Saturday, May 08, 2021

I could really use some pavement right about now

Will said to me after we climbed out of the Reservoir basin, "I could really use some pavement right about now." From the start of the Blackfoot Reservoir access road to this point, we had ridden 15 miles of some of the toughest gravel road in our lives. Granted, we have ridden everything from singletrack, dual track, old farm roads, and rights of way, but none of that compares to the roughness the gravel on this road.

Sometimes you would find a smoother patch and ride that or in the shoulder but that was more than not sandy and worse to pedal on. At one point I was riding trail that paralleled the road for a bit but that didn't last long, either.

Our ride started from Greys Lake National Refuge. We parked at this very small Mormon Church. There must have been 15 to 20 parking spots - that's how small this church was.  We started riding into a cold wind and we had to cover 7 miles of pavement to first dirt, and in this case the first climb.

The climb up Henry's Cutoff was a category 3 hill with an average grade of 8% and a max around 13%

Halfway up I got overheated and had to remove my jacket

Will nearing the summit of the pass

The view looking back towards Caribou Mountain

Little did I know about the geology of the area till afterwards but the crags at the top of this pass were all volcanic

Once over the pass the view in the Blackfoot Reservoir basin was spectacular

I put my vest back on for the descent and it was good thing because it was fast and cold

The gravel here was pretty good

The shock came when we turned onto the Reservoir Basin road

At the start of the Reservoir Basin road looking south

That hill top is actually a cinder code from extinct volcano

And thus began a slog northwards

It felt and looked like we were riding on Mars

The terrain was absolutely baren

The second hill was the climb out of the Reservoir Basin

Another Cat 3 hill climbing 500 feet for almost 2 miles with an average grade of 6% and max of 13%

We had lunch here, peanut butter and jelly

then continued on the road, that was straight as an arrow, for 3 miles

Turning east onto Cranes Flat Road the gravel got finer and we were able to increase the pace with the wind at our backs

We stopped so Will could adjust his saddle and I checked out the volcanic rocks that lay everywhere

Then we were riding again. 

The only sign of civilization was a trailer home near a holding area for cattle

We did see some cowboys, they were wearing chaps and western hats, working on a fence

Finally turning south on Greys Lake Road we felt like we were back in civilization

but the road was still gravel

It was still comforting to see some farms with signs of people in them

Finally, Will got his wish, only after another 30 miles

60 miles and 52 of those miles was all gravel

Afterwards, we drove down to Soda Springs to see the geyser

It was just bubbling

But the mineral deposits were exciting to look at

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