Tour Guide

Tour Guide

Showing off all the best mountain biking trails McCall has to offer

3 min read

Showing off all the best mountain biking trails McCall has to offer

Of all the roles I play in my daily file—husband, father, business owner, ski patroller, friend, volunteer, etc.—one of my favorites is tour guide.

This week, I got to play that role in a big way—my sister-in-law and her family (husband and son) were arriving from Colorado. They had one goal: ride their butts off and explore all the best mountain biking trails McCall had to offer.

We had four days to accomplish this task and had to fit the riding in around work calls, Zoom meetings, and emails.

I’ve come to learn that having built-in constraints on any project is a good thing; it leads to focus and creativity.

This week was no different. After looking at their work calendars, I realized we had a solid two-hour block of time each day to explore. In my mind, that was perfect.

Huckleberry Loop

My plan was simple—show them what I considered to be our best four trails, starting easiest/closest to home and moving harder/farther away.

So, when they showed up midafternoon on Monday after two full days of driving, I was anxious to see if they had any interest in a “shakeout” ride before dinner. 

They were down. We unpacked their bikes, did some quick service on them, and rode over to Ponderosa State Park for a lap around Huckleberry Loop.

Now, if you’ve ever ridden Huckleberry before, you know it doesn’t fit the traditional “shakedown” definition. It’s technical in spots, full of mosquitos, and features nearly 1,000 feet of sometimes-too-steep vertical. It was perfect.

We finished the loop, showered, grabbed a cold one, and headed to the front deck to enjoy the sun and catch up.

Tuesday dawned sunny and warm—again. The night before, we had determined we had a 10 a.m. window for our next ride. Everybody was a bit beat from two days of driving and the strenuous “shakedown” ride, so we decided to keep it leisurely. We headed to Bear Basin and spent two hours winding around everything that beautiful little trailhead had to offer—fun trees through Sleepy Hollow, beautiful vistas, fast, buffed turns on the Drains, roots and bumps on Rising Sun, and so on.

Snickerdoodle joined us for the day, keeping guard over our new friends and letting all the squirrels know the boss was back in town. 

It was perfect.

Post-ride Reward

We headed back to town to clean up, handle work duties, and find something to eat. The girls found time to paddleboard the lake and the boys found time to drink some beer.

Wednesday dawned just like Tuesday—bright, clear, and warm. Our attitudes matched. Today, I had promised to show them what many in town consider the “best ride McCall has to offer”—the Payette Rim Trail. 

We got an early start, parking at the corrals by 9 a.m. and starting up the road to the “purple gate,” now silver. The 45-minute climb took 45 minutes as usual, full of grinding gears and chitchat. We took the mandatory break at the top, then started the fun downhill, riding the road to the start of the single track and enjoying all the rocks and views the Rim Trail is known for.

We finished the ride and headed to Alpine Pantry for a quick breakfast. Again, a totally perfect day.

In our original plans, this was supposed to be my last day as tour guide. The next day, Thursday, I was scheduled to head to the airport and fly to Wisconsin to attend a funeral.

I got up, drove to the airport, and sat—and sat and sat—until my flight was so delayed I could no longer make it to Wisconsin in time for the service. My wife and daughters, never ones to miss an opportunity, texted me a Costco list, which I fulfilled and then headed back to McCall.

Which left me with the opportunity to show my in-laws the fourth great trail system here in town—Jug Mountain Ranch. 

Friday morning, like all the mornings that week, dawned clear and warm. We headed to the trailhead early and were riding up Basic Training by 9 a.m. We looped around Shoreline and down Vandelay to Harper’s Hollow for an awesome finish to an awesome week.

We celebrated the week’s fun at Foresters, then Frenchie’s—which meant Saturday morning was a bit rougher than anticipated.

All in all, it was an amazing week. Here’s hoping this weekend is just as incredible.