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  • John Platt

Rapid River

Updated: Nov 25, 2022

First reportable outing in 2022.

  • January 15, 2022

  • Team: John and Craig

  • ~8 miles, Class 1, 4:45 c-c

It hasn't snowed for a while. So being the spoiled brats that we are, we decided to skip the skiing and instead go hiking. As we approached the trailhead, that was looking like a good decision.

We congratulated ourselves on avoiding all the turkeys visiting McCall, only to be confronted by turkeys visiting Rapid River.

The 40°F temperature seemed pretty warm, but the brisk wind made up for it. Either way, things looked pretty green to our eyes, used to white ground. Ruby stared in wonder. Like, "I wonder where the squirrels are?"


But that wind was cold! So we didn't stay long.

We found that once down in the canyon we had lost the wind. Layers off. Time to relax and stare.

The first part of the hike was frozen mud (that on our return was thawed) but soon turned to gravel surface, which made for good progress. Still, lots of staring.

Moss. Lots of moss.

And of course, the roaring of the river.

Before we even got to First Bridge we were dealing with ice on the trail. We had each brought grippers, but never did put them on. Dancing was required at points, though, and there were one of two spine-threatening slips.

The trail ice came and went, encouraging us onward.


About here we got our first real wildlife experience. We noticed a bunch of crows, and a bald eagle flew overhead. Because we recently had a neighborhood deer killed by coyotes, we are now Junior crow behaviorologists. Sure enough, there was a dead elk in the creek. I'll spare you the somewhat gruesome photo.

Shortly after, kitty-like tracks in the snow.

And then a live elk.

We extrapolated our crow behaviorology knowledge and decided this one was either waiting for his/her buddy or mourning.


Note: Apparently, my camera thought I wanted a picture of the alder branches.

Earlier, I mentioned bald eagles. Click for a better view.

Or... I'll save you the trouble.

Again with the camera issues. There wasn't really enough light to do a full zoom and hand-hold the camera. I tried anyway.

As we continued up the canyon, the snow became more consistent and deeper.

More creek shots.

And another.

And finally, a look upstream from Second Bridge.

Ruby went into davefaitlemonde mode.

Looks like more punchy snow. We've done enough of that for today.

We had a leisurely lunch and tea break on the bridge. Leisurely until another hiker came up the trail, and the pups decided they needed to protect us.


On the way back we ran into several groups and solo hikers, most with dogs. It seemed some of the ice on the trail had already gone. The frozen mud wasn't so frozen anymore. 41°F at the truck. Never did see the cougar, although our imaginations had him perched on every rock and branch along the way. And then a sedate drive (other then the same damn pickup that passed us this morning making another unsafe pass!) back to our snowy world.

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