Chapter Rides & Projects 2022

February 13

A beautiful day illuminated by brilliant sunshine greeted TRBCH riders at Hellsgate State Park Sunday. Twelve friends were carried up hill and down, then into the river, by horses that appeared eager to shed winter doldrums and get back on the trail. These friends enjoyed a chilly ride and were on their way home in time to watch the Super Bowl.

Annual Chili Ride

March 13

Great weather and a great turnout made this a fantastic day to ride, socialize, and enjoy the potluck. We had 23 riders and five members that came to enjoy the day. Two families became members and we hope to see them on future activities.

Cummings Creek Trail Work Project

April 2-3

We got a late start Saturday, but ended up with nine members and 14 head of stock heading up the trail. We split into two crews and felt like we really accomplished a lot until we headed back at three o’clock.  What we did looked like a road compared to what it was before we started.

Three of us camped out for the night at Spring Campground and had arrangements to head back up Sunday. We had seven members and 10 head of stock and again split into two work groups. At two o’clock, we were worn out and decided to ride up the trail to see how much more work was needed. There is still a lot to clear, so hope we can take on another section next year. Thanks to everyone that showed up and worked so hard.

Monthly Chapter Ride

April 16

Charlie Creek up Asotin Creek is a great place to ride early in the year as there is normally no snow on the trail. The weather forecast was for possible rain, so we were prepared. We had a good turnout considering the weather and it was a great ride as long as you overlooked all the burned trees and concentrated on how green everything was. As we saddled up to return to our trailers it started snowing great big flakes, very pretty. As we got close to our trailers it switched to drizzling rain. Then as we unsaddled it cut loose, what perfect timing and a nice day on the trail

Fordyce Trail Clearing Project

April 24

We had a great turnout, 14 members for this work project. We welcome four new members to our project that joined at the Chili Ride. It helps that this area is the best area near the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley to ride. We all knew there would be lots of trees down after the fires that devastated the area.

We split into two crews, one going up Fordyce Trail, the others up Cabin Gulch Trail. The crew on Cabin finished around 1:30, and stopped for lunch. We headed on to the top of Fordyce and headed down hoping to meet the other crew. In about half an hour a great sign as Lorelei’s dog came trotting up the trail.

There is still some brushing to do, but both trails are open as of April 24th. Anyone riding the area should consider bringing a saw as we anticipate more trees coming down.

Thank you everyone for the great job! Welcome our new members and thanks for helping!

John’s Creek Work Project

June 12-13

John’s Creek Trailhead is located on the South Fork of the Clearwater River on the way to Elk City. We arrived shortly after 9:00 am with a crew of eight, a great turnout considering the forecast was for rain both days. We split into two crews with plans to meet in the middle if everything went well. There were more trees down than in the past, so we did not finish. Three members had to leave early.  

We met back at the trailhead at 5:00pm and headed on to below Leggett Creek Campground for the night, it is 14.5 miles past John’s Creek Trailhead. We had a great Potluck Sunday night with fried chicken, potato salad, baked beans, vegetables, fruit], and chocolate chip cookies for dessert. We tore down camp and moved back to the trailhead to finish the work. Lost one more worker as he was not feeling good. The four of us headed out together sling shotting with saws up the trail and finished shortly after 2:00 pm.

A nice ride back to the trailhead, dinner in Grangeville and a couple hour ride home, feeling good about our accomplishments. We had much better weather than the members that stayed home, as it only rained hard on us for about 30 minutes for the entire time with some drizzle off and on.

Dough Creek Adopt-A-Cabin Project

June 15

Dough Creek is located in IDFG Craig Mountain WMA. Six TRBCH members rode to Dough Creek Cabin June 15-16, fulfilling an annual commitment as the Adopt A Cabin pledge. Only two trees had to be cut to get to the cabin. After a pleasant ride to the cabin everyone worked to clean the cabin, wash windows, pull weeds, cut thistles, weed eat to make a fire break, and spray sealer on the deck. After camping overnight we rode thru Chimney Creek and Middle Creek to Corral Creek then back to the trailhead. The creek crossing in Chimney Cr was a real mess. After a little manual labor and saw work, we got through fine. We enjoyed good weather for the rides.

June Chapter Ride

Deer Creek Falls

June 25

 Seven TRBCH members met at Larabee Meadow trailhead to ride to Deer Creek Falls Saturday. After review of maps we set off under bright sunshine. Our goal was to ride on IF&G ground around a fenced area and on to the falls. We had some excitement crossing the horse gate then continued across the bright green meadow heavily populated with pretty flowers, across a small creek then passed through a black pine thicket - weaving through the trees. The meandering stream is really beautiful in this area. We crossed the creek beside a collapsed bridge then began a wandering search for a path around a locked gate that is scheduled to have a horse gate installed during the month of August. Up a draw, around a long ridge, down the hill, back up some more, around some timber, over a few windfalls, stop to watch three bull elk move away from us. After bushwhacking crosscountry we found lunchtime. I think we also had agreement that Steve couldn’t find bootlaces in a pair of boots. We decided to abandon our search for an alternative path to the falls and find a way back to the trailhead, blindly riding towards Swamp Creek Road, a limited access road. After finding that road the return to the trailhead was uneventful. A ride to Deer Creek Falls remains elusive to Steve, this is not his first failed attempt to return to the falls after visiting it about 18 years ago. This was an enjoyable ride over hill and dell, an adventure.

Autry Campground around Mountain View 

Sunday, July 10th

We enjoyed beautiful views of the canyon, rode across gentle benches covered with belly high green grass, through scattered pine forest on a beautiful warm sunny day. We sat quietly and watched a very large herd of elk (cows, calves and bulls) slowly rise out of their beds and gently mosey around the hillside - wow!  Horses and mules carried riders safely along another enjoyable ride.

Chapter Ride Feather Creek

Aug 13th

Submitted by Steve Cooper

Seven TRBCH members rode the longer Feather Creek loop August 13th. Wonderful warm sunny day riding in the shade of dense forest, the grade of this trail is kind to mounts while the trail tread makes the ride really comfortable.  There are very few viewing vistas because of the trees. We encountered just one tree across the trail - it was bigger then the little saw we packed was capable of cutting- we rode up around it, not real easy but these riders did fine (although one rider displayed a very unique riding style I choose not to try). No pizza from this ride.

The loop is reported to be 10 miles but Lisa’s phone app said it was 14 miles.

There is a narrow pack bridge with rails at the start of the trail, all the horses crossed it but they were happier to cross on the way out then starting. There are several bridges along the trail that none of the horses (or Pat’s mule) had problems  with.

We stopped for a quick lunch at the top of the mountain where there was a nice place to tie our horses.

There was obviously lots of work completed to keep this trail open, I believe the Palouse BCH Chapter has maintained this trail for a number of years, Thank you.

Chapter Work Project Gospel Hump

Part 1

July 29 - August 1

Steve Cooper gave a big “thank you” to the membership for supporting him as he has improved his back country skills.  The Corral Creek Trailhead area is a very pleasant place to ride and there are good roads to the trail head.  The trail was improved a great deal with our hard work.  He felt that this work will be a great benefit to others to enjoy this trail.  He encouraged chapter members to participate in work projects because of the benefits of better friendships and the great feelings of accomplishment. There was a tremendous number of trees down on this project we worked on July 29-31. We did not finish clearing all the trails but went back and finished in August.

Chapter Work Project Gospel Hump

Part 2

Aug 24-30

Submitted by Steve Cooper

Three TRBCH members returned to the Gospel/Hump Wilderness August 24-30 to complete trail work started in July. Horse trailers were parked at Bentz Cow Camp, trucks with camp gear/supplies were driven up Sawyer  Ridge Road to a nice camp spot right on the wilderness border and the four head of stock ponied to the camp.

We spent most of the first four days using crosscuts, hand saws and an axe as we cleared windfalls from the trail. The last bit of day four and the morning of day five we worked in the area a chainsaw could be used - oh my, what a difference.

Bruce’s two mules were a joy to be around, Rods horse was as reliable as usual and my horse Eddie was excellent. Its always nice to be working with good stock - they spent a lot of time tied together in a string as we would work along the trail then one of us would walk and move them up to where we were working.

Bruce spotted a bear in a big berry patch. three days in a row, each day it was closer to camp - the last day he said the bear had my sleeping bag.

We had a good camping experience. The first night lighting storms started at bedtime showering us with rain and great lighting strikes - the thunder would roll on like a train passing through camp. The rest of the days were sunny with cool nights.

Nights were so dark and quiet. When I would lay awake at night I could hear the bell on the high line dinging occasionally, hear a tent zipper open then close when another camper would get up, hear one of the mules paw, see the stars shining unbelievably bright, hear snoring from another tent, listen to the gurgling of the little creek and hear horses nicker when the first camper would get up. The cup of hot cholate warming cold fingers was welcome early in the morning. The smell of breakfast really signaled the start of each glorious day.

Bruce and Rod were really good working the crosscut together - Steve and Rod were not coordinated - Rod kept coaching and Steve kept screwing up. Next year we’ll do better.

We spent two days pleasure riding - first to Marble Point (and around), nice ride - second to Slate Lake, a really enjoyable 5 hour round trip ride to a pretty lake on nice trail.

I hope the Chapter returns to maintain the loop ride in 2023.

Chapter Ride to Deer Creek Falls

Sept. 24

Awesome ride with the Twin Rivers Backcountry Horsemen today out to Deer Creek Falls! Approx 8 mile round trip with a lunch break at the end of the trail above the falls. Ran into some rowdy side by side peeps who looked like lots of fun. All the horses did really great. 

Chapter Ride near Kruze Meadows

Oct 9

9 TRBCH members rode together on a bright sunny autumn day from Kruze Meadow traihead north into the Lake Creek drainage then west to overlook the Madden Creek and Captain John Creek canyons which drain to the Snake River.  We cut more then a handful of fallen trees blocking our path.

We shared lunch in a grassy field bathed in sunshine and delighted by forest scents.

We resumed our ride south along the canyon rim on a fireline constructed to contain last year’s huge wildland fire.  The views looking into the canyon are memorable.

9 riders, 10 horses and four dogs completed this loop ride with no “pizza” event. A fork along the trail was missed early in the ride which resulted in riding the planned route in a backyard pattern, such an insignificant detail.

Lick Creek Gate Closing Ride

November 27

At least the chili was hot! A short ride up Fordyce Trail for the annual gate closing ride.