There is in the area of Imnaha, Oregon a trail of such awesomeness that it is only spoken of in hushed and reverent tones. It has been said that the sounds of prehistoric beasts can still be heard echoing through the walls that embrace and protect this sacred path. It is rumored that this is where Peter Jackson really wanted to film The Lord of the Rings, but the terrain was too difficult for the stunt doubles. The stories grow and change, but what I do know to be true, is that I recently had the opportunity to embrace my destiny and ride this trail that I will call The Mystic River.
After 20 miles of fast moving twisty paved and hard-packed gravel roads, the single track of Mystic River begins on an unmarked location that is simple to miss. Or is it magically hiding from the faint of heart?
The trail starts as a very skinny single track and quickly plunges bike and rider into a walled river canyon that gets more and more narrow as it drops toward the unknown. At times the trail has a rock wall on one side and a drop off into the churning river on the other side, with a 12" wide track running between the two. Where the slope of the canyon wall was mellow enough for vegetation, it was very overgrown with trees, grass, shrubs, thick and spiky blackberry vines, and poison oak, all of which covered the supposed path. At some point in time rock slides crashed down and covered portions of the trail. These remain in place as a reminder to all who dare ride the Mystic River Trail that nature is wild at its best and at its worst. After struggling, and smiling, through only 3 miles of trial in 1.5 hours, we emerged triumphant onto our destination, meeting up with the banks of the Snake River. After a short lunch, the starting of rain urged us back onto our bikes and back up the Mystic River Trail. Having conquered the challenge once, the return trip was less intimidating and we moved along at a slightly faster pace. When we once again emerged onto a normal gravel road, my friend who has been riding motorcycles for 40 years said, "I'm glad we did that, but I won't ever do it again". I have heard people talk about being 100% focused while riding a motorcycle. The Mystic River Trail was the first time in a long time that I can say I was actually 100% focused on riding. One small steering error would have literally thrown my TW and myself off the edge and into the river. Twice during our ride my friends tire came too close to the edge and it gave way, causing him to stop and require my help to get his bike back up onto the trail. The beauty of the place was amazing, but I was only able to look up from my hyper-focus on the trail when we were stopped. Also, I only took a few pictures, because I didn't dare stop and get started again on the more difficult sections. Thanks for reading, here are some pics.
The road leading to the trail:
A good and safe place to stop:
Looking down river:
Almost a path:
More pics in the next post.
More rock slides, smaller rocks but still difficult:
Victory, the Snake River. We came down the canyon on the right, the Snake comes down the left. We could have cheated and taken an jet boat up from Lewiston like those guys in the back of the picture:
Looking down the Snake River:
Nice Mountainyawp! I have been wanting to do that country north of Imnaha for a while now. Maybe this September,,,
Stunning! Thanks for sharing
I felt as if I was reading a novel, a damn good novel about a great adventure. That was a great post!
Husqvarna TE300i Fuel Injected 2-Stroke 2019
Yamaha XT225 - 1999 Serow
Yamaha TW200Z - 2010
Yamaha BW200 Electric Start! - 1986
Yamaha TTR225R - 2003
Husqvarna 701 Enduro - 2017
Kawasaki Prairie 650 - 2002
Oh my, I'm speechless! ...and jealous in a good way. I bet that was a wonderful ride.
It is an old Native American trail or something homesteaders made? or naturally made?
Hidden Content A ride in the woods helps me relax and release tension. The fact I'm dragging a body should be entirely irrelevant?
" Sigh" Nothing like that here in Florida.
Well written and a very poetic ride report, the very best kind in my opinion. Bet it took total commitment and total concentration since that is the sort of trail one can not readily turn around on and retreat. Two thumbs up!
2003 TW200 "Betty Boop"
2006 TW200 "Nibbler", a.k.a. “Mr.Gizmo"
Hidden Content All Things Considered I’ld Rather Be Motorcycling