The Idaho Centennial Trail through this desert region followed both seldom used and defunct roads.
Often 1000's of grasshoppers would flush away from me in waves as i brushed through the longer grasses. One type of grass here should go by the name of razor blades.
A fox floated by me as if it were an apparition.
On one stretch... i wondered if there were badgers in this region.
Within an hours time, one magically appeared.
The badger apparently was digging up ground squirrels for its supper.
Zoner's Hot Springs Trail route through this desert region is an improvement over the Idaho Centennial Trail in that it eliminates the need to stash or cache any water on route. It may be longer, but it is also more scenic and takes the hiker into two different hot spring complexes.
Once again I camped near the rim of the Bruneau River before descending to replenish my body with more liquids.
There is a great trail both leading down to the river and rising up and out of the canyon on the other side. The crossing was shallow in mid July. Just keep your eyes open to respect the poison ivy lining the river's edge.
The desert is great place to learn to respect all of life in general.
Arriving at Indian Bathtub Hot Springs... the water was less hot, but relaxing. There were even fish bathing with me in the lower pool. The lush banks of the river as well as the sound of rushing water fully opened up one's senses of one's greater reality.
However, unfortunately, as i was exiting the hot springs i began to notice strange pink worms crawling up and down my legs. Into the River I plunged to wash off the potential parasites. So much for relaxation... but a burst of sudden excitement has its benefits as well.
On my last bridge crossing of the Bruneau River I came across two retired gentlemen fishing for their relaxation. It must have been odd for them to see a dirty bearded guy suddenly disappear under their bridge to make a home of it in its shade. Needless to say, they were soon lured to a new place along the river. With fresh water in tow, i soon reconnected with the official Idaho Centennial Trail. It was only 15 miles to Hammett. At dusk I decided to camp away from the Snake River and the occasional farmhouses on route. However, I just couldn't sleep. So at one in the morning I packed up and began walking the roads without using a flashlight. Dogs barked in the near distance as a farmer plowed his fields under starlight.
At three in the morning I ducked out into some bushes before crossing the Snake River. At five, cars whizzed by me on dirt roads on their way to work at sunup. I arrived in Hammett to find everything closed. My goal was to hitch 17 miles west into Mountain Home. It took an hour to get my ride. A factory worker dropped me off at the edge of town. As i walked by a well loved Mexican diner, I noticed the owner planting beautiful flowers. I complimented him on his wonderful artistic eye and recent renovations. His reaction was to gift me 20 dollars.
In my two days off in Mountain Home, I bought new shoes and sent a package ahead to Whitewater Ranch on the Salmon River located in the middle of the state of Idaho. Hitching back to Hammett, it was now 26 miles to my next water source and the temps were in the high 90's.
About halfway there, a gentleman with his brother stopped to see if I could use some of his water he had stashed in his vehicle. He was an avid fan of the Idaho Centennial Trail.
Turns out there was a lot of water flowing at mile 143 which wasn't mentioned in the guide. It provided for some wonderful relief. My custom was to soak my shirt and hat with water to help keep me cooled down as i proceeded towards my next water source.
Near Skull Rock, a forest service ranger stopped to talk with me. He insisted on giving me two bottles of water and two bottles of ice cold gatorade.
On my approach to Anderson Ranch Reservoir, i was literally thinking how nice it would be if someone stopped to offer me some ice tea. And no kidding, within the hour I came across a real life cowboy working on fences. As I neared him, he walked to his truck and lifted his hand in the air towards me with a lipton iced tea in his hand. As matter of fact... he ended up gifting me three bottles of iced tea.
Tap Here for Part 24 of the HST
Part 3 of the ICT