This was my least favorite part of the hike. There is only one thing that I worry about when it comes to hiking and that is water. Today was hot, low 90s, and we knew that camping would either have to be near Medicine Creek (dispersed) or farther down at one of the developed campgrounds like Boulder Flat.
We hiked through the hot dry forest with lots of ups and downs. Saw a couple of small, dead birds of prey on the trail...the bones had been stripped clean except for the wings, which were completely in tact. Had lunch at a dusty spot where the trail crossed a dirt road.
As we neared Medicine Creek, which was our opportunity for dispersed camping as described in this article about the hike taken by a group of people who had similar skills to us, we kept our eyes peeled for a location to set up camp. All we found after getting there, were lots and lots of downed trees and no perceivable place to camp.
Drats. This meant another 3-4 miles to Boulder Creek. We trudged on.
About 45 minute later, I was about out of water. It was hot, and I always drink often. We should have stopped for more water at Medicine Creek, but didn't think we would need it. We had cell service, and it was a weekday, so we called the number on the back of the "brochure" to get some info about the trail.
Describing where we were, we asked about options for camping. The person on the end of the line consulted the "brochure."
I asked, "Have you ever hiked the trail yourself?"
"Is there anyone there who has and if so can I talk to them?" I was transferred and got voicemail.
Then we remembered that the number to the Glide office was a different office than the ones listed on the "brochure," so we decided to give them a call. Again, same experience. Someone reading off of the "brochure," except that this time, we were transferred to someone who had hiked the trail.
She asked, "Do you have a map?"
I replied sheepishly, "No, just the brochure." I knew it was a mistake.
We asked about camping options. She said we could jump onto the Soda Springs Creek trail, hike about a quarter mile to a little bench and camp there by Soda Springs Creek.
As far as the official Soda Creek Trailhead, she note that there was a picnic area, but no water. I knew from what I had read that there was no safe river access at Soda Springs, which was where the power plant was.
She also let us know that Boulder Flat and Eagle Rock were not accessible from the trail. Which meant that we would have a very long way to go if we didn't find a place. Darn that "brochure"...it sure looked like we would be able to access them...
So when we arrived at the turn off to Soda Springs Creek that she had mentioned, two of us hiked up .27 miles, found a nice little spot to filter water and a spot for one tent, just as she had described. We got cleaned up and felt fabulous.
The other two continued on to check out the picnic area where they found a "shower" as a result of the leaks in the giant water pipes, picnic tables and flat spots for three tents. It was nice to have cell service and we were summoned to the campsite for the night.
Total mileage for the day: 9.6 miles
Campground: Soda Springs trailhead. We were technically camped in a day use area. Picnic tables; porta pot, no river access; water was available from the giant water pipes. If you do go, you will be treated to the sound of the power plant and associated lights.
Wildlife: Nothing on the trail.
Trail conditions: Hot and dry.
Terrain: Heavily forested and steep climbs. Be aware that you will be hiking far above the river, so carry plenty of water.
Surprises: Contrary to what we had read in this article, there was no dispersed camping along Medicine Creek or anywhere else along this segment of the trail.