2016-06-19

Hunchback Ridge – Salmon River Loop

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Expert Advice

“You ever been here before?”

As if in an airport fantasy novel, I had summited Devil’s Peak to an overwhelming vision.

“Nope, first time.”

Walking on all fours with all the grace of a loose animal in the waxing moments of recently-administered tranquilizer–ass splayed in the air, cautiously moving his limbs forward with little precision or stability–the man clambered to the top of the old fire lookout.

“I’ve been coming here ten or twelve years.”

I’m pretty sure I saw his red Geo Metro parked at the end of the dirt road to Kinzel Lake.

“No kidding, yeah it’s real nice up here.”

He had shaggy hair, a pipe in his hand and a smile on his face, an appropriate smile given the bluebird skies, the high-60s temps and the surroundings. It really was a lovely day, and starkly contrasted with the hiking I did the previous afternoon (completely soaked in a chilled, windy rain).

“If you want the best views go about fifty feet down that little trail there, then jog right for about fifteen feet, thengo through the trees right in front of you for five feet then go another ten or twenty feet, you’ll find an outcropping.”

While accurate, these were comically over-precise directions to describe walk down the hill.

“I didn’t even know about it until maybe two years ago.”

I won’t sit here and pretend to be the Arbiter of Common Sense Curiosity, but neither can I sit here and pretend like I don’t find it be-fucking-fuddling that it could require a decade’s-worth of visits to discover a little viewpoint fifty yards from the top of a peak.

“Thanks for the tip, I’ll check it out. Have a good one.”

It is a great viewpoint. Just walk south from the fire lookout, you’ll find it.

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Pretty tough loop to do in a little over twenty-four hours, but doable. Hunchback Ridge isn’t all that great up to the junction with Green Canyon Way in my opinion—would rather start from the Salmon River trailhead and spend some extra miles going out and back further up the river. Map.

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