Where The Road Leads — Or Doesn’t Lead.

The Journey

We found what looked to be a fairly well-marked road, at least according to the Forest Service Map. The map warned us that it could be difficult. It turned off the gravel (scoria) road that extends north from the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. That’s the last good, passable, and well-traveled road we’d find on our exploration.

The map markings told us the low-quality road would eventually get us to a well-traveled road in about 14 or 15 miles. However, as we found out, you can’t get there from here. At least, not then.This road, though on the map, was not well-traveled. We knew it would take us through scenic areas, judging by the myriad of contour lines indicating it would be a route through steep country. As they say, it’s not the destination, it’s the journey. This journey was very scenic!

The road turned off of the full-width gravel road. In about three miles, it became the two-track trail you see in our first image here.

From there, it went down hill, both in quality and in topography; It had been a muddy mess a few days earlier. A truck apparently got stuck and had to be towed out by a bulldozer or other tracked equipment.

The road quality declined until it was two tracks in the dirt but we stayed on it for a few more miles. We could see the tracks extend across a valley floor and up the other side. Eventually those disappeared.

We saw no tracks, but only the road bed ahead about 100 yards away. It climbed up the side of the hill and there was even a road marker, “732” showing we were on the right path. Can you see it in the fourth image? In the past we have taken roads such as this by following a guide. One person gets out and walks through the grass leading the other to creep behind driving the four-wheel drive vehicle where the guide pointed. Usually the grassy road bed will hook up with another two-track trail and eventually evolve to become a gravel (scoria) road.

Does this one evolve? We haven’t found out. Yet. Wanna go for a Sunday afternoon ride in the country? We’ll wait until the peak of summer’s dryness so we don’t need a bulldozer to pull us out.

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