The snow is melting in the hills, rivers and lakes are filling, and the blossoms are blooming! Idaho is coming alive! It seems like a switch was hit in just a week, as the dreary late winter atmosphere has been broken.
This weekend's adventures took my brother and I to unnamed trails adjacent to Wolf Flats and Warm Springs recreational areas along the Snake River. We camped overnight by one of the trail heads that takes you to 'Thousand Springs' and 'Hell's Hole'. We hiked about 6 miles round trip, eventually leaving the trail to hike up a ridge to get an overlook view of the tight valley. The view was incredible! The spring runoff provided fresh, cold water to drink (with a life-straw for safety). Fresh bear, moose, and deer tracks intersected the trail many times keeping us alert to possible encounters. My brother and I also explored the back water channels of the snake river by kayak and paddle board. We saw osprey, beaver, and trout. The waters were very clear though crowded by vegetation. The main channel was moving too swiftly for us, and since we didn't have a second car we didn't want to walk a few miles to get back, so we stuck to the calmer waters. Still, the waters at Warm Springs were sufficient to satisfy our evening's adventure.
Surprisingly, the trails we hiked are commonly used by dirt bikers. We found one who had crushed his hand in a gnarly crash. If you are into dirt biking, these trails are incredible spots and traveled by others, but keep in mind that the wild can be unforgiving. Gratefully we were there to help the guy get his bike up and administer what first aide he would accept from us.
The nights are still cold this time of year with temperatures dropping below freezing in the early hours of the morning. Pack accordingly as you venture. We found plenty of wood to burn lying on the forest floor, and were warm enough camping with sleeping bags rated to 10 degrees. Hammock camping is my preferred method of camping as the gear is light and sufficient for most situations out here in the warmer months.
I took a solo trip to the Palisade reservoir today to kayak. The storm clouds of the day before had dissipated leaving clear skies and warm temps that persisted till mid-afternoon at which point, storms erupted over the mountains and quickly moved over the reservoir. The wind died around noon allowing for the water to calm and form a glass-like surface. I paddled about 6 miles in total, starting and finishing at the Calamity boat ramp. I took a break on the southern shore of the narrow neck in the western section of the reservoir. The smell of undisturbed pine forest, coupled with the vibrant sounds of forest life made for quite the peaceful nap. Snowcapped peaks rose above bright and bold green hills covered in pines and aspens. A variety of waterfowl dotted the sky and fish jumped around me. The reservoir is a popular spot for boaters and fisherman alike. I shared the vast lake with about a dozen fishing and sport boats, but they distracted little from the overall beauty and serenity of the day.
The drive to the Palisade Reservoir, specifically Calamity boat ramp and campground, is one of my favorite drives out here! The dirt road takes you from the hills (where views of the river valley below are incredibly picturesque), down along the river and past ranches, onto the hills, and into the mountain forests that line the reservoir. The road passes Fall Creek Falls, a beautiful falls that flows right into the Snake River. If you only have time for a drive, I recommend trying this one out, I don't think you'll be disappointed!
Here are a few pictures from this weekend, enjoy!!