Day 4 Hell Hike and Raft 2015 — Day 3 of Backpacking

The dreaded day three was here. Everything was literally down hill from Hibbs Cow Camp. The distance from our camp to the river was somewhere between six and a half to seven miles. It is hard to know the exact mileage due to the the shifting of the trail. The trail is poorly maintained by the local agencies but the crew of Americas Rafting Company put in a ton of work and did an amazing job keeping the trails passable.

Without their work we would not have been able to make it through to the river. The trail does not see many hikers but that number is slowly growing. The hard part of this hike is not the navigation it is the six thousand foot descent from Hibbs Cow Camp to the banks of the Snake River.

The trail is best described in six different types of terrain. First comes the forest. You pass through lush trees and mountain streams with rocks covered on moss. The second stage is fire damaged old growth that is being over taken by scrub weeds.

The crew taking a quick break. Photo by Kovas of Midwest Basecamp

Finding our way down through the tall weeds. Photo by Kovas of Midwest Basecamp

The third is a steep trail that crosses back and froth between two mountains that form a canyon. The trail leads hikers through several stream crossings and beautiful waterfalls. The forth is less steep trail that skirts the edges of the canyon becoming less steep with the occasional steep decline. Lots of crab grass and other tall weeds to push through.

Jen of The Campsite Blog cheezing it up on the trail. Photo by Rozane aka Mountain Matron

Taking a photo of Pablo of Wheres Pablo taken by Thom of Tau Spotting

The fifth type terrain leads near very fast flowing water as it dumps into the Snake River. You traverse through green tunnels of black berry bushes and small sapling tress. The sixth and final terrain you find yourself in is the banks of the river. The trail eventually opens up into large rock faces and a rocky beach.

Taking a break near the stream that runs into the Snake River. Photo by Kovas from Midwest Basecamp

Relaxing on the banks of the Snake River. Photo by Kovas from Midwest Basecamp

This was by far the hardest day emotionally, physically, and mentally. As we made our way down the mountain into Hells Canyon the temperature continued to rise. Several of us had a hard time staying hydrated and keeping our body temperatures in check. We found ourselves hiking from shady spot to shady spot. We would find out later that the temperature that day in the canyon would surpass triple digits.

The third day of backpacking is the most rewarding for me. I was able to watch a group of incredibly strong people battle their way into hell and back out again to be rewarded with great food, drinks, and laughter on the banks of the Snake River. This year I felt a whole lot better on the final day of backpacking despite my overheating and dehydration issues. The promise of cold beverages on the river was a driving force to help keep is putting one foot in front of the other.

To view more Hell Hike and Raft photos, videos and follow the rest of the adventure please make sure to visit my Hell Hike and Raft 2015 page.

Adam Nutting relishes being an avid backpacker, hiker, and all-around adventure junkie. While he currently spends his time hiking in the backcountry of southern Arizona, he grew up in Missouri, where he was naturally inclined to spend as much time as he could outdoors. Adam’s passion for the outdoors grew as he climbed the ranks of the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts, eventually attaining the rank of Eagle Scout.

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