Moon Pass Adventure

Sunday afternoon, we decided to go exploring. I did some quick checking on road conditions and found that Moon Pass (leading from Wallace over to Avery) was open. Optimistic that the snowmelt would let us do some exploring we headed out in the jeep.

Waiting to go for a ride

Moon Pass Road was really dusty so we decided to try and take the scenic bypass route up higher into the mountains. Unfortunately, there was still enough snow on the road to make the going tricky in places and, eventually, too deep to go further at all. It made for a kind of long detour but it was certainly pretty up in the trees.

Returning to the main road, we headed up to the pass. Someone had plowed the road leaving some decent sized snow berms along the road. I’m not sure if it was the elevation or the snow but the air temperature definitely dropped! At the top of the pass, we stopped to talk to a couple of people on quads. We asked them about melt status of some of the roads in the area and reflect on how good it felt to be out after the long winter.

We headed down into the St. Joe drainage and looking for somewhere to explore. We found a small road and decided to head up it to explore. It quickly turned into a narrow quad trail but not before Forrest decided to navigate across a stream. Although it had gotten a bit narrow for the jeep, we decided to take a walk anyway. Just a little ways up the road we heard a crashing in the brush. It was a moose!

We watched her until she ran up the creek and out of view. As we continued up the road we saw some of her tracks in the mud and then heading up the hill. It was amazing to see how big her leap up the hill was—in one step, she went four feet up the hillside! Just another quarter mile down the road, it crossed the creek again. Not being exactly willing to wade into the freshly melted snow, we turned around. (Sprocket, on the other hand headed right out into the stream.)

A bit further down the road we saw a hiking trail head up into the mountains so we parked the jeep and headed up the hill. And when I say up, I mean up. It’s steep around here and this was no exception, we gained just under a thousand feet of elevation in about a mile.

As we got up to the powerline road, it was getting to be time to think about getting back home. (We’re hoping to find someone to give us a ride back to that trailhead soon so we can continue down the trail to Wonderful Peak and hike down over the ridge back into town.)

Back down at the jeep, we decided to try to get home via Bullion Pass but were foiled by snow just below the summit (and, as the crow flies about six miles from home) only to have to turn around and go the long way home through Wallace via Moon Pass.


3 Replies to “Moon Pass Adventure”

  1. So beautiful and brought back so many memories. In Washington, it is against the law to cross any creeks or rivers with a motor vehicle and one of our friends got a $200 ticket from a forest ranger. Be sure to check your state out. We did alot of heavy trail runs in the Cascades. I suppose we went everywhere East and West! But never out of the State except when we tried the Dunes down in Oregon. That was also a kick. Isn’t it just beautiful out in the wild?? One time we turned the jeep off and sat in the middle of a herd of Elk. There were over a hundred and they were so quiet, yet so many!! What a beautiful sight!! Like your Moose, it was amazing to see how much ground they covered in a few steps! Mostly cows but what a sight!!! Thanks for the memories!!!!

    1. That was actually a signed Forest Service road so I’m pretty sure it was okay. As an environmentalist who also likes the use of motor vehicles, my general opinion on the subject is that if you use an established crossing and go straight across (which this one was questionable…) there’s little damage. It’s important though to keep in mind that we’re still very lucky in Idaho that there is so much open. There are definitely people around that don’t appreciate the openness and abuse streams, trails, hills, etc.

      Glad I could bring back some memories Aunty Carol!

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