I was in central Idaho last week, paddling a few rivers with good friends.
Late in the week, physically and mentally exhausted from the constant anxiety mandated by engaging whitewater, I grabbed my bike and went for a mellow spin.
I had no maps, no beta, nothing but a forest road passing by our campsite. Thus I had no expectations other than that I might get out and get a little exercise.
To my delight that forest road ended 1/4 mile later, and from road's end a narrow ribbon of singletrack continued. Much of this area is Wilderness, and I was surprised to not be able to find a 'keep that bike the eff out of here!" sign anywhere.
Second growth trees fought the understory to a draw, making for a diverse vegetative experience. Often the trail traversed steep hillsides: Less often there were glide cracks and slumps pulling the trail (indeed the whole hillside) down toward the creek.
The trail tread was narrow and often technical, littered with greased root and rock, blowdowns, pine cones, and hundreds of terrestrial mollusks.
Parts of the trail reminded me of the Dyke off Kebler Pass, Doctor Park near Almont, even Levis Mound in central 'sconsin. But mostly it was uniquely itself.
I'm a sucker for low-angle light and around 8:30 PM I was awash in it, bathed from above and below and feeling it infuse my very being with energy. I hadn't felt this good in days.
Lacking lights, a jacket, or even water I reluctantly flipped it at sunset and enjoyed the rowdy descent back to camp. The route had largely followed the creek we planned to paddle in the morning, giving me reason to stop and look things over every few minutes.
Had someone prepped me for how uniquely enjoyable this trail was going to be I probably wouldn't have enjoyed it nearly as much. For that very reason I'll only share that it was somewhere within the Clearwater drainage. Happy hunting.