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Still Too Hot!

Still Too Hot!

We just left the scorching hot and earthquake infested area around Helena, Montana and headed for what we expected to be a much cooler climate around Orofino, Idaho. A funny thing happened on the way to Idaho, the damn heat was already there! Who woulda thunk!!!!

The incredibly gorgeous little town of Orofino, Idaho was in the middle of a heat wave with the temps reaching the 100* plus range. But since some of the trail riding around there is so good I figured I could wait it out for a few days. The days turned into a few weeks so I did the only thing I could do. Go Riding and shooting! In between, I helped string up a bit of barbed wire fence and cut up some wood with the now famous #33 Ton wood splitter!  If I had access to a wood splitter like that when I was young and never ran out of energy I believe whoever was naïve enough to let me use it would have gone broke supplying the gasoline. It is like having a CR 500 that has been over bored, ported, the head milled, a bigger carb and race gas! There is so much power I catch myself laughing as I open the throttle and hydraulics. Nothing can stop me, just like the old days! The limiting factor seemed to be when I ran out of DRY wood to split, it seems the correct way is to wait for the wood to dry out first and then split it. No wonder Paul Bunyan used an ax, if he had used one of these he would have run out of forests!

Having gained experience once again in the art of splitting wood, I figured maybe I could cut some wood while out on a trail ride. Trail clearing is always needed if we want to maintain the trail system. So I purchased a small STIHL chainsaw that I could fit into a large backpack. So my buddy Jess (aka hose-b, because he calls me Jose’) and I spent a few days doing rides with my new little Stihl and his very aggressive Stihl hand saw. So we loaded our equipment, saw, pre mixed gas, bar oil, water, food and a few tools and went out riding just looking for a tree obstructing a trail. I carried my equipment on my KTM 500 xcw and Hose-b carried his on his………………wife’s bike. Luckily, Becky has a dirt bike and is such a nice girl that she will loan it to Jess whenever he has friends come over to ride. LOL!

We ride and cut as we go.  Jess is showing me things to pay attention to as I learn to cut with the chainsaw. I have used them before but nowhere near the experience Jess has with saws. I learn very quickly to take nothing for granted and don’t go faster than my limited ability. Pretty much like riding a motorcycle! On one day of cutting we do our best to keep track of how many trees/cuts we make. I am astonished when Hose-b tells me we cut out 42 trees or limb blockages. Not bad for two guys in a single day of volunteer work. I can’t wait to come back and ride those trails.

In the next few days we do a little rifle sighting, shotgun shooting and mouse trapping. It seems the hot weather must have stirred up the mouse population cause I have seen a couple in and around the mobile ghetto (our Raptor 5th wheel). So now it’s on! I set up a couple of mouse traps and prepare to annihilate the little vermin. On my first attempt I get the Freakin Houdini of the mice. He steals my bait and doesn’t trip the trap!  Oh No you didn’t!  We will just see about that. So I reset the next night and make sure I wedge the bait so it has to be yanked on to get it. Also I back it up with a sticky trap in the same area.  Also I plan to wait up watching TV until the little sucker comes back and I hear the SNAP of the trap. Then it happens……. Cheryl is shaking me awake telling me I have something in my trap.  I check and sure enough there is ol’ Houdini. Gotchya! Now maybe I can relax.

The next morning, I check the sticky trap and have his back up man caught too!  Good now it should be all clear. Then I find the bag of chips the little suckers had found and chewed a hole in and were making regular grocery runs at night.  So I set up using the chips and caught the rest of the gang! Took a few days but I think the word went out around the “hood” that the dude in the mobile ghetto was on the war path. They moved on. Victory!

So just about the time I thin the mouse herd I am thinking it is time to move on to our next destination until Hose-b informs me he has a trip planned for us to a place called Buffalo Hump. He has gone camping there and really seems to enjoy it, they shuttle their four wheelers there, unload and ride in to an area known as Buffalo Hump and spend the night. I think, ok, I will ride my KTM and go along since I have never been a four-wheel kind of guy. Oh No, not a chance Hose-b and his buddy Phil have borrowed me a four wheeled Suzuki 750 so I can have the whole experience. So we load up and head out with each of us on our own four wheeler. The area called Buffalo Hump we ride up into is a very scenic area with National forest, private property and ends up running into a Wilderness that eventually impedes any further progress unless you are equipped to continue on foot.

The ride is fun, the views are incredible and the weather is just about perfect. We spend the day exploring our way to the camp site Hose-b and Phil select and see several very expensive high end houses perched on sections of private property. Amazing they could get all that building material up the only access road available considering it took us a half day on 4-wheel drive machines. One house is perched on a peak made up of mostly rock and so high that the only thing equal in elevation to it is a Fire Lookout several hills away. I notice that the house has several very heavily grounded lightning rods placed on it. Hmmmmm, I would have to be very selective when visiting there.

We make camp, set up tents and have a bite to eat at a ridge overlooking a small lake probably a thousand feet below us. The view is amazing and we can see forever in almost any direction. We notice a column of smoke several ridges away and my estimation is that it is about 15 to 20 miles from us. As dusk approaches I can see the flames from the fire and it is still about 20 miles away. I am thinking flames that high at that distance gotta be a couple of hundred feet high! WOW, I have never witnessed anything like that before. But it is getting late so I finally climb into the tent to sleep. When I wake about 4am I try to be quiet and climb out of the tent with my water bottle and pop tarts to watch the sunrise. I eat, drink and watch the sun come up. There is a HUGE cliff drop off less than 100yds away. Wouldn’t it be fun to roll boulders down the cliff face!  I could see and hear them as they gained speed toward the lake if they took just the right bounce. Boy, I had a BIG TIME rolling rocks for at least a half hour. They would bounce, bash and crash their way toward the lake if I got lucky and got just the right bounce. It was like being a little kid again.

Then the little kid looked up the hill and saw the house with the lightning rods again. It looked like it was about maybe a mile and a half up hill, two at the most. I wondered how long it would take to walk there. About 15 minutes into the walk I came across and old seldom used 4 wheeler path, so I followed it and it led to the house on the hill. The house was all locked up and no one was there so I just admired the view, took some breathtaking photos and returned on the same path. I figured since it was a seldom used trail for a 4 wheeler it must be an alternate route for escape in case of fire or some other emergency. About half way back down I was on the SAME path and came across a pile of poop I did not recognize right on the trail I had just come up on. I have seen, coyote, deer, elk, bear and other kinds of poop and know what they look like. It was very fresh and looked a lot like a man did it! I glanced around nervously and then thought wait a minute there is no toilet paper and no people foot prints!  Being unsure and having left my 9mm in the tent I figured the best thing for me to do was to quicken my stride and be acutely aware of my surroundings.  Good thing it was downhill! As I made my way back to camp I was watching over my shoulder constantly. As soon as I got back I asked Jess and Phil what in the world could poop the size of a large man and in the same configuration, they both answered….....a Wolf.   Great, I am out as a rock rolling, sightseeing, novice camping, beginner woodsman and I am Wolf Bait on my first solo excursion.  Next time I will have my knife, my 9mm, and sling a shotgun.  That wasn’t no mouse!

We make our way back to civilization and I am ready to load up and get back to a motocross track where I usually just dislocate my shoulder or something! It’s safer.


‘the best things in life aren’t things’

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