Started At:
Clark Fork, Idaho
Ridge on hike

We started very early before 6am and walked through town to the Spring Creek Road, a gravel road parallel to Lightening Creek. We’d driven up to find the trail head yesterday, which is about 2 miles in just off the main road. The trail is covered in brush, so we almost missed seeing it. I noticed what looked like a path by looking between the bushes…and that was it! Hardly a significant trail head beginning.

The bits of trail in the woods were clear, but in open spaces it was pretty overgrown. We were able to follow it until it led right up to private property. So, Yeti and I headed down a main road and then bushwhacked around the private property to find the trail again beyond the house. We did see forest boundary signs, but it was not entirely clear if we managed to stay on public land the whole way. Luckily it was a short and not too dense bushwhack.

For a short while, the trail was basically an old jeep track, but soon we had to branch off right and ended up in a horrendous bushwhack with dense brush and trees. Man, were we glad when we hit a woods road. This lead to a stream crossing (after passing by an intimidating sign saying Private – VIDEO cameras in action!) and finally a real trail…No. 120.

Trail 120 had good tread and immediately started climbing. This is when Yeti started to have significant breathing issues and we were stopping every 10-20 feet to let him catch his breath. The trail continued up with great views as we got higher.  The full climb was over 3,500 feet of elevation gain! We stopped for lunch in a shady tree-lined spot and I was wondering if we’d make the miles. After lunch as the trail climbed, I suggested at one point that we do a sit down break and Yeti readily agreed. I asked him if he really wanted to keep going, he was so clearly struggling and had taken several Nitro already. He replied to my query that he was not having fun. But, he still said, “I hate to give up, let’s go a bit more….”  After about ten minutes, however, he said, “I can’t make it, do you mind if we turn back.”

I was actually relieved. Watching your partner struggle so much was not fun either. We’d made it a bit over 8 miles up the mountain. So, we decided to go back to our lunch spot which was flattish and camp there; we’d hike out in the morning and go home.

It was a nice afternoon and evening…a bit longer to be in camp than what we are used to and my silly E-book didn’t work. I did not realize that you had to “activate” the E-books before they’d work! So, I had nothing to read on my phone except stuff I’d read already.

The night passed by quietly….