Monday, April 18, 2016

Exploring Snowy Trails Crooked River and Lamar

On Sunday we decided to drive to cooler climate for our hike.  Sometimes you just have to go and check out the snow conditions in person to see how your spring hiking options are shaping up.  We drove to Edna Creek Campground for the starting point of our hike.  Edna Creek Campground is located 56 miles northeast of Boise and is located in a Ponderosa pine forest along Highway 21.  As the actual road into the campground is closed we hiked down to the Crooked River Trail that runs parallel to Crooked River which is about a mile from the campground turnoff.  I actually also have letterboxes planted on this trail although they are still under snow at this juncture. 

Our morning did start quite crisp at around 30 degrees.   However, by the time we returned to the truck it had reached about 66 degrees.  You warm up so quickly on the trail that Anthony and I were shedding layers within the first mile of our hike.  There really is something to moving and staying warm.  When I use to watch survival shows I would always think the folks were insane for wearing such thin layers in cold temperatures but now that I have tested the theory myself there is really something to dressing light, working hard physically and staying warm.  Any time I think otherwise I start perspiring almost immediately and then regret overdressing.  I am still learning the art of layering properly but I am making huge strides in this area.

Crooked River Trail is a 6.6-mile out-and-back that meanders along the Crooked River and boasts abundant fishing holes and a sandy beach.  Directions to the actual trail head:   From Idaho City, head east on ID 21/Ponderosa Pine Scenic Rte. for 17.7 miles. Turn right onto Crooked River Rd./National Forest Develop Rd. 384. Follow 1.1 miles to the trail-head on the right. 

We were able to navigate a mile or two of the actual Crooked River Trail until we came upon the narrow rocky inclined section of the trail that was completely covered in avalanche style snow.  Without additional equipment like ropes and our ice/snow grippers we were not about to continue in the direction we were headed.  It was just not worth the risk of falling into the river.  We turned around and located the starting point of Lamar Trail and hiked until we found ourselves at the Whoop-Um-Up Park N\' Ski Area.  The Lamar Trail was in excellent condition with the exception of a few trees crossing the path.  Very little snow remains on the trail and it was not muddy at all.  However, it was a bit confusing once we reached what we thought was the top as the trail just sort of seemed to end without any clear indication of which direction to head in.  Fortunately Anthony did manage to maneuver us to the snowshoe/cross country skiing trails and we hiked through the snow to Whoop-Um-Up.  In all we hiked almost 8 miles total with an elevation gain of about 800 feet.  It was a beautiful day for hiking!

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