Day 1127 – Underestimate at your Own Peril
Yesterday [Saturday, May 3] I decided to go shoot some pictures around and above Arrowrock reservoir. I departed Boise at 2:30 in the afternoon planning to return not later than 7:30.
Once on site i stopped at numerous pull-offs to shoot some of the scenes i’d failed to shoot the last time i was up here. The light and clouds (hooray, clouds!) were pretty good.
Many of the “campsites” were taken, but i managed to find several unoccupied and took advantage of the opportunity to get off the road and spend more than a few moments exploring the immediate area. There are basically two modes of shooting in this environment: macro and micro. I find i’m either shooting big vistas at one end of the zoom range or pretty tight close ups at the other end of the range; almost nothing in-between.
After a while i made my way to the turn off on FR 377 and headed “up” away from the reservoir. The Idaho Gazetteer shows FR 377 as an unassuming solid red line proceeding north-northwest in a nearly straight line. It then turns west and intersects Hwy 21 south of Idaho City. Keep in mind the total distance from Boise never exceeds about 40 miles.
Starting out everything was fine… the road was in good condition ascending at a leisurely rate toward the obligatory ridge. I had to negotiate a few trucks coming the other way, but there were no issues. Within a few miles of leaving the reservoir the road became steeper and downed trees became a concern. Fortunately somebody with a chain saw had been through and cleared enough to keep the road passable, but only just at two points.
Steeper now and heading into burned regions the road narrowed as the ascent went on. Distance becomes deceiving because you’re driving (on the good stretches) at not more than 20 mph. Snow in the shadows and gullies was still feet deep and the melt runoff made the road muddy.
Steeper and steeper. Shifted to 4 Lo and began to crawl along, picking and choosing the best way to miss the ruts. Switchbacks started. The hairpins in the shadows concealed snowdrifts and mud. Fresh tire tracks through the snow encouraged continuing on, but there really wasn’t much choice since turning around was out of the question. First two snow banks proved no problem aside from a sickening lurch to the right (toward the massive drop off down the side of the hill).
More switchbacks; was i still on the right road? Another snowdrift. The fresh tracks were there but evidence the previous vehicle had dragged its undercarriage was unmistakeable. I crawled forward into the snow and felt the vibration of the floorboards as the little truck crunched along and dragged its belly. Up ahead i could see the ridge and within a few moments arrived at the obligatory crossing of the ridge road and the road i was on. This was the crossing of FR 203 and FR 377, only about 5 miles from where i’d departed the reservoir what seemed a lifetime ago.
But it was all downhill from here; this was the ridge, the highpoint of FR 377. All i had to do was put the little truck in gear and let gravity do the work. I could see the road down below as it snaked into the trees. What i could see was clear and dry.
Five minutes into the descent i encountered snow drift after snow drift and each one seemed deeper than the last. The road was barely wide enough for my little truck and there were washed out sections i thought would bury my front bumper. But I kept going, slowly, 4 lo, a slow walking pace. Then i rounded one more blind turn and saw two dirt bikes, two atvs, a crowd of people, and a chevy 4-door pickup buried to its doors in a snow drift completely blocking the road.
I’ll conclude this tomorrow. I want to try and contact the chevy’s owner, get the full endgame.