At the start of the trailhead

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Adams Gulch Backpack

  • Distance 38.51 km
  • Time 0 s
  • Speed 0.0 km/h
  • Min altitude 1819 m
  • Peak 2646 m
  • Climb 1638 m
  • Descent 1637 m
July 20, 2018

Our first backpack was meant to be a 3 day loop from the Adams Gulch trailhead, anti-clockwise via the Big Wood River and the Oregon Gulch trail to Fox Peak and then back via the Adams Rib (Warm Springs) Trail. As it was I was suffering on the first day with a streaming cold and then found it hard to sleep that night, so with a cold front forecast we decided to compress Day 2 and 3 into one day, which made for a very long backpack of about 17 miles with over 4500 feet of ascent. That was after a fairly tough first day of 12 miles with over 3,500 feet of ascent. Makes a mockery of me saying I don’t think I am hiking fit!

Anyway after a leisurely start we got away by 9, mild panics from me ahead of that but after the first half a mile settled down! Key memories from our first day are, in no particular order

  • multiple lupins on the slope at the start of our trail in morning sun
  • seeing a hummingbird (which I initially thought was a large bumblebee) getting bugs from a tree stump
  • eating lunch in the rain under the shelter of a large white pine and testing out our rain kit, worked a treat
  • deciding tissue supplies were unlikely to be adequate with streaming cold and so stopping at the Oregon Gultch trailhead to get more supplies
  • finding a fantastic campsite, close to the path but hidden from view by the trees, next to a bubbling brook
  • new kit a success, kettle quick to boil water, tent easy to put up (by one person as I was not much use by this stage) and must remember to have emergency blanket silver side up
  • washing in the river water hoping no one would come along the path and notice me in my ‘all-together’ – they didn’t!
  • Mike successfully hanging our bear bag 10 foot above the trail from a conviently angled tree.
  • No bears spotted, or for that matter any other wildlife except for some birds

Standing on a hillside covered with lupins

Day 2.

As I said I had a bad nights sleep and did not think it would do my cold any good to spend another night by a damp (cold) lake at 8000ft, as planned. Did not want to go back the way we had come (which was the quickest route) so we agreed we would try To compress 2 days into one – our longest backpack ever. Somewhat daft given I was far from 100% but we definitely had the daylight hours in hand.

High flower meadow on Day 2

The first section was a tough steep uphill, had beautiful views of the Pioneer mountains, still capped with snow, and spring flowers in profusion on high meadows between the peaks on the ridgeline we ascended. Also came across a couple of ‘mad’ mountain bikers descending the trail. Definitely beyond my abilities but they said it was fun, were courteous and we had a few minutes passing the time of day with a lad from Grimsby!

None to soon we joined the East Fork Creek road to Fox Peak which we had hiked along the previous week. Nice to be going along a gently graded contouring path. Much drier than when we were here last week and we only found a tiny water outlet by a patch of hostas once we started up the final climb to thee col below Fox Peak.  Thankfully it was still enough to refill our water bottles and also a good spot for lunch.

Close up of the small red flowers

From the col we joined the 5 mile Adams Rib trail which was a beautiful trail, tended to contour rather than climb and it was very striking to move from areas recently devastated by fire to forested areas and then across to meadows filled with wildflowers. As we descended the forest changed from predominately pine to mixed woodland and we saw far more birds. The last couple of miles were hard going and I was  very glad to get back to the Big White Beastie and a welcome cup of tea.

See a video of our trip below