if you go in the direction Dave has indicated, you'll see some poles used to hang dead deer carcasses lashed to trees, and just past that you'll see trail work.

OK, the occasional spitting from the sky is picking up. Time to Turbo back to the truck. Before we had ridden a mile, we had to stop and put on rain jackets. It never rained all that hard; just enough to make the cow poop on the road tacky enough to stick to our tires such that we had pretty disgusting shins by the time we got back to the truck.

Trailhead
Map Trailhead
Dave's blog Trailhead

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