Thursday, August 13, 2009

Make it a lifetime project to tackle the Idaho Centennial Trail

Hi all,

Back in Idaho's Centennial Year (1990), the Lasting Legacy Committee of the Idaho Centennial Commission created the notion of developing a statewide north-to-south trail that become known as the Idaho Centennial Trail. We have Roger Williams, a retired Idaho Fish and Game biologist and avid outdoorsman, to thank for creating the vision for the trail and charting the course.

The ICT is a 900-mile route that weaves through the most scenic portions of Idaho’s wild country, from high desert canyonlands in southern Idaho to the Sawtooth Wilderness and Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in Central Idaho to the wet mountain forests in North Idaho.

Right now, Ken and Marcia Powers are cruising the length of Idaho along the ICT, and they're more than three-quarters of the way to the finish line at the Idaho-British Columbia border. Check out their trip journal for notes and photos along the way. Their motto is "gotta walk." Love it.

When I was president of the Idaho Trails Council in the 1990s, I helped the non-profit group publish the first-ever guidebook to the ICT. Its titled Discover Idaho's Centennial Trail. The book is still available, but the best information about traveling on the ICT rests on the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation web site. Here you can trace the entire route on a detailed topo map, learn about strategic food drops, mail drops, access issues, etc.

It's a very challenging trip to do on foot because of the rugged country to pass through in the high desert along the Jarbidge and Bruneau rivers, not to mention walking through the Sawtooths and the Frank Church, and then continuing north through the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, Kelly Creek, the Stateline Trail on the Idaho-Montana line, and then the Cabinet Mountains and the Selkirks in the Panhandle. Long-distance hikers like the Powers are beginning to discover the ICT.

I have personally been on many sections of the ICT but have never done the whole thing. I plan to make it a lifetime project to not only experience the whole thing, but also take my kids on it as well.

Few states have the kind of diverse countryside and awesome scenery that we have in Idaho. The ICT is a perfect way to experience that up close and personal. - SS