Jul 202015
 
The Newly Weds!

The Newly Weds!

Ah, what a celebration! SVT guide, Jonathan Preuss (JP) married his lovely bride, Michelle, on the Coyote Yurts point at 8700’deep in the Smokey Mountains of Central Idaho. Good friends gathered to embrace the passing hail storms and drink in the beauty and power of the mountains and of LOVE!

if you made it this far...

if you made it this far…

the team

the team

wildflower yurts

wildflower yurts

flower girls

flower girls

building the bower

building the bower

and the ceremony begins...

and the ceremony begins…

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yahoo!

yahoo!

Mr. and Mrs Preuss

Mr. and Mrs Preuss

and the sun came out!!

and the sun came out!!

practice run

practice run

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The Lei, giving her blessing

The Lei, giving her blessing

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what a feast!

what a feast!

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whats a camp fire without a marshmellow

whats a camp fire without a marshmellow

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and the Pios lit up....

and the Pios lit up….

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magnificent light on the point

magnificent light on the point

whats a camp fire without a marshmellow

whats a camp fire without a marshmellow

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morning coffee

morning coffee

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and the ride back to the village...past Fox Peak

and the ride back to the village…past Fox Peak

retired SVT Intern, Mark, carving down Fox Peak

retired SVT Intern, Mark, carving down Fox Peak

cruising

cruising

and through the woods

and through the woods

over the edge

over the edge

around the bend

around the bend

and through the flowers

and through the flowers

across from the Boulders

across from the Boulders

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Toby, flying

Toby, flying

and back to the valley

and back to the valley

Jul 212014
 

With an insatiable thirst for single track, beer and good-times, the Men of the North descended upon the Smokey Mountains of Idaho last week. The Coyote Yurts survived the onslaught, but many miles of trail were sacrificed to these brutes form the north country.

Stoked for day 2 ride (24 miles down 5400')

Stoked for day 2 ride (24 miles down 5400′)

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putting the barby to the test

putting the barby to the test

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Bob wondering if its worth getting your name on a table

Bob wondering if its worth getting your name on a table

carve

carve

yehaw!

yehaw!

riding into the front country

riding into the front country

taking a break on the long descent Fox Peak

taking a break on the long descent Fox Peak

Day 3, starting the 4000' descent on Fox Peak

Day 3, starting the 4000′ descent on Fox Peak

nothing like tired legs, a full belly, a campfire fire, and a view

nothing like tired legs, a full belly, a campfire fire, and a view

the pink shuttle day 2

the pink shuttle day 2

Aysha and yucca

Aysha and yucca

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purple mountains

purple mountains

river ride

river ride

hummer home

hummer home

and on it goes...

and on it goes…

Single track the goes to the horizons

Single track that goes to the horizons

the window seat at Coyote

the window seat at Coyote

the steeds corralled for the night

the steeds corralled for the night

The point

The point

starting the 2000' downhill on "Edge of the World"

starting the 2000′ downhill on “Edge of the World”

tasty

tasty

nothing like riding 24 miles and climbing over 4000' to generate an appetite

nothing like riding 24 miles and climbing over 4000′ to generate an appetite

smoking carne asada

smoking carne asada

the Men of the North ready to storm the mountain

the Men of the North ready to storm the mountain

Chris, stoked mid ride

Chris, stoked mid ride

bank turns

bank turns

9pm sunset on the point

9pm sunset on the point

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Aysha tests the yucca

Aysha tests the yucca

and around it goes..

and around it goes..

and goes..

and goes..

and the party gets wild

and the party gets wild

Joe gets his hand at shaking the yucca

Joe gets his hand at shaking the yucca

Shaking the yucca #2

Shaking the yucca #2

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shaking the yucca

shaking the yucca

Boulders and beers

Boulders and beers

nothing like a cold beer after a long ride to bring on a smile

nothing like a cold beer after a long ride to bring on a smile

good morning sunrise at Coyote Yurts

good morning sunrise at Coyote Yurts

Jun 242014
 
Evening light at the fire pit

Evening light at the fire pit

We are just back from celebrating the Summer Solstice on the point at the new Coyote Yurts. After the Beaver Creek wild fire burned the Coyote Yurts last August, its been quite a journey to bring the Coyote Yurts back to life. This past weekend marked the final (planned) stage in this process! Joe, Niels and Aysha went up a couple days early to finish construction of the outdoor areas including benches and stoop on the deck, picnic table, barbeque, new fire pit and dance floor on the point and a bike corral. It all turned out beautifully. Then it was time for friends and family to converge in this special spot to enjoy the longest day of the year. Biking, hiking, dancing, good food and good times!

Finishing the carpentry projects to get the new yurts ready for summer

Finishing the carpentry projects to get the new yurts ready for summer

Sunset on June 20th, readying for the shortest night of the year

Sunset on June 20th, readying for the shortest night of the year

the new "front stoop" makes for a great seat

the new “front stoop” makes for a great seat

Sunset June 20th

Sunset June 20th

hunter...

hunter…

Kids LOVE the yurt experience!

Kids LOVE the yurt experience!

mmm, smores!

mmm, smores!

Neve trying out the new bow

Neve trying out the new bow

Morning coffee on the deck

Morning coffee on the deck

The deck makes for a comfy hang spot any-time of day.

The deck makes for a comfy hang spot any-time of day.

The comfy new benches and a view forever

The comfy new benches and a view forever

Flowers everywhere!

Flowers everywhere!

Cleaning out the trails for the season

Cleaning out the trails for the season

Fox Peak sure is riding nice!

Fox Peak sure is riding nice!

Can't hold back a smile on these trails!

Can’t hold back a smile on these trails!

The newlyweds on the point.

The newlyweds on the point.

Dance party on the point!

Dance party on the point!

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Wow, what a view!

Wow, what a view!

Scoping the riding

Scoping the riding

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up, up...

up, up…

and away!

and away!

The driving approach to the Coyote Yurts

The driving approach to the Coyote Yurts

Jun 022014
 
Mark Weir, Jamie Goldman and Aaron Chase: Stoked!

Mark Weir, Jamie Goldman and Aaron Chase: Stoked!

“Are there rattle snakes here?” asked Jamie Goldman, a pro rider from Oregon I was charged with guiding.
“Never seen one on this side of Democrat Gulch” I said while pointing to the east, “but over there…”

I was pointing toward Lambs Gulch, a local favorite South Valley trail, where the year before an intrepid hiker photographed a rattle snake hibernacula. For those that don’t know, a hibernacula is basically a ball of writhing rattle snakes that congregate together, sometimes by the hundreds, to stay warm during the long winter months. The photograph made the local paper and led to horrific visions for those that frequent these trails. It wasn’t uncommon to see a normally tough mountain guy jump and shriek with visions of the hibernacula when a large cricket fluttered by.

Mark Weir high in the Smokey's Mountains, Idaho

Mark Weir high in the Smokey Mountains, Idaho

All that silly fear was warranted, as I had once ridden over the middle of a basking rattle snake on that very trail, both the snake and I left shaking. But not over here on the new school flow trails recently built to maximize speed and stoke for local riders. While less than a mile away, I had never even seen a snake here nor heard any of the stories that were common on Lambs. Sometimes we fool ourselves to avoid fear.

It was about 2 minutes later, flying down the whoops, banks and rolls of the Centerline trail, when the telltale rattle caused me to veer off into the scrub. My bike went flying and I did my best to windmill my legs and arms to stay upright and avoid the snake I had just ridden over. Jamie, at full speed, just bunny hopped over the fanged reptile with grace and poise. It looked like he had rehearsed this move a hundred times.

Jamie Goldman manual

Jamie Goldman manual

This was the first day of a ten day mountain bike trip I was guiding. This wasn’t our normal bike guiding. We had three top pros, 2 camera men, a fully outfitted shuttle vehicle, a well-stocked yurt, big plans and lots of ice cold beer. It was the cameras and the pros that made the difference.

I have been a mountain guide now for 20 years. My focus has been on climbing and descending mountains, but typically on skis. For much of my adult life I have been too focused on these snowy environs to spend much time on bikes. Typically I would migrate to different hemispheres and higher altitudes/latitudes as soon as the snow began to melt. That all changed when my wife and I moved to Hailey to work as backcountry ski guides 13 years ago. The summers were so nice: flowers, clear running streams, lots of sunshine and miles upon miles of epic single track leading throughout the rugged mountains of Central Idaho. The biking I had done before was not the same. Mostly scrappy affairs involving skidding down too steep trails and doing my best to avoid getting injured. But here in Idaho it was different. The trails were buff. They climbed, curved and descended through enchanted landscapes that went on as far as you could. I was mesmerized by the flow and the potential. Suddenly, I became aware of the similarities between backcountry skiing and mountain biking and the fire they both stoked. I actually began to look forward to the non-snow months.

Mark Weir carving

Mark Weir carving

Now here I was, an unlikely bike guide. With all the mountain guiding I have done, I generally feel pretty comfortable taking people into harsh and consequential environments for fun. But typically my skill and experience outweighs that of my guests. I was not even close on this trip. We had Mark Weir, a long time racer and cross-country animal; Aaron Chase, the bike-handling wizard; and Jamie Goldman, big air phenomenon. We also had a duffel bag full of 50+ GoPro cameras and two dedicated pro photographers (we called them the GoProographers) and a mission to capture “the goods.” While my riding will never equal theirs, I did have a secret weapon. My advantage was an intimate knowledge of these mountains, trails and a sweet Yurt in the middle of it all.

Backcountry bike rack at the old Coyote Yurts

Backcountry bike rack at the old Coyote Yurts

32 years ago, Joe Leonard built the first dedicated backcountry ski yurt in the Sawtooth Mountains. Yurts have been used for millennia by herders on the steppes of Central Asia, but it wasn’t until Joe built one in the Sawtooth, that they were used to house thrill-seeking backcountry skiers. And the idea spread. A couple of years later, Bob Jonas and Sun Valley Trekking took over Joe Leonard’s yurts and built 5 more, strategically located to take advantage of the best the Idaho backcountry has to offer. But that ‘best’ was focused on powder skiing. Luckily, one of those ski yurts also happened to be at one of the premier trail junctions in the Idaho backcountry. The Coyote Yurt sits on a promontory ridge at 8700’ in the headwaters of the East Fork of Baker Creek. It is here, on the flanks of Fox Peak that some of Idaho’s most storied mountain bike trails meet — Easley Gulch, Oregon Gulch, Fox Peak, Warm Springs Ridge, Alden Gulch, Rooks Creek, and Osberg Ridge all make their high points here. But these aren’t the typical town rides, these trails are out there and most that have ridden them require a fair bit of energy, time and skill to do so. When folks do put in the time and energy, these trails afford the best of what Idaho backcountry riding has to offer. And there is a cool backcountry yurt for a base camp right there. Just last year, the Beaver Creek wild fire consumed the Coyote Yurts in its flaming hunger. The loss of this amazing backcountry yurt was profound and we quickly mobilized to rebuild. The result of the effort is one of the most aesthetic backcountry yurts ever, ready to stoke bikers.

The New Coyote Yurts

The New Coyote Yurts

Leaving the Yurt on the Osberg Ridge Trail with endless Idaho trails...

Leaving the Yurt on the Osberg Ridge Trail with endless Idaho trails…

Since first riding my bike from the Coyote Yurt on these trails 13 years ago, I knew this was very special. Until recently, wolf and mountain lion tracks were more common than other bike tracks on the headwater trails. That has changed, and most locals and many visiting bikers are discovering this zone. The Forest Service recently retrofitted one of the backbone trails (Warm Springs Ridge, now known as the Osberg Ridge Trail) to provide 12 miles of high, remote single track bliss and a connector to a myriad of other trails. There is talk of building even more trails in this area in the future.
Ultimately, this trip was an opportunity to share what I consider to be among the best riding in the world with several very experienced and discerning riders. I was eager to see their reaction as we linked close to 200 miles of single track from our yurt home. The pure stoke we shared day after day of riding was a tremendously gratifying experience. But, upon reflection, the most remarkable thing about our adventure was the paradigm shift in my own perspective on biking. To watch these guys visualize and then ride a section of single track was truly awesome. And while these trails are familiar to me, the style that each would ride opened my eyes to how a bike can be ridden. Full commitment and ultimate skill were paired with a machine of engineered perfection in a land of splendor. Like a ski, the bike can be an instrument of art, linking landscapes in a fluid and poetic manner. I have witnessed what can be done, and now I have the inspiration to try to actualize it, if I can just avoid the snakes.

Taking the long way to Coyote

Taking the long way to Coyote

Full commitment sometimes means this...

Full commitment sometimes means this…

Oct 162013
 
Rising from the flames, the new Coyote Yurts!

Rising from the flames, the new Coyote Yurts!

We Did It!! Less than two months after the Beaver Creek Fire incinerated the Coyote Yurts, we have built a beautiful new Coyote. Two yurts connected by a covered breezeway, new sauna and outhouse are ready for backcountry travelers.

Just in time for the snow

Just in time for the snow

This situation was extreme. There was the worry and anticipation of a major wild fire burning around three of our huts. The confirmation that Coyote was gone was rough. On our first visit to where the yurts were, the fire was still burning and the shock of the impact of the fire on a place we know and love was heavy. But it was the recognition that it is all OK. These mountains and forest depend on fire. We can rebuild, the skiing will be phenomenal and the burned forest will bloom again soon. It will just take hard work, some money and time.

In a two week push and cold snowy weather broken by spectacular blue sky days we built the new Coyote yurts. This effort truly took a village to realize, and THANK YOU to all who helped!

The new Coyote is a unique and beautiful hut and we hope it is enjoyed by many in the years to come!

Two 20' Pacific Yurts connected by a covered "breezeway"

Two 20′ Pacific Yurts connected by a covered “breezeway”

The tools and the power, thanks  to Goal Zero!

The tools and the power, thanks to Goal Zero!

Laying out the 1st yurt deck

Laying out the 1st yurt deck

Trudy laying the glass

Trudy laying the glass

Thanks Nigel and Will!

Thanks Nigel and Will!

The bros building a redwood outhouse

The bros building a redwood outhouse

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Atlas did not shrug

Atlas did not shrug

and now we do it again...

and now we do it again…

A big THANKS to Jesse and Paris

A big THANKS to Jesse and Paris

project largely powered by Coors and Fords

project largely powered by Coors and Fords

Birthday boy, Joe feeling a bit older

Birthday boy, Joe feeling a bit older

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Pato, the man, the duck, the legend.

Pato, the man, the duck, the legend.

Pato hunting for the next cut

Pato hunting for the next cut

Jesse and JP laying it out

Jesse and JP laying it out

Circular and level

Circular and level

the 1st night at Coyote was fitting to have a big blaze

the 1st night at Coyote was fitting to have a big blaze

Sean, zen and the art of yurt.

Sean, zen and the art of yurt.

The master enjoying the 1st meal at the beautiful table.

The master enjoying the 1st meal at the beautiful table.

The kitchem

The kitchem

Nice

Nice

The breezeway

The breezeway

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mountain guide, builder, pinch hitter and stud.

mountain guide, builder, pinch hitter and stud.

Thank You Bozo for building a beautiful Sauna!

Thank You Bozo for building a beautiful Sauna!

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The kitchen yurt is a spectacular place to be, the window views are awesome!

The kitchen yurt is a spectacular place to be, the window views are awesome!

The new sleeping yurt sleeps as many as 16!

The new sleeping yurt sleeps as many as 16!

The yurts fit nicely in the landscape

The yurts fit nicely in the landscape

The final product

The final product

Sep 202013
 

On August 20th, the Beaver Creek wild fire consumed the Coyote Yurts. This massive wild fire began as a lightening strike on August 7th in a remote drainage on the south west corner of the Smokey Mountains. Over a period of a couple weeks, the Beaver Creek Fire grew and spread to cover over 100,000 acres and directly threatened the town of Hailey on the southern boundary and burned much of Baker Creek on it’s northern edge. The fire basically ringed the outer boundary of the Castle Rock Fire of 2007.

When the fire spread into the East Fork of Baker Creek there was a valiant fire fighting effort to protect both Coyote and Tornak Huts, but despite these efforts Coyote Yurts were completely destroyed. While the fire came relatively close to Tornak Hut, this beloved hut was fortunately spared. In fact, much of the area around Tornak show no sign of fire and is generally as beautiful as it always is. Passing Tornak and entering the top of the East Fork drainage, there is significant signs of fire and much of the north facing timber in this drainage burned hot. The good news is that these burned timber slopes have opened up some amazing new ski lines, some of which are long (1500’+), due north and fall line. For those planning on skiing here this winter, start thinking of run names, because we will have a lot of great new lines to ski and name!

We are rebuilding the Coyote Yurts! We have been working non-stop since we got news of the loss of the yurts to plan, gather materials and start the rebuild. Our goal is to have the new yurts up and ready for the 1st winter snows. Typically, these snow can begin in late October in this zone, so we have limited time to do a lot of work. We have already been on site to clean up the burned debris, take away dangerous trees and recut the 5 cords of winter fire wood (and build a new wood shed). We have built beautiful new bunks, couches and are working on a custom kitchen and large dining table made of rough sawn pine boards. We will build a sauna in town and transport it on site. We have received one slightly used Yurt and have another new one arriving next week. We will be building the decks and yurts the 1st couple weeks of October on site. The end result should be a beautiful array of two yurts connected by a covered deck. We are moving the yurt site a little bit to get it off of the burned ground and let it come back. The views will be stunning from the new yurts and the area in front of the yurts and on the point is unaffected by the fire and is as phenomenally beautiful as it always was.

This is a fairly monumental effort that we are engaged in. We are dedicated to have this well-loved hut back in the hands of the backcountry community for this upcoming winter and future years. But we could use some help! We have set up an “Indiegogo Campaign” to facilitate those that are interested in helping financially. Please check it out and pass this link along to those that may be interested. We are also looking for help in the field with the building. We are planning on building on site October 3-8th and could use some extra hands, especially those with carpentry experience. Please email us if you are interested: info@svtrek.com  And you can also help by booking some nights at the new Coyote Yurts for this upcoming winter or summer and enjoying a awesome new hut with superb skiing and biking!

Thanks to you all for being such a supportive backcountry community!

Joe surveying the damage....

Joe surveying the damage….

What used to be Coyote Yurts

What used to be Coyote Yurts

the old yurts

the old yurts

The Point in front of the Yurts is basically untouched by the fire and will be the focal point of the new Yurts

The Point in front of the Yurts is basically untouched by the fire and will be the focal point of the new Yurts

looking back at the yurts from the fire pit on the point

looking back at the yurts from the fire pit on the point

looking up to the headwaters of Baker Creek

looking up to the headwaters of Baker Creek

The new burn skiing on Little Round Top, next to Coyote Yurts!

The new burn skiing on Little Round Top, next to Coyote Yurts!

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What was left of the kitchen yurt

What was left of the kitchen yurt

New growth beginning!

New growth beginning!

Building the new wood shed, Job # 1

Building the new wood shed, Job # 1

.Looking forward.

.Looking forward.

5 cords cut and a new wood shed done (again...)

5 cords cut and a new wood shed done (again…)

Taking out problem trees.

Taking out problem trees.

The debris from the burned Yurts and sauna

The debris from the burned Yurts and sauna

An example of the top of the East Fork of Baker

An example of the top of the East Fork of Baker

Cleaning up the burnt yurts was Dirty Work

Cleaning up the burnt yurts was Dirty Work

Long dirty days make cold beer taste really good.

Long dirty days make cold beer taste really good.

Aug 082013
 

It’s late summer and the legs are strong and the high mountain single track beckons! Here are some pictures from the past week including riding around Redfish Lake, with a visit to the Bench and Fishhook Huts, and a ride along the new Osberg Ridge trail that takes one right to the door of Coyote and Tornak Huts!

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MTB redfish-Osberg

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Jun 142013
 

The St.Onge family and SVT new recruit, Trudy, are just back from setting up the Coyote Yurts for the summer. Beautiful wildflowers abound, the trails are in great shape and the yurts are looking fantastic!

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Sep 272012
 

Mountain Biking Pros in Idaho staying at Coyote Yurt

In early September, Joe led a group of professional mountain bikers on a rippin tour of the trails in our area. Based primarily out of our Coyote yurt which lies high in the Smoky Mountains of Central Idaho, Aaron Chase, Mark Weir, Ryan Thibault, and Dave Smootok were some of the boys whose fat tires floated through the summer silt. By the end of the trip, these guys were stoked to know first hand what Coyote has to offer! Here are some images Joe captured followed by a few Ryan was generous enough to let us post.

Mountain Biking Pros in Idaho staying at Coyote Yurt

Mountain Biking Pros in Idaho staying at Coyote Yurt

Mountain Biking Pros in Idaho staying at Coyote Yurt

Mountain Biking Pros in Idaho staying at Coyote Yurt

Mountain Biking Pros in Idaho staying at Coyote Yurt

Mountain Biking Pros in Idaho staying at Coyote Yurt

Mountain Biking Pros in Idaho staying at Coyote Yurt

Mountain Biking Pros in Idaho staying at Coyote Yurt

Mountain Biking Pros in Idaho staying at Coyote Yurt

Mountain Biking Pros in Idaho staying at Coyote Yurt

Mountain Biking Pros in Idaho staying at Coyote Yurt

Mountain Biking Pros in Idaho staying at Coyote Yurt

Mountain Biking Pros in Idaho staying at Coyote Yurt

Mountain Biking Pros in Idaho staying at Coyote Yurt

Mountain Biking Pros in Idaho staying at Coyote Yurt

Mountain Biking Pros in Idaho staying at Coyote Yurt

Mountain Biking Pros in Idaho staying at Coyote Yurt

 Posted by at 10:31 AM