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Payette National Forest July 18-22

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  • #16
    Next it was up through Secesh Meadows and into Warren (the old mining town which still has a few year-round residents, but looks like a cross between a wild west movie set, and a ghost-town), up to Warren Summit, then back down into the valley on the South Fork of the Salmon River.

    I'll spare you the details, it's mostly just slow going on dirt roads which are fairly well maintained. Secesh has a lot of pretty cool properties and lots, it was all part of the land my Grandpa had purchased back after WWII, sub-divided, then sold off (as part of the Secesh Company he formed). So, in some way you could say my family used to own that whole little area. Here is one of the cool sights you get in a place like Secesh:

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    I completely failed to take any pics in Warren, but I think Raptor did, plus it looks the same as the pics above in this thread with my old Range Rover parked next to the Baum Shelter. I really should have put a GoPro on or something for the ride through town. There are some cool buildings like the old Dance Hall and whatnot that are still standing. But the whole town is roughly a city block, that's it. Some of the properties have old mining equipment and trucks sitting around, it's like a living museum.

    I did manage to take my obligatory Warren Summit pics:

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    From there it's something like a 9 mile decent from ~8k feet back down to ~3k feet where the cabin and the campground we were headed for, Shiefer Campground, sit right along the South Fork. I told Vojto that I was planning to drop it in 4 low just to control speed and be able to use the exhaust brake (it doesn't engage below 2nd gear when the torque converter locks, so in 2wd or 4 high you're not going fast enough to hit 2nd gear with converter lockup). I think he though I was being a little ridiculous, until he saw the roads and the cliffs, lol.

    It's about this point in the trip where you really realize how far out you are. In pure mileage it's not allllll that far from McCall, but really you're hours and hours out dirt roads from electricity, cell-phone coverage, etc. It used to be even more on the dirt, I remember when the pavement stopped somewhere just a few miles up along the west shore of Payette Lake. And even the GPS in my truck (that I haven't ever updated since I put it in there sometime around 2012) showed the dirt road starting probably 6-7 miles sooner than it does now. Hopefully the pavement never goes any further.

    Okay, off to a meeting, more next time...
    -TJ

    "You can lead a horse to water... but you can't make it dune"

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    • #17
      One more at the Summit without my truck:

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      From Warren Summit as I mentioned it's a long decent with twisting roads and YYYYuge drop-offs. I put my truck in 4 low, shift it manually and use the exhaust brake so I rarely, if ever have to use the service brakes. We got down without any problems, only having to make room to pass a few folks on adventure bikes and the like. It's always a little stressful in that section because it could be a long day if you come across another person towing a trailer. The good thing with this tiny trailer is we could just unload the Teryx, turn the trailer around by hand, then use the Teryx to drive the trailer wherever we could to get it out of the way. Still, it's a PITA so it's always nice when that doesn't come up.

      We cruised on by the "driveway" to the family cabin, and on down to our destination: Shiefer campground. It took us something like an hour to get all setup, but we weren't in any big rush.

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      We definitely brought way too much stuff for just 2 people and what originally was only going to be 2 nights (more on that later). But this was my first time tent camping in a long, long time so I over-packed. I've stayed at the cabin plenty, and you're sleeping outdoors basically when you're there (on "sleeping porches" not in the cabin) but you still have lots of supplies, a fridge, a stove and things like that which make packing much easier. This was the first time really being just out with whatever we brought, so I over-did it by a ton. That said, camp couldn't have been in a nicer spot and we were more than comfortable.
      Last edited by tjZ06; 07-24-2019, 01:07 PM.
      -TJ

      "You can lead a horse to water... but you can't make it dune"

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      • #18
        Sounds like an adventure just getting to your cabin. Really cool to go through a town your grandfather founded.
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        • #19
          That night (Friday night) we cooked up some sausages and heated up some chili and had a nice dinner with a few drinks, and then crashed out pretty early. It was staying light past 10pm so it was still a bit light out and a little warm when I first went to crash out, but at that point we had more or less been up 36+ hours so it wasn't too hard to fall asleep. We obviously packed all of our food and coolers and smelly stuff (soap and whatnot) back into the cab of the truck before crashing, even the garbage bag went into the truck and I slept with my G21SF with me - but we had zero problems from wildlife. This time of year it's still too hot down at this elevation (~3k feet) for most of the bigger animals to be down this way.

          Sat AM I was up before 6am. I didn't wake up because I had set an alarm, and the sun was barely coming up so that wasn't it either. I had just gotten a solid ~8hrs of sleep and I think I was excited for the day. I started the campfire back up, got some coffee brewed, then Vojto got up and got a killer breakfast going. I had brought stuff to do a sort of Denver Scramble type thing with ham, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and even some jalapeno going in and of course cheese on it at the end. I got one pic mid-way through cooking:

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          It came out awesome, and we really ate great the entire trip.

          After breakfast we loaded up the Teryx and set out for Pilot Peak. I'll get into more detail about the Teryx in that thread, but recall it was having issues with running hot and/or having the belt light flash. Going to Pilot would be the perfect test. It's only 18-something miles: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/45.1...45.1739802!3e0 but it gains nearly 5k feet of elevation (I thought it was over 9k feet, but it's actually "only" just over 8k... but camp was around 3k). It was probably noon-ish when we set off, and maybe somewhere in the low/mid 80s. We had a big cooler packed with lots of cold beverages and lunch (salami and cheeses), chairs, the chainsaw, some extra fuel, a toolkit (the one I usually have in Melissa's RZR that has lots of tools, tow strap, siphon, jumper cables, jump box, first aid kit, etc.) and some other misc crap plus us two big boys so I knew it'd be a good test of the Teryx.

          We got about 5-6 miles out of camp before I got the damn flashing belt light. I was definitely feeling a bit defeated, but it is such beautiful country I decided to just limp it to a good shady spot and we kicked back with a cold one for probably 10 minutes. When we got back in, we decided to press on and see how far we could get. This time I think we got another 4-5 miles, then the same damn flashing belt light struck again.

          Now, I know what belt slip feels like, and I'm 100% confident the bet was NOT slipping. I also know what belt slip smells like, and there was zero belt smell. So WTF? Well, this time right before the belt light came on I happened to notice that the speedo started reading 0 MPH even though we were still cruising along at ~20 MPH. That's odd. I know the Teryx has a belt protection system, so when it is in gear and it sees higher than idle RPM from the motor but 0 MPH I think it's freaking out the belt protection system and putting it into the limp mode. Interesting.

          But why is it doing that? My best guess right now is the Vehicle Speed Sensor is just starting to fail. Still, this only seems to happen on long uphill grades, load and heat clearly still play a part in this somehow. I don't know if perhaps it's a case of the VSS starting to fail and being pushed over the edge by heat soak in the "doghouse" after a long period of hotter running, but that's my only guess at this point.

          We had to stop a lot of times, and we often thought about turning around. It was probably a bit risky pushing on, but we knew we could coast back down nearly all of the trail we'd hit so far. So we pushed on, and finally made it to Pilot Peak. The view is just amazing, and my shitty photography doesn't even begin to do it justice. You can see for what feels like forever in every direction.

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          (In this pic I was trying to capture Hettinger Ranch way off in the distance. I think more modern stuff calls it the "Southfork Wilderness Ranch" but here's a little info on it: http://southforkwildernessranch.com/history.php I've always known it as Hettinger though, and interestingly it's hard to find any history on it by that name. The settlers of the Ranch were related to Three Finger Smith, whose grave site we stopped at and hopefully Vojto will post pics of.)

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          I even kinda-sorta got a panorama shot, I think:




          -TJ

          "You can lead a horse to water... but you can't make it dune"

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          • #20
            We hung out at Pilot Peak for a bit, and talked to the lookout on station there for a while. Then we headed a mile or so back down the trail to an unofficial hunting camp we had seen on the side of the road for lunch. There are little camps like this all throughout the area, and I can only image being at that elevation in Oct or even later in the year for hunting. As always I failed at getting pics so hopefully Vojto has a few. On the way back down we never had to stop, and only pulled off once to mark the GPS spot of another camp we'd like to stay at when we return in Sept. Even though I think the VSS is part of the issue, heat and load absolutely play a part in whatever is going on with the Teryx since we were fine for the whole ride back down to camp.

            Once we were back at camp we were just sitting around, having a beer and some of my family showed up. They were headed to the cabin to stay, but you have to go past the driveway to turn around and get into it (it's like a 120+ degree turn off the road), so they just went the extra mile or two since they knew I'd be at Shiefer. Keep in mind, this was Saturday and originally we were going to leave on Sunday to head to Meridian, then drive home from Meridian Monday since we both needed to work on Tues. Our plan was to take it easy and go to bed early on Sat, but my family was able to convince us to stay an extra night, and come join them at the cabin on Sat night.

            We loaded up a cooler with all our fixins for dinner that night, plenty of beers (and some vodkies) and headed down. Dinner that night was dry-aged Ribeyes, so Vojto got them going on the BBQ at the cabin. Again, I suck and didn't get a pic, but there is no better "kitchen" in the entire WORLD than that BBQ. You're standing there, looking out at the bend in the South Fork of the Salmon and the natural beach it makes, with the sharp hillside just beyond the river and it's just the most peaceful, wonderful thing possible. Vojto is quite the chef as most of you know, so he whipped up a mushroom Parmesan cream sauce to go with the steaks that were cooked over coals, then pan fried with butter. I kid you not, this was one of the best steaks I've ever had. Sure, the location helped, but seriously it was insanely good:

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            We hung out around the fire 'til about midnight, then took the Teryx back up to Shiefer and called it a night. I got amazing sleep again, and woke up around 9am so happy to have a "bonus day" out there. We had our breakfast, then cruised back to the cabin to use the phone to let people know we were staying another day (there is a land-line phone out at the cabin). My family was hanging out on the beach mostly, and some random kayaks even stopped by:

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            After hanging out a bit, we went back up to camp to pack up and head to a nice little meadow I knew of to do some freedom'ing.

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            After a full dose of freedom, we went back to camp and hung out for a while. We decided to jump in the river to cool and clean off, and man I don't know why the hell we weren't doing that every day. It was so nice and refreshing, and honestly I felt like a million bucks when I got out. Then we got a little fire going and cooked up some garlic-butter marinated chicken that Vojto made into a nice chicken caesar salad for us:

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            (We even had some stuffed Jalapenos we did over the fire, this pic was the "before", they didn't last long enough for an "after" pic)

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            After dinner we hung out around the fire, but called it a reasonably early night around 11pm since we now had to do the entire drive back to Lincoln in one day the next day, on top of packing up. We were up around 7 Monday morning, and took our time having breakfast (fried eggs on toasted bagels with ham, turkey and cheese as one desired) and a few cups of coffee. Neither of us wanted to leave, so we were really dragging our feet. Still, around 9:30 am or maybe even 10 we started packing up. We were rolling out by 11am, and made our way back up over the summit and into Warren. We stopped at the Baum shelter and got some tshirts and hoodies, then made our stop at the Warren dump, and finally kept going on out to pavement. We had to air back up once we hit pavement, and even with my nice Viar compressor it takes damn near an hour to take 4 35" tires from 35psi to 75psi.

            Next we drove into McCall (taking the route around the eastern side of the lake again) and stopped at Ridleys to grab some more swag and some lunch. It was about 4pm (keep in mind, Idaho is 1hr ahead of CA) by the time we were leaving McCall... it was going to be a long day. The drive was pleasantly uneventful other than a crazy lightning storm as we drove in to Winnemucca that was pretty cool to watch. We only caught a little bit of the rain, not even enough to clean all the dust and dirt off our stuff so it wasn't a big deal. We finally rolled into Lincoln about 2am our time (so, 3am Idaho time, or about 20 hours after we had gotten up that day), threw everything from the truck and trailer into either Vojto's car or my garage, parked the whole truck 'n trailer with Teryx on my RV pad behind the gate, and called it a night about 3am.

            The two driving days were certainly long days, but 1000000000000000000% worth it. This was probably one of the most relaxing, enjoyable trips I've had in a long, long, looooooooong time. It would have only been better if our ladies and some of y'all could have made it too. I was surprisingly comfortable and totally fine sleeping in a tent after all of these years Glamping. I can't wait to do it again... or maybe build an "overlanding" rig.

            So, who is joining us when we go back in late September!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
            -TJ

            "You can lead a horse to water... but you can't make it dune"

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            • #21
              Originally posted by L.R.S. View Post
              Sounds like an adventure just getting to your cabin. Really cool to go through a town your grandfather founded.
              To be fair, it's not much of a town, and it was settled to some extent long before he came around it. He just happened to have the opportunity to buy up the land rights to the whole thing.
              -TJ

              "You can lead a horse to water... but you can't make it dune"

              Comment


              • #22
                TJ did a really nice write up of our trip, so I won't recreate the same stuff here. Following are all the pictures I took, that may or may not be the same ones as TJ has in the write up. There are a few from the cabin and the "kitchen" he mentioned. Although I didn't get any from the outfitter hunting camp, other than some high alpine flowers that were in bloom. Onto the pictures, enjoy.

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                And finally from the road in...

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                Do not follow cattle truck on the highway...this whole side of the truck stunk.

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                • #23
                  Warren, Idaho.

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                  • #24
                    Area in and around the cabin:

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                    In the following picture, you can see the kitchen cook area. The bbq is bottom left facing the bend in the river.
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                    Food prep area:
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                    • #25
                      Pilot Peak lookout and the road up to it:

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                      • #26
                        Camp..

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                        • #27
                          And lastly, the cemetery sign TJ mentioned

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                          • #28
                            Bad ass. Looks like a great weekend get away! Curious what the temps were during the day?

                            Bet you guys saw no one out and about when you went on your rides. Talk about spooky if you get lost back there... Was the fire ranger dude in his cabin at the top of the peak and let you take a tour?

                            Also, that tan stippled glock with the light and red dot isn’t cali complaint, so if you want to sell it I’ll add it to my airsoft collection of pistols TJ

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by nickc313 View Post
                              Bad ass. Looks like a great weekend get away! Curious what the temps were during the day?

                              Bet you guys saw no one out and about when you went on your rides. Talk about spooky if you get lost back there... Was the fire ranger dude in his cabin at the top of the peak and let you take a tour?

                              Also, that tan stippled glock with the light and red dot isn’t cali complaint, so if you want to sell it I’ll add it to my airsoft collection of pistols TJ
                              I'd say Friday and Sat were in the lower 80s, maybe mid. Sunday was a little hotter, maybe mid 80s. I'm not sure how cold it got at night, in the middle of the night it was def chilly but it wasn't enough to be a bother.

                              Yes, the ranger was up there, but we didn't tour his little lookout. We didn't want to end up stuck talking to him all day, lol.

                              Nothing about that G17 isn't compliant, according to the guy that owns it... who surely isn't me. It's mostly Zev stuff on that one, along with the custom shaped and stippled frame. The G21 is done similar with a red-dot too (both are Trijicon RMRs) and the guy that owns it has a 2nd barrel and recoil spring to shoot 10mm with the G21 (in addition to the standard .45 ACP).
                              -TJ

                              "You can lead a horse to water... but you can't make it dune"

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                              • #30
                                Looks like a great time. I love Idaho. Spent the majority of my childhood vacationing around the Twin Falls, Jerome and Stanley area. My parents eventually retired to Jerome but returned to so cal to be with the grandkids a few years back.

                                Too bad September is jam packed with LA County Fair OT, otherwise I’d be all over this trip.

                                Andrew

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