Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Trip Reports: Nevada to Stanley

Hey all--this is Tom from Pocatello. I've been nibbling away at the ICT this spring, and wanted to share some of my experiences. I've nearly completed the route from Murphy to above Stanley, and hope to go a bit further this summer. This is how it's gone thus far:

March 18-20 2016: Hammett to Featherville Highway (60 miles)

Eager to get going on the ICT this spring, I took the Salt Lake Express towards Boise and had them drop me in Hammett (unfortunately, I had them go off at the first exit, which doesn't have an on-ramp!). I walked six miles down through town and to the Snake River bridge where I camped on this mild spring evening.

The next day, charged up for my first solo hike, I covered 29 miles along the ranch roads and finally up into the rocks of the Bennett Hills; once I joined the Bennett Mountain Road, I camped at the Stott Crossing, making a lovely fire for the cooler night.

On Sunday, the snow shoes I had lugged along finally became usefully as the snow began in earnest on the upper reaches of the Bennett Hills and into the Fairfield valley. When I arrived at the Cat Creek intersection on Highway 20, my wife was still far off, so I hiked to the Castle Rock road, which was quite muddy and then snowy, through the amazing rocks, and out toward the Featherville Highway. Lucinda was still not there, so back out to Highway 20 where she picked up at the corrals--another 25 miles!

March 21 2016: Out to the Nevada Line (3 miles RT)

After spending the night in Twin Falls, Lucinda and I went to scout the start of the trail near Murphy Hot Springs (thus eliminating the need to re-do this section in May). We hiked out to the orange marker in the midst of snow squalls, taking three elk by surprise.

May 28-31 2016: The Owyhee Desert (90 miles)

At the end of May, my colleague Jim and I covered the desert from Murphy to the Snake River Bridge, alternating between walking the canyon rim (rough and full of cheat grass) and following the official route (long, hot, and at times overgrown). We managed to get water each day, first making out way to the Poison Creek crossing, where there was a (somewhat off-putting) pool right below the road. On the second day, we followed the official route to Wintercamp (a wearying 28 miles), and were amazed on the lovely river and semi-abandoned farm there. Such a pretty place!

Next day, we again left the official route as it bent northwards and returned to the canyon rim, ultimately descending for water in the Bruneau at the Robeson Trail crossing: the trail is neglected, largely due to a rock slide which was however easily traversable. We then turned back to the route at the Bruneau Overlook. We had thought to camp there, but no satisfactory place presented itself. We ended up camping on the side of the trail in the hard and weedy clay. The subsequent and final day began with another fairly faint bit of trail; this improved as we made our way down into Indian Cove, but the day got hot and the dried cheat grass and dead tumbleweed really called for gaiters. Exhausting!

June 6-7 2016: Near Stanley (36 miles)

These days found my patient wife helping me to bag a few sections up by Stanley: that Monday I went from Highway 21 on the Elk Creek trail to Stanley Lake (beautifully maintained, though buggy), and then from Stanley Lake to Grandjean. This involved a number of rather sketchy stream crossings, walking on the snow, and then an ill-advised mile-long bushwhack to avoid a double stream crossing. At the end, I managed to walk past Lucinda's campsite and added 3 miles. The following day's 12 mile walk along the Cape Horn road (through the camas meadows) was relaxing and concluded that section.

June 10-12: Featherville Highway to Atlanta (66 miles)

On June 9, my buddy Mike and I drove to Atlanta (somehow I managed to get my Honda over the steep and rocky James Creek road). We then drove his truck back to the Featherville Highway, after a stop at the pizza shop-rock shop, and camped.

The first day to Hunter Creek and then up the North Fork of Lime Creek was mostly just long--29 miles--but we did appreciate the restroom once we had descended to the campground at Willow Creek. While Grouse Butte was clear, we found Ross Peak to be snow-covered. We enjoyed a nice glissade down the north slope; subsequently, however, we found ourselves picking a path down steep icy slopes, and Mike took a rather scary fall but avoided injury. After about 18 miles, we camped in the Ross Fork Basin. On our final day, we lost the trail at the Mattingly / Alturas Divide (I somehow managed to replace the batteries on my gps with ... the old batteries). Once the snow softened up, we made our way to the wilderness boundary, where the top of the box with wilderness permits was only just visible. Mattingly Creek was glorious; the upper region showed painstaking trail work, but further down the trail was overgrown (one confusing section caused us an unnecessary stream crossing). The final crossing before we headed out to Atlanta was only just doable. Here's to hoping the water goes down for the Atlanta to Grandjean section, which I undertake next week!

Monday, May 30, 2016

ICT on The Trail Show podcast

I just got back from Boulder, CO where I joined the Trail Show crew of triple crown hikers to talk about my 2015 ICT thru-hike.  They featured the Idaho Centennial Trail as trail of the month alongside a healthy selection of Idaho beers.  You can download it using your own podcast app or by visiting their website here: The Trail Show: Episode 48 The ICT.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Trip report: Nevada line to Snake River

Hello!  I wanted to post a report on my recent ICT hike from the Idaho/Nevada line to Highway 78 (a distance of 85 miles), 19-25 March 2016. 

On Saturday the 19th, my wife and I drove to the Murphy Hot Springs area where we hiked the two miles on the ICT from the road to the Nevada line and back.  We then spent the night at the nearby BLM campground where we had the place to ourselves.  The next morning I started hiking in earnest.

The trail is reasonably easy to follow using the maps from the Idaho Parks and Rec site, following (for the most part) 4-wheeler trails and marked by white Carsonite posts.   Unfortunately, about 80% of these posts no longer stand erect and are thus generally found on the ground near the trail, thus still serving their purpose, although not as originally intended.

There was a definite paucity of available water on the trail.  I found water a short distance off-trail at the head of the Poison Creek canyon.  The only other water I encountered was at the bridge over East Fork Bruneau River (EFBR).  I did anticipate the water shortage and thus carried 6 liters of water on each of the three stretches (Murphy Hot Springs to Poison Creek, Poison Creek to EFBR, and EFBR to Highway 78).  This was an adequate amount of water to carry in the cool weather of my hike; later in the season I could see this quantity as being insufficient.

Leaving EFBR I misplaced the ICT and thus ended up hiking on the good NW-trending road for quite a distance until the ICT intersected this road north of the side road to Bruneau Canyon Overlook.  There was very little traffic on the road, roughly 2-3 vehicles per hour.  Over half the vehicles stopped to inquire about my well-being.

Lastly, my hike was cold.  Anticipating this, I carried sufficient clothes to be comfortable and safe.  I am glad I carried extra clothes (the mittens were wonderful!), regardless of their extra weight.

The scenery was, to be frank, rather uninteresting, consisting almost entirely of flat sagebrush desert.  But the descent off the high plateau into the Snake River valley was very scenic indeed.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at stephenbrill@yahoo.com.  Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 14, 2016

KIVI News does story on Idaho Centennial Trail

In case you missed it last night, a segment aired covering some of the work I have been doing raising trail awareness for the ICT.  Though I felt like a bumbling dumby during the interview, they managed to put together a pretty compelling piece about the state of the trail and what it's future might be.

Should be a big year for the ICT and hiking season is quickly approaching!  Happy hiking.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

New ICT book is now available

I finished my book about my 7 year hiking adventure on the Idaho Centennial Trail.   It is titled                      "The Search for the Flat Ness Monster."    It is available in paper and as an e-book.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Great desert day hike on ICT


This is Steve from Boise, Idaho.  First time posting to this blog.

Just wanted to share my experience on Tuesday (16 February 2016) on the ICT.  Two of my sons and I hiked the 4 miles from Alkali Rd. to Bennett Mountain Rd and back.  It was a beautiful day, unseasonably warm for February.  Blue skies, no wind.  Very pleasant hike.  No snow on the south-facing slopes but about 8 inches of wet unconsolidated snow on the north-facing slopes, which was just the last 1/4 mile.  Without a doubt, the most memorable aspect of the hike was how many deer we saw.  I do not exaggerate when I say we easily saw 200 deer in the 4.5 hours we were out.

I'll be hiking more on the ICT in the months and years to come.  I would enjoy getting to know other hikers interested in the ICT.

That's all for now.  Thanks for reading!