Idaho Trails Association – Sheep Creek (Day 4), Gospel Hump Wilderness, Idaho

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Day 4 brought improving weather and I was starting to recover a bit from my Day 1 beat down hike into camp. It also brought my largest haul of photography so there are many images to share…..

Starting with these random camp photos.

Today I was part of a team that rode a jet boat shuttle about 6 miles up river. We dubbed this team the “Boat People”. From left to right, Tom, Kelly, Lilly, Leslie, Joe, Tim, Amber, and Phil. Other teams went up the mountain to work the Sheep Creek and Johnson Saddle Trails.

Job one, get this root ball out of the trail, a couple days earlier, one of our teams had made the cut but with only 3 team members, were unable to move the root ball.

How many ITA members does it take to move a tree???? Well, at least one to work and five to watch! I can tell you that these Boat People were exceptionally good watchers!

This was a work, rest, work, rest, rinse and repeat situation. While on a rest break, I wondered off and shot photographs. Also, these watchers were actually exceptionally hard workers!!!

After living on the river for a few days, one quickly learns that there is an interesting river culture going on out here in the wilderness. The jet boats are frequently running up and down the river hauling hunters, residents, shed hunters, contractors, etc. up and down the river. Sometimes wilderness doesn’t seem so wild…..

Meanwhile, back at the root ball, it’s break time for Leslie while the rest of the team watches somebody working on the other side of the tree. Do notice however, we were slowly but surely making progress.

Time for more pictures!

Now, a total team break. At this point, the entire team was getting tired and discouraged, I even heard rumblings of giving up…. However, after a little rest and some lunch, the revitalized team made one hard and coordinated push. The root ball moved about 3 inches, our most so far, we knew that success was imitate!

After a few more minutes and a change of strategy, success! In all, we figured that between the two teams on two separate days that we had over 30 man hours into this one tree. Notice Joe on the right and how proud he seems to be! A theme you will see again!

Now it was time to start working the 5 or so miles back to base camp. This is Amber crossing Bull Creek using one of the three creek crossing strategies, log crossing, wading, or rock hopping.


Flowers with rocks!

This rock was in the trail so we deployed our leg push method to remove the obstacle. Joe and Amber were in place to push and I asked them not to crush the flowers just below the rock.

Using some fine footwork, the flowers were saved. Amber and Tim put some fine touches on the trail tread. Meanwhile, behind them, Tom, one of our Crewleaders, doing a final inspection and I’m sure providing helpful advice. Amber, who probably has more trail crew experience than anyone else on the trip, and Tim, the Board President of the ITA, are respectfully ignoring the helpful advice….

The march back to camp continued with some occasional trail work.

Joe preparing to cut trees, before and after. The theme returns as he was clearly a man proud of his work!

A bit farther down the trail, we ran into this bachelor party.

After thinking that we had cleared most of the trail’s obstacles and agreeing that it was getting pretty late, our team leaders told us to stop working and just hike back to base camp….. Then we ran into this trail plug!

After over an hour and some challenging cuts, we finally freed the trail!

Now it was really time to put the hammer down. It was after 5:00 and we still had about 3 miles to base camp. Along the way, I had to take a couple more flower shots, the light was nice and the views were amazing.

Hiking and shooting photographs on the fly.

One final image from Day 4 on a small hill above Elk Creek. The rain showers moved in a short time later so the camera when into the water proof bag and the hammer went down on the hike.

Day 4 was an amazing day, more to come on “As Sheep Creek Turns”! Stay Tuned!

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