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Volunteer Spotlight: Thom Klein

Thomkleinphoto2The Idaho Centennial Trail takes hikers 900 miles through some of Idaho’s most beautiful places. With the current rise in popularity of long distance hiking, it is high time that the ICT gets the recognition it deserves as one of America’s most rugged and remote hikes. But an increase in hikers means an increased need for stewardship, education, and awareness.

The Idaho Trails Association has teamed up with local partners to help improve trail conditions for future hikers. Coordinating with our long time backcountry allies, the Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation, and Forest Service trail crews, over 50 miles of the ICT were cleared in 2016. Stewards of the trail cut hundreds of logs, cleared water bars and improved drainage, addressed some hiker hazards, and opened up trails that have been choked up for decades.

It is with great pride that we return to areas of Idaho that have long since been overlooked, and where we are at risk of losing access to our wild places. We hope the growth of the Idaho Centennial Trail will create more interest and investment in our public lands, and lead the way for Idaho’s next generation of outdoor adventurers.

Thom Klein is an ITA volunteer from Eastern Idaho who has made it his goal to hike the entire length of the ICT in sections. He has helped us coordinate presentations at Idaho State University, so we were happy to help him with a ride out of the Frank Church as he bagged his last miles of the season. Congratulations Thom on a spectacular season of hiking and thank you for your contributions to the Idaho Trails Association.

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Thom Klein, Pocatello


 

This past summer, I took a notion to hike at least part of the Idaho Centennial Trail—the gorgeous but neglected south-to-north route through Idaho’s wildlands. Yet I have to admit to being a bit of a wuss: the idea of solo-hiking (and especially solo-sleeping) is not something I relish. So I persuaded various friends to come along for 3-4 day sections, beginning with the Owyhee Desert and working northwards into the Sawtooths and the central mountains. (See the article by Mike Stubbs in Idaho MagazineThomkleinphoto1 for a description of one of those hikes.)

However, I was having trouble getting companions for the section into the Frank Church Wilderness, until Clay Jacobson, from the Idaho Trails Association, suggested that I hike in along the Middle Fork to meet a trail crew sponsored by the ITA and SBFCF, which was going to be working its way down Marble Creek, a notoriously difficult and overgrown portion of the ICT. I could meet up with the trail crew—however far they had gotten—and hitch a ride out.

I enjoyed my walk first along Marsh Creek and then the Middle Fork, and had plenty of rafters at least for visual company. After two days, I found myself at the outlet of Marble Creek, and managed to score a large serving of steak fajitas from the party of boaters camped there.

The next day, Marble Creek trail started out fairly clear. Occasionally, trail and creek would squeeze into a narrow gully, and then I had to push through undergrowth as I sang loudly to scare off any large animals. After the old Mitchell homestead, though, I began to see how Marble had gotten its reputation: with lots of deadfall and thick regrowth at creek crossings, it was easy to lose the trail. Thomkleinphoto3At one point, I found myself waste-deep in a beaver pond; at another, I had to cross a steep, unstable slide area with a 200-foot drop to the creek bottom.

At last, late in the afternoon, I began to see signs of recent trail work and then came upon an immense log-jam which was obviously in the process of being cleared, with tools and helmets laid on one side. The contrast in the quality of the trail was like night and day, and I hurried ahead. I kept rounding corners and expecting to find the crew’s encampment (it was another four miles), but at last I spotted the tethered mules and shed a few grateful tears as I pulled in, just in time for a hot supper—and cold beer, of course.

This trip was the highpoint of my hiking this summer, and I am immensely grateful for the ITA’s work in the backcountry, keeping these beautiful places accessible for those who don’t mind enduring some blisters—and maybe a brief meeting with a black bear.

 

We invite you to join us in 2017 as we continue to make a positive impact in the Idaho backcountry. New trail work projects will be announced in the spring, but you can get involved right now by becoming an ITA member at whatever level is right for you. We appreciate all our members and could not do our important work without you. Thank you!

Bee Top Connector Trail Work Debrief

On Tuesday, July 26, eleven volunteers helped work on the final sections of the new Bee Top Connector Trail in the Sandpoint Ranger District of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. This new trail will re-open access to the Bee Top/Round Top Trail #120 from the east end for the first time in many years.

The ITA volunteers re-built a section of the new trail that had been destroyed in a storm last fall. We completed a by-pass trail around the damaged section, then dug out rocks and roots and did finish grading on about 1 ½ miles of the Connector. The eleven volunteers completed all the planned work in a single.Bee top comm trail work

An Idaho Conservation Corps (ICC) youth group working for the Forest Service was digging the very last ½ mile of the new trail ahead of our ITA volunteers. The ICC is expecting to complete that last section of the new Connector trail in August.

Trail #120 is regarded by many to be one of the most beautiful trails in northern Idaho. It travels for 18 miles along scenic alpine ridge tops that are 4,000’ above Lake Pend Oreille. Trail #120 is also part of the 900 mile long Idaho Centennial Trail.

2016 National Public Lands Day – Trail Work Party

Boise Bureau of Land Management, Idaho Trails Association, and REI invite you to join us for some camping, projects, and activities for this year’s National Public Lands Day out in the Owyhee Canyonlands.

Date: September 17th, 2016. Join us the evening of September 16th to campout or the morning of September 17th.  Breakfast & registration starts at 9am, projects are from 10am-12pm, and lunch from 12pm-1pm.

Site Location: Poison Creek Recreation Site is about 20 miles southeast of Grand View, Idaho.  The drive from Boise takes about one hour and 15 minutes.  From town of Grand View, head east for two miles on Highway 78 to access the Mud Flat Road.  The last 5 miles of the drive is a gravel road.  Poison Creek Recreation Site is the eastern gateway to three Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness Areas and for driving the Owyhee Uplands Backcountry Byway (aka Mud Flat Road).  Poison Creek Recreation Site is a staging area for backcountry adventure, but this shady oasis needs some TLC.

Projects:  Projects at this site include replacing pole fence, planting native plants, and trail work. Woodsy the owl

Activities: Guest speaker, owls of the Owyhee’s. Make a bird house in celebration of Woodsy Owls 45th birthday.

BLM will provide:  Breakfast and lunch on September 17th and a National Public Lands Day 2016 shirt and an REI volunteer shirt.  Youth receive Woodsy Owl stickers, coloring books, and patches.

Please bring and wear shoes, long pants, sunglasses, and gloves so we can work safely.

For more information: Please contact info@idahotrailsassociation.org or Dave Draheim @ Boise BLM (208)384-3358 or ddraheim@blm.gov.

2016 NPLD

Sign up here:

 

 

 

August’s Hike of The Month

Deep Lake

Photo courtesy of: www.idahoaclimbingguide.com

  • Distance: 1.8 miles out-and-back
  • Total elevation gain: 550 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Range: 6,800 feet to 7,350 feet
  • Topographic Map: Victor Peak
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Season: Late June through October
  • Water Availability: Deep Lake
  • Cautionary Advice: Trail travels through extensive burn area. Use caution in windy conditions and be prepared for sun exposure.
  • Information: Payette National Forest, McCall Ranger District (208) 634-0400
  • Restroom: No
  • Coordinates: Trailhead: 45d 10′ 34″ N 115d 56′ 61″ W, Deep Lake: 45d 09′ 96″ N 115d 55′ 91″

This hike is posted by the suggested month to go on from Scott Marchant’s 2016 Idaho Wilderness Calender.  This is just a general guideline however as many of the hikes can be utilized outside of the specific month.

The hike is from Hiking Idaho’s guide book author Scott Marchant and from his book The Hiker’s Guide to McCall & Cascade.

Deep Lake

With minimal effort you get far-reaching views, solitude, a peak-ringed lake and a canyon decorated with granite. It is hard to believe this basket of treasures is achieved with a short one mile hike. Deep Lake rests in a glaciated bowl at an elevation of 7,300 feet. Two unnamed granite peaks, one at 8,618-feet and the other at 8,386-feet, loom over the lake. Although the 1994 fires burned most of the forest, unobstructed views and a plethora of granite peaks make for an otherworldly adventure. This beautiful area is accessed from the end of FR 431 and is certainly off the beaten path. The route to the lake is not an official trail but it is clearly defined most of the way. Rock cairns assist where the path is faint. Children will find the lake entertaining, with many granite boulders along the lake’s perimeter. As an added bonus for August hikers, huckleberries flourish alongside the trail. Those skilled with map reading skills can cross-country hike from Deep Lake and complete a 3.2 mile loop, visiting Trail Lake and Frog Lake. A small patch of forest north of Trail Lake escaped the burn adding to its allure. All three lakes have a couple of shaded campsites.

Trailhead Directions

From downtown McCall, go west on ID 55. At 1.2 miles, reset your odometer to 0 and turn right onto Warren Wagon Road. Go north on Warren Wagon Road 21.2 miles and turn right onto unmarked FR 431. Follow the well-graded dirt road 1.9 miles to its end. The trailhead is marked with a cairn at the eastern end of the parking area. There is parking for five or six vehicles.

The Hike

The trail is marked with cairns most of the way as it traverses over granite slabs and through burned forest. Begin hiking east in the canyon containing the outlet stream from Deep Lake. The trail climbs 200 feet and turns south with sensational views west to Squaw Meadows and the surrounding granite peaks. Soon the 8,292-foot Black Tip Mountain, which astonishingly is the headwaters for eight drainages, is clearly visible in the far distance. Reach the western shore of the lake at 0.9 mile. Here you will find a few parcels of green forest, sheltering a couple of fine campsites. If you are skilled with map reading or with a GPS, you can hike off-trail and complete a 3.2 mile loop back to your vehicle.

To do so, turn right (southwest) near Deep Lake and hike across deadfall and then up a charred ridge. After a climb of 150 feet, descend through dense forest into a small meadow. The lake is not visible due to the forest but is found by walking southeast towards Diamond Ridge. To continue the loop, walk around the north shore of the lake and travel west through burned forest towards Frog Lake. After a quarter mile hike, Frog Lake is seen from a rocky knoll. From here, descend 250 feet on an open hillside to the lake and cross the outlet stream, where you will find a campspot. Continue north, paralleling the outlet stream of Frog Lake, to the edge of the canyon containing Trail Creek. Look across the drainage where your vehicle will be visible near the trailhead.

August’s tip

This Month’s tips are from Steve Weston the In The Wild Chef.

How to make Roasted Poblano Jalapeno Soup!

Hum Lake trail work party debrief

On July 2nd, 2016 ten volunteers donated 80 hours of volunteer time to clear the Hum Lake trail on the Krassel Ranger District of the Payette National Forest. We were met with clear blue skies, temperatures in the 60s and an empty Trailhead.  We started off with introductions and a safety meeting to discuss the day’s events and proper and safe tool use. We ended up taking 2 crosscuts as we had 4 certified sawyers, pulaskis, shovels, loppers and the infamous Peavey.  Hum lake 4

We split into 3 teams, 2 saw teams and the waterbar/brushers that did an amazing job of working on the drainage and cutting those bushes back.  Overall we cleaned 47 waterbars, brushed 600 feet and cut 22 trees from the trail.  We were able to have our ceremonial snowball toss at the Hum Lake pass, there is still a nice cornice slowly melting away.  It was a great day that ended with light rain, cookies and drinks back at the trailhead.  Thanks to the awesome crew that came out for this work party!

Hum lake 1Hum lake 2     Hum lake 3

2016 Cleanup of the Beehive Lakes Trail #279.

On June 25, volunteers with the Idaho Trails Association (ITA) completed maintenance work on the Beehive Lakes Trail in the Sandpoint District of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. Fourteen ITA members and friends brushed out 4 ½ miles of trail, re-built or re-opened 43 water diversion ditches, and cut out 5 fallen trees that had blocked the trail.Beehive 2016 - 1

One of the trees we removed measured 36” to 39” in diameter, the largest ITA has done in our 6 year history of helping to keep Idaho’s hiking trails open for the public. In all, our volunteers spent about 130 person hours doing this work. The popular Beehive Lake trail is 4 ½ miles long and gains about 2,000’ of elevation before it ends at a beautiful alpine lake that sits just below the Selkirk Mountain crest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beehive 2016-3

English Point Trail Work Party Debrief

Our first trail work party of 2016 was another great success.

On Friday, April 29, eight volunteers helped the Idaho Trails Association (ITA) do maintenance work on the English Point Trail #80 in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. The group cleaned out water bars, cut back brush, cleaned sod off of a raised walkway, and did other “spring cleaning” chores.

The English Point trail system includes easy loops through forest terrain on the west side of Hayden Lake. The ITA volunteers maintained about 2 ½ miles of this popular trail, making it more enjoyable for the hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders who come here.

The Forest Service had a crew go in ahead of our ITA volunteers to cut out the many large trees that had come down early last winter in a big storm. Our volunteers were then able to use hand tools to complete the re-opening of the trail. Our work was completed in one day with no injuries or other issues.

We recommend having fun and exploring the English Point trail system!

We have lots of great other trail work parties and vacations coming up this year and we hope join us for one or all of them! Sign up here: ITA Work Projects

 

Thank you to our Sponsors and partners!

 

Mattingly Creek Trail Work Vacation (Full)

Mattingly Creek Weeklong in the Sawtooth Wilderness!!

Project Description

Sunday, July 24th – Saturday, July 30th.

Maximum number of volunteers 5

This is a strenuous week long work party that will be backpacking from the Alturas Lake Trailhead to the city of Atlanta!  This work party will carry all of their food, gear and tools along the Mattingly Creek trail #034 and maintain the trail along the way.  Primitive camping, wilderness, scenery, and good work will be the highlights of this trip!  There is only room for 5 volunteers so sign up early for this special trip! 

The work party will meet Sunday evening at Alturas Lake to camp before leaving Monday morning for Mattingly Creek trail.  Hiking while clearing and improving the trail will give you a chance to seek out remote campsites and get a real Wilderness experience.  Shuttle back to Alturas Lake from Atlanta will be Saturday morning July 30th.

This trip is generously sponsored by The National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance!

Please review our Volunteer Manual. If you have any questions please email them to info@idahotrailsassociation.org.

Sign Up

This Trail Work Vacation is full, to be put on a wait list please email intern@idahotrailsassociation.org.  Thank you for your interest in volunteering with us & we  hope you will sign up for one of our other great projects! 

Marble Creek Trail Work Vacation (Full, wait list available)

Marble Creek, August, 28th- Sept. 3rdMore Crosscut

Project Description:

Marble Creek is in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.

Spend a week in one of the remotest places in the lower 48.  ITA is partnering with the Selway Bitterroot/Frank Church Foundation to clear 13 miles of Marble Creek off the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.  If you ever wanted to spend a week crosscutting logs from a trail this is the project! 

Supplies will be packed in by stock to the camp at Cottonwood Creek where we will spend our time opening a critical section of the 1000 mile long Idaho ICT Trail signCentennial Trail.  Meals will be provided. 

Maximum number of volunteers: 6 

Please review our Volunteer Manual. If you have any questions please email them to info@idahotrailsassociation.org.

This Trail Work Vacation is full, to be put on a wait list please email intern@idahotrailsassociation.org.  Thank you for your interest in volunteering with us & we  hope you will sign up for one of our other great projects!