Sunday, May 3, 2015

Murphy Hot Spring to Highway 20, April 2015

May 3, 2015

Over the past two weekends I biked the southern portion of the ICT.  The first weekend was from near Hill City to Hammett, Idaho.  This ride was mostly on gravel roads with about a 3 mile stretch of cross country travel.  The cross country portion well marked but not maintained.  I had to push my bike for about 1 mile along this stretch.  Water was available at several locations along this route although I suspect some of the sources would not provide water in the summer months.  This portion of the trip took about 12 hours total.  Overall it was enjoyable with plenty of songbirds for company.

The "trail " dropping off the bluffs from Mt. Bennett towards Hammett.

My second weekend was from Hammett to Murphy Hot Springs which took me about 24 hours over a period of 2.5 days.  I am posting this to give people an idea of the conditions out there.  The only water I encountered was at winter camp on clover creek aka east fork bruneau.  With 80 degree temperatures 1 gallon of water plus a full camelbak was enough to last me a day.  I did this portion unsupported without a water cache.  I would not recommend this desert portion when temperature get above 90F unless you have support and plenty of water.  Several trail junctions were missing ICT carsonite markers.  The spaghetti of roads near poison butte proved to be the most confusing. I got off route several times and had to rely on a GPS to get me back on the trail.

The road was too rough to ride for many stretches.  I had to push my bike for many miles due to nasty  conditions.    I agree with a previous post saying about 30% of the Bruneau stretch is hard pack easy riding.  The rest is rutted out, beat out by cattle or very rocky.  The trip was a great experience with plenty of type B fun.  Don't hesitate to ask me questions if you are thinking about doing this stretch of the ICT.

3 photos of the varying condition you will encounter along the ICT Bruneau desert portion.  The last photo is another reason I hate cattle.