Well. I knew there hadn't been recent trail maintenance--the sequestration took care of that. A bold spirit? I wasn't so sure, but I packed a GPS just to be on the safe side. And a hefty dose of Technu.
I was bound for Spring Creek, aiming to hike up onto the benches there, but aside from that I had no plan. On Google Earth I could still see parts of a trail, which is unusual in the canyon these days. I decided to wing it and hope for the best.
The drive was lovely:
And included some slightly creepy houses, in the middle of nowhere and definitely off the grid.
|So there's a tower behind this one. Maybe not off the grid.|
The first 3 miles cruised along the Hells Canyon reservoir, where the Snake River is disappointingly corralled into a sluggish flow. It was easy going and warm though, and I made good time to the mouth of McGraw Creek, where, my guidebook informed me, a waterspout had obliterated the trail that once ran up the creek. I pondered this. A waterspout? On land? But there was no denying something big had happened here.
I was encouraged to find a decent trail climbing the south side of the Spring Creek draw. It was easy to lose in the teasel, but I always picked it up again. Fortunately the thick rush of vegetation never materialized, and I was able to sidestep the short poison ivy.
|In fall the ivy turns a lovely orange and red shade. Makes it easier to avoid...|
The views on the bench, two hours in, were amazing.
|Four? Four what? Miles? from where to where?|
|I was getting a little concerned, but finally found some water.|
|Pretty, pretty pine grove.|
I had planned to stop much earlier but found myself hiking all the way to McGraw Creek, where there is a private cabin and lots of bear poop. As I approached, a bobcat ran away.
|Looking down into McGraw Creek.|
I camped near the creek and was greatly tempted to bushwhack down it the next day, but decided not to tempt fate and retraced my steps.
My spirit was apparently bold enough.