This spring, my wife and I embarked on a long planned 24 mile hike along the gorgeous, rugged, and remote wilderness Hells Canyon National Historic Trail, along the Snake River.
The hike began not on foot, but aboard the Kirby Ranch triple jet, jetboat. We hitched a ride from Pittsburgh Landing, with the annual Hells Canyon Adventure Run. With an above average snowpack melting off, the river was flowing at an impressive 70,000 cubic feet per second, which made for a rollicking ride up river. I was impressed by the size of some of the rapids and holes. You could cut the tension in the boat with a knife. Water levels inundated the trail at two spots. First just below Sheep Creek, and the second just above Kirkwood ranch. River sandals, and trekking poles made the knee deep, ice cold water non-problematic. Once on shore, and with the runners ahead of us, we had the trail essentially to ourselves for three days, only seeing two other sets of hikers, hiking in. It was a rainy, cloudy trip, which made for poor light conditions for images, and wet days hiking, though we never had precipitation in camp. This canyon is a scorcher when the sun is out, with barely any shade, and is filled with rattlesnakes, so the cold and wet conditions had its benefits for sure. Spring in the Hells is wonderfully green, and full of ground cover life. All the feeder streams were full, though I found drinking water to be more challenging to locate than anticipated.
Map overlay below broken into three days.
I leave you with this link to Pete Seegers wonderful song “Hells Canyon / Dont Ask What A River Is For”. This was my trail song I carried with me in my head. Click this link to buy the song through the Smithsonian.