Thursday, August 02, 2012

Nicks, aches, tans, and Idaho

My last little hike in Montana was also boring. Overall the state was great though. After that short yawn on the way west on route 12, I stopped at the Lolo pass visitor center on the state line. The people there advised "Colt Killed Creek" for my afternoon hike. Lewis and Clark had killed and eaten a young horse here. I swear these guys have half the upper mid-west named after them (even a mid-90s Superman TV show). Anyway, it was a nice start to Idaho hiking except that my windshield got a small crack when a passing RVs tire launched a small stone into it. During the day I saw helicopters shuttling back and forth to get water for a small fire I went by on the Montana side of Lolo pass.
Sunday morning at the Lochsa Lodge I met the 2 chopper pilots. Turns out several small fires had been started by the lightning storm I saw from the ballpark in Missoula on Friday night. (it took a lot of self-control to not yell "Get to the Choppa!!" as the brief conversation ended)

Sunday I hiked at Warm Spring creek which had popular springs about 1.5 miles up the trail. Was tempted to dunk myself as my lower back was killing me. No one was there yet when I went by because I'd crossed to pacific time the night before but was still waking up before 6am Mountain time. Anyway, no people but two frisky bucks were there. I thought, "an optimist would think that 'this place was imbued by a special natural grace that draws the woodland creatures as well as the harried denizens of civilization looking to shed their stress.' A pessimist/realistic would think 'I wonder if people would come if they knew deer dropped by first thing to poop on the inflow spring'"
Never did find the connecting trail to diablo lookout on this nearly 6 hour hike. Odd day: hurt to stand up and sit down but 15 miles of hiking is no problem.

Monday I drove south on us95 and then west 17miles on a gravel road to get to the snake river at the north end of hells canyon. The river is a little slower and calmer than the names implies at the end of a spring melt after a weak winter.
Hiked 13 miles through heat and consumed almost all of my 4 liters of water.
Onto riggins,id for 2 nights which oddly is back in Mountain time. Pretty much every time one crosses the Salmon river in ID one crosses time zones.
Tuesday I drove out another long dirt road to the Windy Saddle trailhead in Hells Canyon wilderness. Along the way I mentally chided myself for having carried my bear spray the previous day through the arid river canyon. Surely that is not dense grizzly territory. Then, between mile markers 8 and 9, I turned the corner and saw a huge black bear running off the road and jumping into the trees. Okay, when I get out of the cat I'm taking the spray.
There were a surprising number of wild flowers on the 14 mile out and back to upper bernard lake. Then again this was around 6000-7000 feet as opposed to the previous days desert like river hike at 2000.
If I had to do it again with hindsight I would have gone south from Missoula to the bitteroots instead of west then south to hells canyon because the dirt road access takes forever and this time of the year with both snake and salmon river being kind of placid between rapids I didn't opt for a day on the water.
Wednesday was a recuperation day. I drove to lewiston,ID, which is kind of a pit, ate junk food, went to a matinee, and bedded down at the Days Inn even earlier than usual (now in Pacific time)
Today's plan is light hiking at Oregon Butte, which is in southeast Washington. Then it's on to Walla Walla
More gear failure: an ancient pair of light hiking pants ripped when I was at Glacier. I sewed them up with a little sewing kit. For the hot hike the other day I donned them but got no further than sitting in the car when I heard them rend again. I cursed, when back into the room and changed.
Finally, check out the picture. (No picture. Fracking blogger android app is driving me nuts) Nothing indicates summer fun like sandal tan. Even more impressive since my feet are locked in boots 4-7 hours a days

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