We started the hike from Indian Creek Campground out on the peninsula. The amazing Ellen and her pup Tucker gave us a ride out to the starting point. Thanks Ellen!!!
After saying goodbye we headed straight into a cross country section. We had a chance to skip it in favor of taking a road but wanted to get our feet wet with hiking through brush and sage. One of the first creeks we crossed had some poison ivy but we managed to stay clear of it.
One of the highlights of the day was hiking through Painted Canyon and doing some rock scrambling. The colors of the rock were magnificent and we had the place all to ourselves. Didn’t look like this canyon had seen much traffic probably due to its fairly remote location.
We camped at a primitive road crossing the first night and saw some car campers with a 4x4 rig that had the same idea to camp there. They invited us over for a fresh cooked dinner which warmed my belly and meant I had double dinner that first night!
Day 2 was just the first of many days that would totally kick my butt. This trail, I’m slowly figuring out, is much different that the others I’ve hiked. It’s incredibly tough on gear on my body with no plush, cushy trail to follow. Within the first few days my shirt started to rip apart, my cold soak food canister cracked, my water filter broke, my shoes were torn up and just hiking in shorts probably wasn’t going to cut it- temps out here are cold.
As the day progressed, the route reconnected with the Owyhee Reservoir and the red line on our map told us to walk around the perimeter. Sounds simple in theory but standing in our way mainly, was a giant rock outcropping that gave us two options: scramble up to some game trails and go over it or get to swimmin’. After some deliberation and Breakaway testing out the water, we chose the later. We repacked our belongings as best as possible, synched our packs tight (there was no current and th packs gave us some buoyancy) and swim, scooted, climbed, trashed doggie paddled our way around. The only casualty was some trail mix I left in my hip pocket but I'm ok with that.
That evening led us to a brushy canyon and around 6 the rain started to drizzle. By 7 we were in a bit of a predicament, a highly vegetated area with steep terrain, the rain pouring down and the sun bidding us adieu which meant dropping temps were closing in. With some quick thinking, Breakaway suggested we escape the brush by climbing above a rock outcropping and there just happened to be a little bench for us to quickly set up camp.
The next days went by with on and off rain and mixture of cross country and primitive road walking.
Our last cross country miles into Rome gave us one of our biggest bushwacking challenges yet- scampering down one side of the canyon, crossing Jordan Creek and wrestling 7 foot, 500 gram cattails on the way back up. Breakaway did alot of the heavy lifting pushing all his bodyweight on them to forge a path. I honestly felt as if I were in a carnival funhouse where the floor vibrates a d shakes to disrupt your balance. It was another case of what I like to call ankle roulette. One step might be on firm ground while the next sinks 6 inches into the bog while the next you catch a rock and turns your ankle 45 degrees.
I was very excited to get to Rome.