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  • Writer's picturefherbolsheimer

Section 1

Updated: Jun 25, 2021

Murphy Hot Springs - Hammett, ID

Distance: 101 miles

Number of Days: 5-6 Days

Day 1 - May 21

10 miles

We set out on our adventure on May 21, 2021 leaving from our comfortable homes in Boise, ID around 9:00 AM for a 3 hr 30 min drive to the Idaho Centennial Trailhead (ICT). After 1 lb of chicken strips at Buster's Restaurant and Saloon outside of Twin Falls, ID we traveled through Rogerson, ID down Three Creek Rd where it intersects with the trail. The official trail begins about 1.7 miles south of Three Creek Rd. near Murphy Hot Springs.The short hike to the trailhead involved crossing a couple of makeshift barbwire gates and wondering where the trail actually started. We were joined by our ride to the trailhead s/o Trent Jansen and his dog Apollo which helped settle the nerves of what we were actually going to do.

We felt prepared, but 6 months of research can only do so much and we were not sure what to expect. We finally came upon an orange metal post with the letters N and V carved into it symbolizing Nevada. We took a few pictures and began the journey just before 2:00.

The big concerns entering this section of the hike were the extreme temperatures, rattlesnakes, and not having enough water. Most hikers start in mid May to avoid the warm summer temperatures of the shadeless desert. Leading up to the hike we would check the weather everyday hoping for a nice 70 degree day. What we got was a 35 degree day with a mix of snow and rain. The trail was a old single track road that would only be accessible with a 4x4 vehicle, mud would build up on our shoes with every step but we pressed on. Lucky for us the cloudy and rainy weather also helped keep the rattlers hidden.

As you can imagine in the desert, water is scarce, the first 35 miles of the hike does not have a water source, so hikers either cache water beforehand, or carry what they need. We chose to each carry about 6 liters following a rule of 5 mi = 1 liter of water.

If you are good at math that makes us a little short... but it worked out. We decided to set up our tent around 6:00 just in time for it to downpour.

Day 2 - May 22

20 miles

If you have hiked with Steve, you know that he is known for turning a 5 mi hike into a 15 mi loop. Day two was no different. We didn’t have a set goal in mind but Steve didn’t stop till we hit 20 miles. It was nice to see a couple of deer and an elk in the distance as we treked. We shared the trail most of the day with annoying cows that would continue to run down our path.

We knew that we only had 8 miles to our first water source so we set up ourselves for an easy day on day 3. We ended the day watching the sunset and trying to recover from the day, we could hear coyotes barking near us as we went to sleep.

Day 3 - May 23

8 miles

The goal of the day was to make it to water aka Indian Hot Springs. Although it was 5 miles and 1,000 ft of elevation on a rocky road off the trail. It was our plan to drop into the canyon to fill our water and relax for the day. We got to the hot springs around noon and I was surprised to see a new bridge had been recently built to cross the Bruneau River.

The hot springs was too warm to enjoy but it was a relaxing day spent next to the river.

Day 4 - May 24

24 miles

We decided to head out early to hike the elevation before the sun peaked over the canyon walls. Making it to our next water source Clover Creek around 3. We stopped to rest for a couple hours before pressing on to Winter Camp, a cool homestead along Clover Creek that looked to be abandoned.

Recovering from the long day we assessed our blisters on our feet and slept well as we could see thunderstorms in the distance.

Day 5 - May 25

22 miles

We hiked a well graded road to Bruneau Canyon Overlook where we met Ron, a retired man from New York. He keeps a truck parked in the west and flys to a city each summer to pick it up and travel when his wife lets him. We didn’t have to explain what we were doing to him because he already knew. He had lunch with us and understood our reasons for hiking, he had done something similar when he was our age.

We continued on our way through a bombing range to a water cache that Steve had set the week before. We set up camp trying to think about what we had packed in our resupply box that we would pick up in Hammet.

Day 6 - May 26

17 miles to Hammett (22 total)

We woke up early to make sure we would would make it to the post office by noon to pick up our package. The morning was interesting, I always thought to myself thank God there isn’t any bulls in these fields, most of the hike we just encountered cows in the fields we hiked in, so by the time we noticed the bull standing in the path we could hear his grunt and decided to give him some space walking off trail to avoid a rodeo. Really not much you can do in the middle of nowhere but throw your brother in front. The trail follows a highway for a few miles, where a women from the area, notices us hiking, and pulls over to take a picture for her blog. Also along the highway an aggressive pit bull, acted like it wanted a bite out of my leg. We made it to the post office before they closed and hung out in the parking lot charging our devices from the outlet. While sitting in the parking lot, looking like we just walked through the desert. An animated man comes to get his mail. He asks us if we are hikers and when we started. After he gets his mail and wishes us luck, he gets back in his truck and backs up stopping again to ask us a question, he says "so you guys are averaging around 20 miles a day then right? Do you think you will keep that up?" Steve gives him a direct "NO" as the man smiles and says, "I got my answer. I hope you guys get 19 then." We enjoyed his enthusiasm.

The three questions we ask at each resupply:

  1. Where can we fill up our water?

  2. Where can we charge our batteries?

  3. Where can we throw away our trash?

Luckily for us Hammett delivered on all three! See Section 2. Hammett to Hwy 20.


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