Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Hot Springs Trail ~ Part 27 / Idaho Centennial Trail ~ Part 6 ~ Middle Fork of the Salmon River to Big Creek

The infamous Marble Creek Trail was next to plow through. In Years past the lower end and upper end to this route is usually maintained with the middle section being in rapid deterioration. 

Often you would have to play hide and seek with this trail since it crosses back and forth over the creek over 40 times. Sometimes you can easily miss the turn off that takes you out of the drainage and above its rim usually on the east side. If you couldn't find remnants of the trail on either side of the creek, it could most likely be found above the drainage in good shape.

A trail crew had already cleared the upper most five miles of Marble Creek and is said to have cleared the entire route to the Middle Fork of the Salmon River by the end of the season. I got a 27 mile day out of it, when 35 was my norm.

Idaho is rich in old and dilapidated mines. Ruins and ghostly establishments glitter the gold dust and fools gold filled drainages.

Lookout Ridge offered great overviews of Wilderness as far as the eye could see all the way to the Montana border where the Bitterroot Mountains formed a natural boundary between the two states.

Wolf prints and bear scat showed me that unseen eyes were always trained upon me in bewilderment.

The Lookout Mountain Trail had just been cleared and I was wondering if I would catch the trail crew responsible for such effortless walking.

Yep... found em...

 Lida, AJ, and Jake were hard at work cutting logs by hand and retreading trail where past fires eroded the pathway back into a blank slate carpeted by subalpine flowers.

Amazingly, this is the same crew that went back to finish clearing the Marble Creek Trail later that summer.

Zoner was still ahead of me somewhere. It turns out that he extended his route down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River to its intersection with Big Creek to include more Hot Springs to soak in.

With stops at Hot Springs, an extra two days of hiking is being made available in this splendor of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.

Down I went into the vast Big Creek Drainage where Lewis Woodpeckers seemed to laugh at my arrival and concerns about fording this body of water. 

This large creek and small river ended up only splashing up as high as my knees.



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