Caribou National Forest :: Bear Creek – Idaho. Part One

We went backpacking in celebration of our two year anniversary last week.  Actually our plan was quite brilliant…we would spend two days and a night backpacking after which we would then spend the next night in the honeymoon suite of an awesome bed and breakfast (but that is another story).

today – the hike

We crossed the pallisades dam into “calamity campgrounds.”  They have the weirdest names for rec parks and trails in Eastern Idaho…

Calamity Campgrounds
Crater’s of the Moon
Dead Man’s Trail
Beaver Dick

Really? Who comes up with these? …but i digress

so we drove about six miles through a windy gravel road to get to bear creek trailhead (the mountain roads here are a million times better kept than oregon mountain roads–just sayin).

we lacked a map, and the sign didn’t tell us how long the trail was supposed to be, but by previous research we knew our plan was to hike about 7 miles in.  we never did find these hidden hot springs we had planned to find, maybe another time.

We hit the trail around 1 pm.  While on the trail we saw a moose not twenty yards away! Also countless snakes (I have a habit of almost stepping on snakes), mosquitos, nasty looking caterpillars, clicky locusts (they make a funny clicking sound when they fly away), squirrels, angry bucks and twitchy does… but the kicker was probably when we stopped to eat “lunch” at a pile of rocks in what we now call “scary meadow.” We heard a sound overhead that I thought was an airplane at first.  But airplanes make a constant droning sound.  This sound started up and then stopped, and then it happened again.

I felt my chest tighten and I’m sure my eyeballs popped out of their sockets.  I was eating a peanut butter nature valley granola bar.  Hummer looked at me, and I looked back at him and we knew we had to get out of there.  The sound was like a big animal breathing…which seems kind of odd to me now because we never would have heard it if it wanted to eat us…hummer thought it might have been a mountain lion.  We may never know…

Needless to say, I wanted to throw my granola bar and run away.  Hummer didn’t even bother zipping up his pack and we booked it out of scary meadow faster than you could say “boo.”

After awhile, our senses still peaked, we were probably a mile away from scary meadow we finally relaxed a little and tried to be as loud as two average people could be–so we didn’t run into anymore scary animals like that.

Next obstacle were the nasty caterpillars that were hanging out on some bushes that were overgrown on the trail…from the ground to the tops (about 6 feet) were covered in caterpillars. This was probably more unnerving to me than scary meadow…


And we made it through, alive and well. and i accidentally threw one of the caterpillars in the creek.  oops.

We found signs of human existence about six miles in.  So we decided to take a break here, eat a snack, take pictures of the sap covered trees, and go pee.  Little did we know this would be our camp site as well.

But we were still on our search for these natural and hidden hot springs… since we didn’t have a map it was hard to tell where exactly we were and how far we had to go.  So we continued on…

…and came to what appeared to be the end of the bear creek trail…so we took a right at the fork heading up north fork bear creek about an hour.  It was about 5 pm by now and there were no signs of the hot springs or any other kind of worthy camping spot… so we made an executive decision, decided to scrap the search for the hot springs, go back to that camp spot that had access to the creek and shelter, and buckle down for the night.  Did i mention it was overcast and raining?–perfect weather for hiking!

Backtracking we went, another hour to set up camp. We were starving by now and ate between the two of us, 6 MREs I think…

Read part two here.

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