I knew this day was going to be a tough day for us. By myself, I might have tried to push all the way to Spangle in one day, but that wasn’t the kind of trip we were taking. This was more about leisure – but not so much more that we actually dallied on this day. No, Ambrose actually started from camp before I had the tent put away, because he wanted to get a head start on the switchbacks.

So he was ahead of me for a little bit, but I caught him pretty quick and hiked on ahead until I reached a junction right around break time. It was at the top of the switchbacks, so ideal for a break. In one direction, a trail led off to follow Leggit Creek upstream, and in the other, the trail made its way to the Mattingly Creek junction. Once Ambrose caught up to me, that’s the direction we took.

We made pretty good time once we weren’t climbing so much, though the trail did trend uphill quite a bit as it followed the Middle Fork of the Boise River upstream. I saw a deer, but couldn’t snap a picture quick enough. And my eyes played tricks with me and tried to convince me that a tree trunk was actually a person wearing a backpack.

When we reached the Mattingly Creek trail junction, I took the opportunity to walk part of the Idaho Centennial Trail that I accidentally skipped back in 2016. Ambrose continued on our trail on the left hand fork and I dumped my pack and took the right on a 10 minute detour to see what I’d missed. It wasn’t a whole lot, no good camping spots, but I was glad to do it anyway.

And when I followed Ambrose, I did find a decent camping spot that I probably would have camped at if I had gone this way in 2016. I didn’t catch up with Ambrose until I reached the Mattingly Creek crossing, where he guided me to a decent spot to cross. Then we took a little break before continuing on what was now somewhat familiar trail to me.

Well, I did manage to forget the part where the trail dips down near the river and follows a sidestream even though it kind of looks like it wanders into tall grasses. I waited for Ambrose to catch up there to make sure we both took the same route. We leapfrogged a bit after that, since I had to stop and dig a hole, but we were together for the first crossing of the Middle Fork, deep enough to break out the crossing shoes.

I hiked ahead to the next crossing, which looked like it could be crossed on rocks, except for the final third where the water was fast and deep. And we stuck together through the next short section before crossing back again and sharing the stone bench to put our boots back on.

By the next crossing, Ambrose was, I think, getting tired of crossing and decided to just let some water get into his boots as he stomped across without waiting for me to finish taking my boots off. He hiked ahead and it took me a while to catch up to him. In fact, I caught up to him where he had stopped at a particularly fierce and fast-flowing sidestream. Its main potential for danger lie in the fact that the runoff would take you straight down to rocks.

I came upon a decent looking camping spot and I waited for Ambrose to catch up so he could decide if he’d rather stop or keep going to my planned destination of the Flytrip Creek junction (where I was only mostly sure we’d find a spot). He considered and decided we should press on. I stopped again to take a picture of a grouse, and then to spy on someone who had found a campsite down by the river.

The last crossing of the day was the easiest – it was just as I remembered, with a line of partially submerged stones allowing us to cross with our boots on. And then we found a decent spot to camp and got settled in for the night.

The start to the morning’s trail.

Going up.

A clear path was worn uphill of this fallen tree.

A good spot for a break.

A little downhill while going upstream, very Idaho.

Mattingly Creek junction.

Where I went off trail on my 2016 ICT hike.

Sun’s coming up.

There were potential campsites along here.

Ambrose across Mattingly Creek.

The trail is not here. 

I think we’re almost at the first Middle Fork crossing.

Someone’s got to be missing that shoe liner.

Ambrose and with his hydrophobic pants legs in the water.

Heading upstream again.

So close to being a rock hop…

… and yet so far away.

Ambrose in the river again.

The stone bench.

I found ripe thimbleberries!

Not a stream you want to fall down in.

More bridges over bogs.

A much tamer sidestream.

Tomorrow’s route is up there, somewhere.

We passed this spot up.

A camper down by the river.

The last crossing of the day. A rock hop!

No campsites here…

But we found something that would do.

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