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History of Cabin Fever

History of Cabin Fever

(written for the 10th Anniversary of Cabin Fever held in April 2010):

NITB logoIn 1998, a handful of North Idaho Trailblazers ventured to the Dakota Territory Challenge in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. That week, we experienced some of the state’s most challenging trails, and met some great people, including Ken Brubaker, freelance photographer for Four Wheeler Magazine.

After an adventure-filled few days on the trail, Ken asked if we did any snow wheeling in northern Idaho. He was looking to feature some fresh snow trails for the magazine. A few months later, Ken contacted me to ask when a good time for a snow run shoot would be. January seemed like the best option. There was so much excitement in the air about the potential magazine article and our sport; we tossed around the idea of a yearly event of our own. In 1999, the first ever Cabin Fever Run was born on Beauty Bay Road.

The Foundation Is Poured

The first year, we only allowed club members to join us on our inaugural Cabin Fever Run. Four Wheeler Magazine wrote a great feature about the event.

Cabin FeverOur second year, we expanded to a two-day event. Timing was March, and for one day, we opened ticket sales to include non-club members. Day one’s trail was up Latour Creek Road toward Davis Lake and around to Lost Girl Creek. The second day was for members only. We decided to challenge ourselves by running the Middle Fork of Pine Creek to attempt the “Wet Wedgie”. Ken Brubaker ofFour Wheeler Magazine was impressed to say the least. As we all know three to four feet of snow can change a trail. Some obstacles that were easy in the spring/summer became much more challenging than expected, and the harder obstacles were easier with all the snow filling the holes. That same year, we had another great feature in Off Road and 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility magazines, thanks to Ken.

Legend of the 24-Hour Snow Run

Our third year, we found our base camp at Punkie’s Restaurant in Pinehurst Idaho. This was the first year we had door prizes, awarded the Hard Luck Trophy and had a catered dinner. Year four, we had another two-day event that included four different trails, which gave our members more freedom. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had a different plan. The 24-hour snow run was born. The easier trail ended up being extremely challenging, but we kept pushing through the night and never gave up. With the rescue crew and a lot of patience, we all made it out, cold and hungry. The next day’s trail ride was canceled. About half of the trail leader’s rigs were broke and the other half exhausted from the all-nighter. So, we decided to call it a day.

The Fever Grows

Year five was a real good year. We had more prizes, new trails and everyone was back for dinner (on time). The Golden Shovel Award was created in honor of the 24-hour run for the most stuck. Our sixth year started out even better, with more entries and even bigger door prizes…. that was until the rains came. It rained all day which is not that unusual in the spring. However, two of the trails were trapped by Pine Creek, which rose over two feet that day. Thankfully, all were rescued and safe. It was Tuesday before the four vehicles that were trapped by the river could be retrieved. Year seven was the first year the Snake Pit catered our event dinner, great food, prizes and wonderful participants.

New Home

In the eighth year, we had to find a new home base. As most of you know, Pinehurst is a small community. Thankfully, we were able to work with the Lion’s Club to use its facility, which is a little smaller than Punkie’s, but works just fine. By this time, the word got out about the Cabin Fever Run. There were 117 entries – WOW! The biggest year and most challenging to date. We had more participants, a new venue, an awesome caterer, great prizes, etc. What could go wrong? How about the long arm of the law! The week after the event, I was contacted by the BLM law enforcement, who informed me that we needed to have a special use permit to hold our event on BLM land. After stating my case that I had personally talked to the BLM recreation planner and was told we did not need a permit if we kept the groups on each trail to under 20 rigs. Meanwhile, the planner I spoke with had retired. Along with additional changes in the way the BLM was governing recreation, my $200.00 ticket was unavoidable. Live and learn!

Cabin Fever 2007Year nine was the first year of pre-registration with a maximum of 80 entries. We sold out in two weeks. The television show on PBS called Outdoor Idaho (“OI”), contacted our club. OI was filming a piece on unique winter activities in Idaho. Our club decided to invite OI to film at the 2008 Cabin Fever Run. The show aired February 12, 2009. Beautiful weather and great new friends was the norm for Saturday’s trail rides. At the end of the day, we all packed into the Lion’s Club for a great meal and very generous door prizes, including a 9500# Warn Winch, shop furnace, spray-in bed liner, Hi-lift jacks, hats, coats, tow straps and more!

The Cabin Fever Run Settles In

Now in our 10th year, Cabin Fever continues to evolve. We’ve created a t-shirt design contest, added the chance to pre-order shirts and/or hooded sweatshirts. Congratulations to Jim Anderson, this year’s t-shirt design winner.

So for our 10th year anniversary, I want to personally thank all of you for making the Cabin Fever Run a great success.

Mark Tihonovich
North Idaho Trail Blazers