It's amazing what a week of warm weather will do to a snowfield that was over 100 square yards and 5-6 feet deep...just compare this pic with the one of my previous post (yes this is the same snow field). I did run into one huge snowfield (6-8 ft deep and well over a 100-yards long) that kept traffic to zero (and I like that) since it was impassable by most motorized vehicles...which means I had the entire place to myself for the most part.
On this trip I was able to finally complete a loop. I traversed 38-miles (all up hill) to the top of S. Fork of Asotin Cr. Rd (aka Smoothing Iron Rd) for a spectacular, clear view of the Grand Ronde Canyon and the Wallowa Mtns in the distance. From there I took the rolling ridge line past the headwaters of Asotin Cr. (all three forks of it) on one side and the headwaters of the Tucannon River on the other side. Very eye-pleasing stuff that lifts the spirits. Total climbing today was about 9K for the 84-mile trek.
I'm still looking at doing a "day-ride" to Joseph, OR (~130-miles I figure) on the back roads, but the road is not quite as fast as I'd like it yet. It still has some snow on it and plenty of downed trees which don't bother me that much, except when I'm putting time constraints on the ride. I will continue to be patient...maybe.
Temps on this day were 100+ in the valley which made riding up at elevation highly desireable. I saw plenty of wildlife enjoying the cooler temps up higher and signs of others that maybe did not want to be seen...like this small bear track (very small by what I have run across in Montana). Even with the nicer temps above, it was still rather warm and I ended up stopping a few time to filter some of that sweet, cool water from of my favorite spring sources.
I've had a few local inquiries as to where I ride and it seems that me pointing in the direction I ride is not enough info for anyone, so I decided to provide a profile and 3D-maps here just to clarify (or maybe confuse) the issue of where I've was on this ride.
I produced these images with a program called TopoFusion, a rather cool software developed by a mountain biking fanatic out of Arizona. I simply download my GPS data directly to the program and it produces maps and more data than I will ever need with ease. You can view his stuff at TopoFusion.com. (click on the map images for better viewing)