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Hell Hike And Raft 2015 Part Three: Backpacking - Seven Devils - Idaho

Posted on November 8, 2015 at 4:35 PM

Hell Hike And Raft 2015 Part Three: Backpacking - Seven Devils - Idaho


Latitude 45.349311 Longitude 116.51235  Elevation : 7600 feet

The Hell Hike And Raft 2015 trip is a little difficult to put into words. The experience defied all expectations and was epic in the truest sense of the word. Trying to include it all, as one, would be fraudulent, so the trip has been sectioned into a series of articles to keep information aligned, easy to access, and not too terribly long. Each article will be linked once I have it published and you can read all articles associated with my HHAR 2015 trip within a single article.


Day One of Backpacking:

As any adventure would begin, you wake up leaning towards the early side and you jump-start your own morning routine. Our overnight visit was hosted in the small town of New Meadows with Meadows Valley Motel, sharing the occupancy with my favorite New Meadows morning visit, Roadhouse Java. Roadhouse Java is the coffee house and they serve up a handful of breakfast and beverage options, my favorite being the coffee and croissants. The HHAR 2015 crew was prepared and we had organized our gear the night before, after receiving the safety speech from our super sweet Senior Guide, and Owner, Becky. She laid down the guidelines, expectations, safety rules, weather reports and our trail route. America's Rafting Company really set a tone from the very start of our interactions and proved to raise the bar on a day-to-day basis.

Once morning of arrived, the entire team was ready to hit the road. We met with our two trail guides, Woody and Rick, packed our gear into the adventure van, and burned rubber. The ride to the trailhead amounts to about a 2.5-hour drive and while climbing to an elevation of 7600’ proved to be more than I expected, I truly thought it took just over an hour to arrive.

With excitement in the air, loaded-up packs and trail bonds already formed we headed up Goat’s Pass. A rugged and steep trail not really found on the maps, consisting of evolving terrain initiated at the jump; it had the entire crew rightfully noting our Seven Devils introduction. Homage of Idaho was given out in handfuls while overlooking the Tower of Babel and Mirror Lake, but our crew didn’t realize the astonishment had hardly just begun. The entire day continued to prevail while we passed lake after lake full of whispering waters, stuffed our faces amongst the Seven Devils and camped out overnight at Shelf Lake.

Day Two of Backpacking:

I knew from previous research that day two would be one of the easiest days while backpacking in Idaho, the terrain would be pretty straight forward and we had a lot to see. The trail hovering its fair share of gentle ups and downs, unveiling the wild and scenic beauty of Idaho, piggybacked with a historic hot spot was our itinerary. If that kind of day doesn’t get you excited -- backpacking probably isn’t going to be your thing.

The ladies loved passing Lily Pad Lake as it genuinely earned its name, and the guides, Woody and Rick, opted that Bernard Lakes would be perfect for cramming some lunch into our bellies. Many in our crew decided a lunchtime swim was the perfect remedy to a hot day. After lunch and before heading towards Hibbs Cow Camp for which we would call home for the night, we jaunted up to Dry Diggins Lookout. Arriving to the Lookout meant we made it to Dry Diggins Ridge sitting at a substantial 7800’.

This particular ridge holds a few statistical glories for those who like numbers. Dry Diggins sits 6400’ above the Snake River and provides a view nearly 1000’ higher than the best-known view of the Snake from the opposing banks of Oregon {Hat Point}. Want to know a quietly kept secret about day two? By day’s end our crew had the pleasure of keeping our interactions to a total of 5 people and a pup made of two separate groups. And while setting camp that night, I clearly understood the state’s label of “Scenic Idaho”.

Day Three of Backpacking:

Hibbs Cow Camp packed quite the personality and that’s exactly where we settled in at the end of day two. I was able to catch a glimpse of a white tail while wandering in the morning and we were all happily hydrating with the ice-cold mountain spring running through camp. Our America’s Rafting Company Guides made sure over dinner we learned a little background about the area. I really enjoyed the story telling, but while I didn’t want to get to bed too early, knew in the back of my mind come the morning of Day Three, we were to trudge through some wicked hot temperatures and a vertical descent of more than 6000’ to reach the banks of Snake River. I packed in fairly early and organized most of my gear that night.

The crew, cautiously departed on Day Three for our steep descend to Snake River. I was relishing and honestly, rejoicing in the usage of my lower muscle mass in this new movement of downhill traveling, but quickly realized the temps were rising faster than I was moving. Rick, our guide, made sure we enjoyed the creek crossings and waterfalls along the way for cooling off and topping-off water bottles, but newsflash– hiking more than 6 miles into triple-digit weather is genuinely hard. And it slowed us down just enough for me to really enjoy the scenery. I couldn’t hardly believe how after every mile we were dropping further and further below the ridgelines, losing elevation along with the summit views. I think I repeated that sentence at least six times.

The crew pushed through the wicked hot day and we each prevailed past any previously set limits. The payoff for Day Three was Snake River and let me tell you, once again, Idaho didn’t disappoint. I’d be lying if I said I felt nothing at the first sight of Class V rapids from the Snake. Each sense was heightened and deeply engaged with the smell, sound and unwavering view. It had been the talk of the entire day and on Day Two we took our first view, but it had been from 6000’ above, so I almost couldn’t believe I’d made it. That most certainly could have been the slight side effect to heat stroke, but I’m betting the entire crew felt something of the same.

The luscious landscape, rugged ridgelines and prominent peaks of the Seven Devils were breathtaking and the route we backpacked was exhilarating. I pushed through limits I didn’t know I had and I hurdled exhaustion like never before. Altitude may have played a role in a couple setbacks I experienced, but I would definitely do it all over again. 

It’s important to include, the backpacking portion of this multi-day adventure is not necessarily a number one choice for all, as noted by Americas Rafting Company. But if you are up for some Seven Devils seclusion, bounds of Idaho beauty, and a few boastful bragging rights America’s Rafting Company is prepared to get you there. And they’ll get you there with lunch packed and dinner waiting. For those of us that enjoy a bit of physical challenge during their bouts of backpacking it really doesn’t get any better than what America’s Rafting Company provides. Thank you so much to the committed personnel of America’s Rafting Company, River Rick, Woody, John, Hines, Andrew, Parker and Becky for leading an unforgettable and truly epic adventure of 2015 through their backcountry backyard.



* Hell Hike And Raft 2015 Part One: Backpacking Gear

* Hell Hike And Raft 2015 Part Two: The Crew

*Hell Hike And Raft 2015 Part Four: Whitewater Rafting - Snake River

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