My current rough draft itinerary, with anticipated concerns/conditions noted:
- Denio to McDermitt - no issues anticipated
- McDermitt to Rome - canyoneering section through west little owyhee. likely high water levels in May though...
- Rome to Harper - owyee continued. no issues anticipated
- Harper to Sumpter - no issues anticipated. filler section, not a highlight of the route
- Sumper to North Powder - elkhorn crest trail. hit or miss w/snow in mid/late may. spikes & maybe ice axe possibly needed
- North Powder to Joseph - eagle caps. deep snow in late may. need to exit eagle caps through imnaha river. rerouting this section to skip joseph and go straight to next section
- Joseph to White Bird - hells canyon. no issues anticipated
McDermitt to Rome - I am trying to determine what is a safe water level for the West Little Owyhee to attempt the route from Anderson Crossing to Three Forks. I see the USGS station in Rome for main Owyhee flow rate, but I don't know what those flow rates in the Owyhee equate to on the West Little Owyhee and I don't know what is considered safe for hikers fording either river. With no knowledge of what's safe, I can only speculate from the USGS charts, it looks like May is not a great time with the spike in water flow in the spring. Of course, when I do the hike it may be a low (or high) water year, so I would still like to have a baseline flow rate number for determining the feasibility of the route when the time comes. I've reached out to the folks at the ODNA asking this same question, since this is a section of the Oregon Desert Trail, and awaiting and reply.
Harper to Sumpter - Is there anything worth seeing in this section? I currently have this section as a filler, taking a pretty direct route to Sumpter in order to make up miles... mostly dirt roads to monument rock wilderness, then more dirt roads roughly following the Grant/Baker county line north to hwy 7 and Sumpter. Much of the rest of the route is cross country or involves a ton of elevation gain, so if there's little to see here I'd rather not go far out of my way and just cover miles. But if there are some hidden treasures along the way then I'll certainly consider taking the time to see them.
Sumper to North Powder - I'm thinking this section will depend on what kind of snow year it is. In a normal-ish snow year, doing the Elkhorn Crest Trail around say, May 20th, should not be much of an issue with micro spikes and maybe an ice axe, yeah?
North Powder to Joseph - There's no way I can (well, want to) do the route I initially had planned through the Eagle Caps with the amount of snow that will be present in late May. I'll likely skip Joseph altogether and just go from North Powder straight thru to White Bird, or possibly, try to hitch into Imnaha from Saddle gulch... I see one car here at the TH on satellite but it's probably a real long shot. Anyhow, it would be a shame to walk around the entire Eagle Cap Wilderness, so I'm still considering options that would keep me in the low valleys (looks like they might just beginning to be snow free in late May) and maybe one or two passes. Burger Pass and Frazier Pass look to be among the lower passes in the Eagle Caps, and don't look too challenging on the map. Thoughts on traversing those in late May, with micro spikes and ice axe? If I were to skirt around the Eagle Cap Wilderness to avoid the snow, suggestions for the most interesting route connecting North Powder with the Imnaha River, at say, Indian Crossing Campground?
Thanks for your thoughts and input.