Hell Hike and Raft
6 tough days and 11 adventurers who lived to blog about it
By Tara Oster
My head broke the river's surface as I continued to swallow water. Somehow I'd managed to hold onto the side of the raft after we were "dump-trucked." Our guide, Rick, appeared to my left, jumped back in the raft and pulled me in before dragging the rest of our paddleboat crew onboard. We counted our missing items and laughed at our epic failure. This was our introduction to Waterspout Rapids on the Snake River in the belly of Hells Canyon.
I'd rolled into New Meadows, ID, four days earlier - the last "Hell Hike and Raft" group member to arrive. A Hammer Nutrition-supported event, Hell Hike and Raft began as an idea several months earlier from the minds of hiking blogger, Adam Nutting, and America's Rafting Company owner, Parker Arrien. The idea was simple: get a group of outdoor bloggers together to participate in a backpacking and rafting trip, while simultaneously testing several products to review.
Now here we were, 11 adventure bloggers from across the country, many of whom had never met each other. I wondered how I'd become part of this group, as I was the least practiced, having never been backpacking or rafting. Nevertheless, I had something to prove to myself on this journey.
The crew, along with our guides Marshall and Rick, piled out of the 15-passenger van early the next morning at the trailhead to the heart of the Seven Devils Mountains. Each of us double-checked our packs (mine included Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes, Hammer Recovery Bars, Recoverite, Tissue Rejuvenator, and Hammer Lips, as well as an emergency blanket, flashlight, sleeping bag/pad, thermals, a mid-layer, and gloves). I loaded up my spare water bottle with Endurolytes Fizz - a must for every hike - to help me handle whatever the trail had in store.
Goat Pass challenged me from the get-go. Not heavily used (or well maintained), the trail ascends several hundred feet in a short distance. At the top of the first ridge, looking out over Mirror Lake to the Tower of Babel, I realized how unique and beautiful the Seven Devils are. These mountains offer an appealing contrast to the wilderness of northwest Montana.
We spent the next two days exploring the mountains and received our first glimpse of Hells Canyon from atop Dry Diggins Lookout. On the third day, we hiked down to the mouth of Granite Creek and the bottom of Hells Canyon where we joined Parker and his wife, Becky, to begin the second half of our adventure - rafting the Snake River. Fortunately, no one received any injuries after our "dump-truck" mishap the first day, and we concluded our adventure two days later and approximately 20 miles downriver at Pittsburg Landing. HN
Read detailed accounts from all the participants at: