ID – Wildflowers of the Snake River Trail- Hells Canyon National Recreation Area

Wildflower viewing was one of the primary reasons I wanted to hike the Snake River Trail in Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. Here are a few of my favorites, with names based on limited research. ENJOY!

Brodiaea

Who am I?

Narrowleaf Skullcap (?)

Larkspur

Fiddleneck

Balsamroot

Aster (Tragopogon dubius)

Paintbrush (bonus: tent worm?)

Three Flowered Avens (Old Man’s Beard)

Phylox

Aster (?)

Redstem Filaree (?) Geranium (?)

Sweet Pea or Milk-vetch

Flax (lewisii)

Prairie Star (bonus: poison ivy)

Ladybugs love Milkweed

Date(s) Hiked: May 4-8, 2017

Spring 2017 Road Trip: Days 67-71 (out of 78)

Resources:

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ID – Snake River Trail, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area

I’d stopped at the Hells Canyon Visitor Center in Riggins a few days previous but found information seriously lacking regarding the Snake River Trail. Thus while at my friend’s house in Boise, I took time to plan this trip as well as the next leg of my travels.

My little Chromebook is getting quite colorful and very customized. 

 

 

 

 

I’ll admit I resisted and wasn’t all that excited about hiking Hells Canyon. While in northeastern Oregon last fall, I visited a couple of the overlooks and it appeared like boring brown hills bordering a meandering greenish grayish river. As I researched, I felt even less inclined.

This is from the USFS web site:

Advisory: Most of the trails Hells Canyon are in rattlesnake and poison ivy country! Water on the trail is scarce and unsafe to drink if not previously treated.
Difficulty level: Many sections of the trail are ‘more difficult’ due to short steep sections, uneven rocky surface and narrow sections against rock outcrops. 

Ticks are another known issue so I treated my clothes and gear with Permethrin using Section Hiker’s Soak Method. Tip: if you use this method, I recommend a good rinse before first wear to prevent sweat or rain induced skin contact, or contamination of wilderness water sources.

However, several respected friends kept telling me how much they loved the area. I enjoyed my Rogue River hike, and figured the Snake River Trail might be similar. Since I was in dire need of a long hike and timing was right, I knew I’d regret passing up the opportunity. So decision made, I pulled together the resources and supplies I’d need, and with no permits required, I had flexibility as to start date and time. Not knowing how long my intended 56-60 mile trip would take, at my anticipated leisurely pace, I packed 5 days of food.   

At first glance, you think it’s a monochromatic pallet. This is why when I took a peek last fall and saw the landscape covered in dry grasses I wasn’t all that interested in exploring further. At least now it’s tinged green. For reference, Idaho is on the left side, Oregon is on the right, and the Snake River separates the two. 

But upon closer inspection, you find little gifts of colors. I’ll be writing a separate post to highlight the wildflowers.

The trail was rarely flat. There were lots of elevation changes with a few visits all the way down to the river otherwise plenty of skirting around and over topographical obstacles. This is the profile for the first 10 miles to give you an idea of the not-so-flat terrain.

Kirkwood Ranch, pictured below and at about the 6-mile mark on the profile graph, is a place where boaters and hikers share the beach and compound, including flush toilets, a fresh water creek, lush grass and picnic tables. 

A highlight of my trip was meeting the volunteer caretaker of Kirkwood Ranch. She not only maintains the grounds, the restrooms and house, but also is the museum docent and ranch welcome committee. Her first stent was last July and August, during which she turned 80. Yes, that’s right, 80 years young! She’s back . . . this year for May and June. What an inspiration. During our conversation I found out she and her husband had a cattle ranch not far from my home base. What a coincidence and truly special encounter. Dare I mention there are not roads, so she’s here 24 x 7 for those two months. The only resupply is via the ranger, mail boat or through a little trail magic via jet boaters and rafters.

The museum at Kirkwood Ranch is quite large and well stocked. It appeared to be in great condition but the caretaker informed me that major foundation repair is scheduled. The park expects her to pack the contents. Seriously? Like she doesn’t have enough to do, not that she was complaining. 

Kirkwood Creek was so refreshing and I just loved this little waterwheel. 

One of the rare signs on trail. My plan was to camp between Kirkwood and Sheep Ranches. 

When I stopped in at the Hells Canyon NRA Visitor Center in Riggins to gather resources and inquire about conditions etc., a staff member told me I might get my feet wet if the releases from the Hells Canyon Dam were too high. When I asked what too high meant, she said about 60 or 65,000 cubic feet per second. I checked with Idaho Power online before leaving and also found a flow monitor at the Pittsburg Landing Boat Launch. The photo below shows trail proximity to the Snake River. I didn’t think much about it as I crossed this spot.

They grow em’ big here. Yes there are snakes on the Snake River Trail along the Snake River. 

The views from Suicide Point were probably my favorite. YES, I think I found GREEN spring! It’s hard to believe rain was expected. I overheated quickly and was thankful for my sunbrella by 9:30am. All creeks were running and I took the opportunity regularly to wet my shirt and head.

For those wanting to take the leap, you might call this suicide pool. 

You can see why they call this Snake River. 

Temperance Creek Ranch is a private holding on the Oregon side. The adjacent Idaho side hosts an unmaintained landing strip, which is I’m sure quite convenient for ranch access. It’s a bit hard to imagine living without road access, especially in what you would think would be inhospitable climates. My guidebook indicated this flat is an excellent place to see large herds of elk in the mornings. 

I didn’t see any elk on my return visit either (8:30am).

I spent my first night at Little Bar and witnessed a pretty spectacular sunrise. 

It started raining just as I finished packing, sans the tent. It rained hard for an hour or so. Since I wasn’t in a hurry I relaxed, read and waited out the rain. The rain took a break around 8am and I quickly finished packing and got on trail. This is the view from my campsite. It sprinkled until about 10am. 

This cabin near Caribou Creek is not on trail, but can be easily accessed via a well used social trail. My guidebook didn’t provide any history on this cabin.

Nothing brown or monochromatic here. 

I’m not the only one who likes flowers.

When I saw the rare tree, I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to their friends. 

Pine Bar was an exception. What a sight to behold! 

According to the USFS web site, “The yellow-stained rocks mark a mineralized zone along a fault called a ‘gossan’. Deeply weathered parts of the gossan form alurn deposits.” 

This is the Sand Creek Game Warden Cabin on the Oregon side. According to the USFS web site, it’s an “Administrative cabin used by Idaho and Oregon Fish and Wildlife agencies and Oregon State Police.”

Look across the river at the slice in the rock. That’s the trail on the Oregon side. It was by far the most interesting feature I’d seen. Observing the trail for so many miles I couldn’t help but be curious and wonder about condition and whether it’s maintained and used to the same degree. I might just need to add to my spring 2018 hike list. It’s Snake River Trail #1726. Per the USFS web page, “During the winter of 1947-48, a Forest Service crew cut through the rock overhang above the river, creating the stretch of trail known as the ‘Eagle’s Nest‘ because there was once an eagle’s nest above the trail.”

Sheep Creek Ranch is another historic park holding managed by a caretaker. The one in attendance during my trip was doing an exceptional job with landscape and maintenance chores but lacked in the social department. He avoided me during both visits. According USFS web page, Sheep Creek was “Homesteaded in 1884 by William McLeod, a Scotsman and Civil War veteran. After his death, the county sold the place to Fred and Billy McGaffee, who traded it to Lenora Barton for her place on the Imnaha River in 1 935. Sold to Bud Wilson in 1952, then to the Forest Service in the 1970s.”

River mail service boggles my mind. 

On my return trip, the temperature at 1pm was unseasonably pleasant. 

To the north of Sheep Ranch is Steep Creek, not to be confused with Sheep Creek to the south. 

What would the Snake River Trail be without it’s namesake snakes? 

My guidebook mentioned a 90′ tall metal fire lookout tower on Hat Point. My naked eye said maybe this is it. I took many photos, and sure enough after zooming and cropping I found the tower!

The bear grass was just beginning to bloom. The tall thick grasses made for not only wet feet hiking after the rains but also required attention to avoid hidden obstacles especially rattlers. You can also see why ticks have made this their home. Thankfully after treating my clothes and gear, I was free of those invaders.

I couldn’t find any history about Johnson Bar, but there was evidence of old rock foundations nearby and according USFS web page, “a Mr. Johnson bought Temperance Creek Ranch in the 1930’s and it was in his family until the 70’s.”

Looks like a weather station on the Oregon side. 

Besides snakes, the canyon is known for poison ivy. I’m not sensitive to poison oak and was a little concerned about it’s cousin. Thankfully it seems I’m lucky in that regard also . . . at least for now as I’ve heard you can lose that immunity. If you don’t know the saying, you best learn it. “Leaves of 3, Let it be.” 

The color and shine makes many confuse sumac with poison ivy. Some are poisonous, but this variety is not. 

I saw very few people on this trip, so it was exciting to look across the river and see this pair riding the trail in Oregon. 

A benefit of high water and early season is avoiding the jet boat crowd. I only saw and heard a couple boats each day.

Bridges make me happy, especially when snow melt is causing them to run fast and full such as this one over Bernard Creek.

My guidebook says, “and soon come to the nicely restored McGaffee Cabin. The upstairs loft and the porch are good spots to lay out your sleeping bag for the night.” I borrowed the book from a friend and am left to wonder about copyright date. 

Camp my second night was south of McGaffee Cabin where I watched a couple of mountain goats on a nearby peak grazing. A few things I learned (1) the river has an unpleasant odor so avoid camping in too close of proximity; (2) I wouldn’t want to take a dip in the river nor use for drinking water; (3) if you’re noise sensitive, don’t camp near rapids; (4) the canyon walls provide shade during both sunrise and sunset; and, (5) be prepared for rain and wind.

The guidebook warned of the trail being overgrown with grasses and poison ivy south of Bernard Creek. Well . . . I think I can agree. I was glad for my GPS track as had a few navigational challenges.

I met a group of four who’d been dropped off by the boat I’d seen earlier. They’d just crossed this creek and said it’s about knee height. If I hadn’t met them, I’d have turned around. My guidebook said, “splash through Three Creek.”

My favorite on trail lunch was needed after successfully crossing that creek. 

And then I arrived at the end of road. The group I’d crossed paths with earlier told me their boat driver said the trail near Granite Creek was under water about neck deep. Well it seems I found the spot, just south of Granite Creek Rapids. Neck deep is a little more than getting my feet wet as implied by staff at the Hells Canyon Visitor Center.

I checked the stats when I returned from my trip. I’d been told be aware of crossings when releases were above 60-65,000 cubic feet per inch. Well that needs to be revised to something closer to 40 or 45,000 if you want to hike south of Bernard Creek. I was there on May 6th when flows were at 50,000, at least 4′ too high for my comfort.

Had I known about this dead end, I wouldn’t have crossed Three Creek. Twice in one day was pushing my luck.

My campsite on the third night was the best of the trip. 

My smile returned the next morning.

On my return trip, I found a few panels of pictographs. According to Wikipedia, “The earliest known settlers in Hells Canyon were the Nez Percé tribe. Others tribes visiting the area were the Shoshone-Bannock, northern Paiute and Cayuse Indians. The mild winters, and ample plant and wildlife attracted human habitation. Pictographs and petroglyphs on the walls of the canyon are a record of the Indian settlements.”

The terms get used incorrectly quite often. I thought this sign at the Pittsburg Landing interpretive area was helpful. 

These Chukar partridges were the most plentiful living creature on the trail. I think they need to be called the Heart Attack bird. Hidden from view, they waited til the last minute to take flight. My heart jumped several times. This was the rare time one stuck around long enough for me to photograph. Birds in general were plentiful along the trail. I loved waking to their songs and listening to their chorus of sounds as I walked the trail.

I saw lots of fish jumping but these were the first I observed near shore. Is this a steelhead?

There were a few places where the trail might make some nervous. 

You can see the scree field along this traverse. 

My fourth and final night was back on Little Flat near where I’d stayed my first night. On this trip I experienced quite a range of temperatures. The first day was full sun and hot for me, but probably only in low to mid 80’s. By 7pm it had dropped to 65, and the overnight low was 52. With cloudy skies and intermittent showers the second day, it was a bit cooler but overnight it only dropped to 55. On my 3rd night the temperature was 57 by 5pm and held steady only falling to 52 overnight. The overnight low on my fourth night was 36. At 8pm the temperature was 46. While a little chilly to sit around in, it sure made for more comfortable sleeping but resulted in heavy dew from the recent rains. In fact I’d made an amateur move by sleeping without my rain tarp, which meant awaking to a very damp sleeping bag.

But oh how I enjoyed the full moon via the open sky netting on my tent.

Pittsburg Landing offers stunning views and is worthy of a drive even if you aren’t interested in hiking the trail. There are nearby intrepretative trails and well as river access. 

A wildflower post will be forthcoming. Until then, here’s a little teaser. 

So the question remains, was it more heavenly than hellish? I think you know my answer.

And now I can say I’ve been to hell and back 🙂

Date(s) Hiked: May 4-8, 2017

Spring 2017 Road Trip: Days 67-71 (out of 78)

Tips:

  • If you don’t want an out and back hike, you can hire a boat to take you upstream from Lewiston or downstream from Hells Canyon Dam. I met a group of 4 who’d been dropped off and were hiking toward Pittsburg Landing. Another option is to hike upstream and float downstream with a whitewater rafting transporter.
  • Dispersed and Campground camping is available at Pittsburg Landing. There are also a few dispersed sites on the road to Pittsburg Landing.

Resources:

Links:

ID – Zeno Falls in Owyhee Canyonlands

What do you do when you reunite with a friend who loves waterfalls? Why of course you go on a crazy adventure is search of none other than a . . . waterfall!

According to Wilderness.Org,

The Owyhee Canyonlands span southwest Idaho, southeast Oregon and northeast Nevada. They are among the most remote areas of the continental United States. Sagebrush and juniper cover the dry desert grounds, which rise up into beautiful mountains, hoodoos (tall thin rock formations), natural arches and river canyons. 

My friend Norma has a book of best waterfalls in Idaho and she’d flagged Zeno Falls as one she wanted to visit. It takes research and determination to find the trailhead. This beautiful display of wildflowers greeted us as we neared our destination. 

Zeno canyon is rugged. I missed taking a photo of the first section where surprisingly we were near a spring with lush vegetation and boggy terrain. There isn’t a trail and it took us a bit to find our way up and around this section.

Those are aspen trees at the top of the canyon. That was another pleasant surprise. First views of the waterfall. 

My friend had knee replacement surgery in early January. I figured this viewpoint would be our turnaround spot. As I explored she was resting and taking in the grand views. 

But no, she was determined to get a better view. Using the booty-scoot method, she successfully slid her way down this scree field. 

Once down though, there was too much vegetation to get a full view of the waterfall. A better view could have possibly been obtained by continuing further down to the creek but that was definitely pushing her limits, so we made the right decision and said no for today.

My GPS track was corrupted, so sadly I’m unable to share mileage or ascent/descent stats.

I have to share my latest find. Touchnote offers both web and phone app options where you create postcards, they print and mail. This has been a game changer for me. More expensive than buying a postcard and stamp, but getting to use my own photos with a legible typed message is worth it. My mom has early dementia and she forgets I call, but has all my postcards laid out on her table as reminders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date(s) Hiked: April 29, 2017

Spring 2017 Road Trip: Day 62 (out of 78)

Resources:

Links:

ID – Chasing Spring, April Showers Bring May Flowers

Rain is not my favorite weather event. Many years ago I lived for a short time north of Seattle and quickly learned I’m a sunshine girl. 

Goodbye Windy Wyoming. Hello Idaho. Will you show me some beautiful mountains and help me find spring?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, 04/18/17: I entered Idaho via Highway 89 at Bear Lake

The Oregon Trail Museum in Montpelier was disappointing. Not nearly the quality of the one I visited last year in Oregon. Looks like someone else feels the same way.

I spent the night at Montpelier Reservoir. The thawing ice sounded like popping popcorn. 

Wednesday, 04/19/17: My day started with a short detour into Wyoming. Why am I going north when I’m chasing spring? This is Salt River Pass at 7,630′.

Back in Idaho, I was Tetonia bound for a reunion with friends Jasmine and Jason. 

They have a sweet view of the Tetons from their house. I should have taken time to capture the sunset with my camera, instead I only have this quick snap with my phone. 

Thursday, 04/20/17: A day to play at Grand Targhee Resort. I snowshoed while my friends skied.

Friday, 04/21/17: It snowed a bit during the night. 

My cue to keep moving . . .

I drove Highway 33 to Highway 28, taking a detour to explore the Charcoal Kilns. Look ma no snow. I must be headed in the right direction. 

I found a nice spot to camp and hike along a forest service road. 

Saturday, 04/22/17: Must.Hike.Today! I don’t have intel so need to find a Visitor Center or Ranger Station. After too much driving, I arrived at the Lola Pass Visitor Center on Highway 12 and found hiking at the nearby Snowshoe Falls Trail.

Sunday, 04/23/17: Rained during night and most of morning, but stopped in time for an afternoon hike on the Selway River Trail.

Monday, 04/24/17: Rained during night but enjoyed a mostly dry hike on the Split Creek Trail.

Tuesday, 04/25/17: Rained hard all night. Still raining in the morning. I returned to the Fenn Ranger Station near Selway Falls. Met a couple of wilderness rangers who gave me lots of recommendations for later in the season. On the other hand, the ranger staffing the Kooskia Ranger Station should be fired. He had a bad attitude and was less than helpful!

Tips for obtaining most applicable hiking recommendations:

  1. Ask to talk to wilderness rangers as many staff manning the desk are not hikers
  2. Be specific in your request such as length of hike, type of terrain, preferences
  3. Share examples of what you’ve done so they can gauge your skills, abilities and interests

Tuesday, 04/25/17: Spent much of this rainy day in Kooskia at the library catching up on internet chores, researching options to escape this neverending forecast of rain, and successfully finding Permetherin at the local feed store. Tip: Save money and use the dilute and soak method described in this blog post by Section Hiker: Permethrin Soak Method Guide. (One caution, after soaking and drying garments I recommend running through one rinse cycle in washing machine especially if you intend to rinse in back country water sources. I was surprised at how much milky solution came off during the first rinse. We don’t want that in the water supply nor leaching into our skin when we sweat.)

I drove south on Highway 13 then east on Highway 14 to one of the free campgrounds along South Fork of Clearwater River. It rained non-stop pretty much all day. I have a list of potential hikes for tomorrow along the Highway 14 Corridor (Salmon River Ranger District). Fingers crossed for a break in the rain but as you can see forecast called for 100% showers.

Wednesday, 04/26/17: At 6:45am, although it was raining on my car, I saw a patch of blue sky and felt optimistic about the possibilities. But no, it rained most of day. I took a short hike on Cougar Creek Trail #413, drove to Elk City, and enjoyed some mega rolling broiling creeks and waterfalls. Wednesday, 04/26/17: Grateful for my cold weather gear, especially this balaclava I designed and made out of micro fleece, and my 10-degree ZPacks sleeping bag.
Thursday, 04/27/17: With sleet and snow during the night, I was motivated to keep moving south, with hopes of finding seemingly elusive spring. 

I drove Highway 14 to Mount Idaho Grade Road to Grangeville, then 95 to White Bird Hill Summit and on to Riggins where I hoped to gather information about the Snake River Trail from the Hells Canyon Visitor’s Center. It sure looks like I found GREEN spring!

Wouldn’t this replica lookout be a great playhouse? I believe it was at the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest office in Grangeville

I was extremely disappointed in the information available at the Hells Canyon Visitor Center in Riggins. The staff member wasn’t helpful and the materials were sorely lacking. At least she was able to recommended USFS Road 241 (Race Creek Road) to Iron Phone Junction for views and dispersed camping.

Well this happened about 5000′ and far from the intended destination.

Got a little snow overnight. 

So very happy with my tiny house. 

Friday, 04/28/17: Race Creek Road had plentiful signs of spring.

Look who I found at Payette Lake in McCall. I’d hoped for a long walk along the shore but as you can see it was a tad cold. There was a biting wind blowing off the lake. 

I continued my travels southward, first on the 95 along the Salmon River, then the 55 along the Payette River. Just like elsewhere, they were broiling brown from the spring thaw. Maybe I’ll find spring in Boise?

 

Spring 2017 Road Trip: Days 51-61 (out of 78)

Links:

ID – Split Creek, Scenic Highway 12 Adventures

I was ready to find my climbing endorphins after a flattish hike along the Selway River the previous day. I stopped at nearby Fenn Ranger Station to solicit additional hiking options with Split Creek Trail #133 as today’s recommendation and ultimate selection.

The trailhead is just off Highway 12 (A Long and Winding Road) aka the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway

Crossing the Lochsa River on this lovely bridge marks the beginning of the hike. 

The trail was well signed and easy to follow. Even in the early season it was in good shape.

I like trails that begin with a warm up. This one started with about a half mile paralleling the river. Trillium were abundant. 

Surprises await. 

I watched the storm develop as I climbed ever higher. The trail was well designed with long winding switchbacks. My car is way down there on Highway 2.

My goal was the ridge. 

Synthyris (Kittentails) have become my favorite flower of Idaho this spring season. 

Sweet pea blooms. 

Finding this one solo dogwood tree blooming was a sure sign that I’d found spring. 

These yellow lilies were the predominant flower on trail today. Per a pamphlet from the Idaho Native Plant Society, these are called Dogtooth Violets (Erythronium grandiflorum). I’m more familiar with the alternate names, Fawn Lily or Glacier Lily.

The finally rain caught me before I made it to the top and with visibility gone, I decided I’d had enough and descended before the trail became a muddy slimy mess. It was exactly what I needed. My lungs and legs felt great. This hike reminded me of how much more I prefer sweeping views to river corridors. Since this is an out and back hike, you can extend to a 22 mile round trip option.

The only thing I disliked about this hike was TICKS! I found several and was reminded it was time to treat my clothes and gear with Sawyer Permetherin.

After my hike I drove back to the Selway River and explored O’Hara Creek Road, ultimately camping near the creek. There are many early season surprises when exploring backroads. 

Date(s) Hiked: April 24, 2017

Spring 2017 Road Trip: Day 57 (out of 78)

Links:

ID – Selway River, Scenic Highway 12 Adventures

Finding trails accessible and hikeable early season can be quite a challenge. The Selway River Trail #4 is one that was recommended. I was looking forward to getting in some miles and figured this would be a good rainy day hike if the forecast held. I found a nice river side camp for the night. Overnight low in my car was 50 vs 27 the previous night. Sure makes it hard to acclimate. 

Unfortunately much of the canyon was burned in 2015. Many areas have not been reopened and erosion damage is quite evident. 

Selway Falls were not what I’d classify as falls. I’m sure they are much more evident when the river isn’t raging. 

Well so much for best laid plans. It rained hard all night and was still raining at 9am. I wasn’t feeling very motivated to hike. So I spent the morning reading and hoping for a heavy rain reprieve. Around noon, a group of boaters landed on my private beach. I took that as a sign to get moving. By the time I arrived at the Race Creek Trailhead, the rain had stopped and it was looking like a gorgeous afternoon, perfect for hiking. 

My first hike in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness.

The river views . . . well all looked somewhat like this. 

What makes me smile besides big views? Wildflowers! This trail had a nice early season collection with shooting stars being the most prolific.

Wild Violet or Viola. 

Delphinium

Clematis

Woodland Star

These are typically blue, but as they die they transition to these pastels. I’ve been told these are Mertensia.

Even the dandelions were pretty. 

The trail came with a big warning. Rattlesnakes! This one scared the bejesus out of me. 

This one gave me plenty of warning.

Thankfully the trail was in great condition, so it was fairly easy to scan for these biters. I found them in a couple areas near rock outcroppings. I called these faux rattlers. 

I’ll take butterflies and skip the rattlesnakes in the future. 

With my late start, I hiked about 6 miles out before turning around. I would have loved to continue on to Moose Creek Ranger Station, but with so much rain in the forecast I wasn’t up for the 25 mile jaunt. There are lots of other trails to be explored with junctions off of the river trail. I met a young guy who was out for two weeks with his uncle. They’d both had successful bear hunts and had just resupplied for their second week

I spent a second night at my beach, watched a bald eagle fish while geese and deer shared a stroll. With the rain, temperatures dropped to 44 in my car. What will tomorrow bring? There’s a week of rain in the forecast.

Date(s) Hiked: April 23, 2017

Spring 2017 Road Trip: Day 56 (out of 78)

Links:

ID/MT – Snowshoe Falls, Scenic Highway 12 Adventures

After visiting the Charcoal Kilns along Highway 28, I continued north through Salmon and onto Highway 93. Soon I found signs for the CDT (Continental Divide Trail). 

I attempted access via both roads unsuccessfully, so I continued north and as things are meant to be I explored another forest service road and found my happy place.

After a restful 27 degree night, I continued north on 93 finding myself at the Continental Divide and the Montana border. Why am I going north? Do I really think I’ll find green spring in Montana? Soon enough I was heading west on the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway aka Highway 12: A Long and Winding Road. Back in Idaho, I stopped at the Lolo Pass Visitor Center to gather maps, literature and information about the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. They were a great resource.  Highway 12 parallels the Lochsa River where the boaters were hard at play. 

Access to Snowshoe Falls had me reversing course back into Montana. Although just a short jaunt, I needed time out of the car and with rain in the forecast I was motivated to be outside.

Trillium sightings made me feel like I’d found spring. 

A double cascade! 

Lily love. 

Synthyris (Kittentails)

Date(s) Hiked: April 22, 2017

Spring 2017 Road Trip: Day 55 (out of 78)

Links:

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