Having reached the recreation resort town of Pine, Idaho, I added enough food to my bags to get me through to Stanley. It was a weekend and there was a lot of road traffic to dodge and be aware of. The only cafe in town checked the freezer for a vegie burger and found one for me.
The next morning I woke up early to get to the Johnson Bridge Hot Springs. Located beneath an actual car bridge... this spot was still a gem located on the edge of a forest service campground.
I made it into Featherville by 11am and ordered up the best breakfast I perhaps have ever eaten. I sat in the cafe for almost three hours drinking coffee and swapping stories with the owners.
ATV's and motorcycles soon replaced cars as I ascended to smoky views of the Sawtooth Mountains. Walking into dusk on the Roaring River Trail, I flushed off 7 Bull Elk just as two horse riders were making their way up the mountain to intersect with that which is truly wild and free.
I finally escaped the heat of Idaho's dry terrain and would remain in tree country for the remainder of my long distance hike.
The middle fork of the Boise River holds a multitude of simple hot springs to explore. It makes me wonder if the river is on a major fault line.
Placer Miners worked their gold claims.
In the Mining town of Atlanta, it turns out that the owner of the bar and cafe will allow Hot Springs Trail and Idaho Centennial Trail hikers to send their packages to him as a resupply stop.
The next biggest synchronicity was to run directly into Clay Jacobson who is the go to guy for the Idaho Centennial Trail. We had been emailing each other about the ICT on and off for about a year now. Nobody knows about the trails of Idaho more than Clay does.
He was in the region to do trail maintenance with a group of volunteers for the Idaho Trail Association which included the Princess of Darkness (P.O.D.). It was through one of P.O.D.'s podcasts that we first even heard of the existence of the Hot Springs Trail. Everyone's constellations and planets must have been in alignment. :)
There were three very unique hot springs near the trail head that would be leading me next into the Sawtooth Wilderness. Each had a sense of unbridled beauty to them.
It was awesome to be high up in the mountains of the greater Pacific Northwest again. I felt at home amidst the plentiful sub-alpine wildflowers and trees.
Not only did I take a more direct alternate away from the Hot Springs Trail, I also took an ICT alternate into the Heart of the Sawtooth Mountains which possessed some of the most beautiful alpine lakes surrounded by picture perfect granitic peaks.
It was the perfect opportunity to take a cold plunge that could awaken any soul from a deep slumber.