From the generosity and data collection center of the Moose Creek Ranger Station we headed westbound along the Selway National Scenic River. Our goal here was to reach the Selway Falls Guard Station and trailhead and then head south along the official western route of the Idaho Centennial Trail.
By following the western route we could walk into Elk City by foot and resupply instead of sending a box to a remote Ranch either along the Salmon or Selway Rivers. We tend to want to make our journeys simple and not have to fully micro manage our entire strategy of walking a long distance trail. In this way, we trust more in the process and adapt to the circumstances available in any given region or community.
The Selway River was very popular, however, not for hikers. The only people we saw on the trail were rafters who had made camp for the day and that were heading out on the trail to fish. We also had to jump off trail to avoid an on-coming mule train whose conductor was the remote ranger from the Moose Creek Guard Station.
Down on the river, the elevation was only 2000 feet and so it was plenty warm out. We took the plunge into the river on many occasions.
The river rafters, and especially the commercial rafters, were very generous. It was odd, because on the many trails that we had taken over the years, most people didn't know there was a famous long distance route in their very own backyards. But here we were on a very seldom used State Recreation Trail and everyone seems to have heard of it. As a matter of fact, they often said it was on their bucket list to hike one day.
These rafters often brought everything imaginable including the kitchen sink. Seriously. And so they were eager to share their cold drinks and wondrous supplies of delicacies. These people ate the very best of everything. They even played volleyball on the beaches that they camped on.
From Selway Falls we headed South once more on the Meadow Creek National Recreation Trail (Trail 726) to the Meadow Creek Guard Station. Huckleberries, deer fawn, and thunder storms grabbed our attention as we then made our way up towards Anderson Butte on Trail 809.
The views from Anderson Butte were tremendous and awe inspiring looking towards the east. However recent fires over the last decade could be seen extensively towards the horizon.
An old fire tower was open for us to climb up to which increased our gazing potential.
The wood was so old that I had to inspect every step in case the boards broke through with our added weight. It was amazing that this tinker toy was still standing after all these years.
From the top of the world on Anderson Butte we took an alternate on the Anderson Butte National Recreation Trail and walked into the town of Elk City before dark. This dinky town had it all for someone coming out of the wilderness..... a well stocked grocery store with inexpensive prices, a couple of restaurants, and of course, a basic motel room for us to wash off the trail dust that doubled for sun protection.