After I decided to stop my Idaho Centennial Trail hike for the year, Ambrose and I decided to drive around to the place where he would have been picking me up. That way, when I do it next year, we will know exactly where to expect to meet instead of getting lost…

The only place to take a vehicle between the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness and the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness is a road called the Magruder Corridor. It’s a single lane dirt road that runs between wildernesses between Elk City, Idaho and Darby, MT. It’s 101 miles that can take more than 8 hours to drive – if you have 4 wheel drive. Folks driving on it are advised to carry cutting tools, plenty of water, and a properly inflated spare tire. 
We drive a Ford Focus sedan. It really isn’t meant to drive on that kind of road, but we were going to give it a go – only to Dry Saddle, where the Idaho Centennial Trail comes from the Frank Church and then follows the corridor for a spell before heading into the Selway. 
Caution signs at the start of the road – only 33 miles to Dry Saddle.

The road started off decently. 

We reached 14 mile campground in about an hour. 

The Elk Creek Road junction at the start of a large burned out area. 

The trees being burned did at least allow us some expansive views.

Poet Creek Campground where we took a little break. 

Graffiti on the inside of the privy at Poet Creek.

The road got rougher after this and I was too busy clenching and urging Ambrose and the car on safely to take many pictures.

Oh yeah, we got a Ford Focus up to Dry Saddle. And we didn’t bottom out once!

What a gorgeous view of the wilderness, looking towards Montana.

We didn’t see any Bigfeet or clowns.

The car is right in front of the trail head. I’ll be either leaving from here or coming out here next year, depending on whether I decide to do the section southbound instead of northbound.

Ambrose and I hiked the trail out a bit to see what we could see. 

Ambrose on the trail.

Wilderness selfie! I borrowed Ambrose’s hat because my hair was so short I could have gotten a scalp burn without it. 
Dry Saddle had a privy – but no toilet paper (we had some in the car though).

Hard to get a good picture from a moving car – even at slow speeds since there were a lot of bumps in the road.

A tease of a flat section before we re-entered the living forest and the one place where water crossed the road in a scary ditch.

It took us over 3 and a half hours to get up to Dry Saddle. We ate lunch there and hiked a bit before heading back down. Down wasn’t any easier than up. We started up Magruder about 8 am and didn’t get off it until 4 pm. A whole day to travel 66 miles.

Ambrose is a badass driver for making that happen in a stick shift sedan, but yeah… next time we head up there, it’s going to be in a rental SUV 🙂

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