We park 200m up Fisher Rd, just before a heap of rustic cabins, just far enough off the main road to be inconspicuous.
The first 6.5miles (11km) of the loop follows a four wheel drive track through burnt out forest (2006). Easy riding with lotsa birds. This section you could easily shuttle if you had two vehicles. No traffic, but lots of animal sign, and a big fright for me when a 30cm snake slithered across the road almost under my front tyre. The last km before the single track is a killer uphill. I've no doubt Fraser and Steve would nail it...but Ju and I took our time...it was hot.....and walked some of it.
The next 10 miles (16km) was primo single track. Not all of it was downhill, but enough to make the ride rate. Still lots of animal sign including very fresh poo, but didn't see anything. Some fantastic views along the way, even though you are riding through burnt forest.
Before you know it you have hit the trailhead again and have 2miles along the main road back to the vehicle. We chose to stop off at the Obsidian Cafe for a very very acceptable smoothie. Met Dianne, a relatively new local. Only lived in the area 8 years, but full time since then, and she loves it...one of the 35 (she reckons)locals that handle the comings and goings of the "two million" summer visitors.
Load up the van and head down to the Salmon river to a spot where you can LEGALLY freedom camp for up to 16 days. Took the opportunity to wash off the trail dust and have a snack before heading towards Ketchum.
Stopped for the view at the top of Galena Pass and met Debbie and Ryan from Portland Oregon. Lovely family on a road trip before going back to school. Then it was only a short downhill into Ketcham. All these "famous" places are really busy, although we are told Ketcham is pretty quiet this week, as loads a folk evacuated last week because of the huge Beaver Creek fire that has been raging just west of the town. They have it 92% contained (no I don't know what that means), and the smoke that earlier this week stopped you seeing more than 100m has all gone. The hope is (locally) that everyone will come back this weekend for the 150th running of the Wagon Days festival.
It's Labor (American holiday so American spelling) Day weekend, so we are staying put here, keeping off the roads as 32.5million Americans are expected to hit the roads. But at $10 a night camping just 4miles out of town, and lots of mtb tracks to explore, why not. Plus Ju is keen on the Pancake breakfasts as part of the festival, and all the shops are having huge sales. Gotta keep the girl happy.