Team Hair-no-Hair (a.k.a. Megan & Christof) decided to meet up again for a quick weekend adventure. We were inspired by a recent report on OregonHikers.org by Brad, who had completed the Snake River National Recreation Trail (SRNRT) #102 in 3 days in April: https://www.oregonhikers.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=29628
We started at 6:53am on Saturday, May 15, 2021, at the Upper Pittsburg Landing trailhead (a.k.a. the Snake River Trailhead, 45.622389,-116.464175). The day was predicted to be warm and sunny; it did not disappoint. We, however, were quickly disappointed by our lack of PPE (power, pep, and energy). Countless micturation and photo stops—plus the ever-thickening groves of poison ivy—didn't help. The further we went, the more grass enveloped the trail, making route-finding a pain and rattler reconnaissance nearly impossible.
Kirkwood Ranch was buzzing with hikers who were tearing down their camps or already huffing and puffing up the steep return from the ranch. After several stop-and-chats, we were relieved to find more solitude past David Kirk’s grave. This relief was short-lived, squashed by the emergence of rattlesnakes and sock-snagging cactus.
At Sheep Creek Ranch we took a slight wrong turn, following a trail that went a little too far up the creek. Despite the detour, the rushing water provided a cool, pleasant relief on an increasingly scorching day.
After what felt like 50 miles, we reached McGaffee Cabin at Bernard Creek. Here the trail seemed to totally surrender to poison ivy, which bit cruelly at Christof's knees and thighs. (He oozed for days.)
After 28ish miles we finally reached Granite Creek. It was raging treacherously. We spent more than 45 minutes traipsing up and down the slope, searching for a bridge or shallow spot or some feasible crossing—and a trail on the other side. Alas, no trace of a trail nor crossing materialized. Though Christof eventually made it most of the way over the creek via logs, he could find no trail continuation. This confirmed what Brad and other reports over the last years mentioned: the trail does not continue beyond Granite Creek.
With the terminus verified, we turned around. The sun was hitting the canyon hard, and Christof started rationing his remaining gels while Megan casually snacked on waffles and Hostess cherry pies.
As darkness fell, so did our pace. The trail was indistinct and rocky and moths swarmed our headlamped heads. Still we tromped on, amused by troupes of black, lazy worms and reflective spiders—yet constantly on the look out for rattlers, ivy, and curmudgeonly skunks.
After an exhausting 18:32:15, we finally arrived back at the trailhead—itchy, dehydrated, and ridiculously jubilant to have finished under 20 hours.