DAY 1: TRAIL STORY: Meeting the He Devil. Windy Saddle to Shelf Lake. Hell’s Canyon Wilderness. #HellHikeAndRaft

Selfie with the He Devil. Both of us looking like we're ready to raise some hell.....

Day One, Jes, Val and I wake up in our sparse little hotel room in Tiny Town, Idaho. It's a down jacket morning even though it's only Sept 2nd, and we shuffle over to the coffee shop luckily a quick 100 feet from our front door. 

Now caffinated, we can actually speak and form coherent sentences. Others from the crew shuffle in as well, get their morning shot, and we all head back to our rooms for the final pack of our gear, jammed with precision into our Teton Backpacks.

Eleven of us plus a few guides from America's Rafting Company - much more on their awesomeness later - cram into the company van and drive for over an hour to the remote drop-off at the Windy Saddle Trail Head. Gateway to the 7 Devils and where we'll be spending the next 6 days.

Packs on, group photo, we start our the three day backpacking portion of the trip... Up. And up. And up. And in........

The first steps of the trip from Windy Saddle into the wilderness.

Our first hurdle is Goat's Pass - infamous in the guide books for "don't be an idiot and go up this if you don't know what you're doing." Or something like that. 

Rounding the backside of Goat's Pass

Switchback after switchback on a tiny, "goat-feet-only" trail, we crest the top, bend around the ridge, and BOOM. Thar he blows. 

BOOM! I've been waiting 6 months to meet you, He Devil

We gasp. Click. Eat a protein bar bite or two. And then wind down the steep ridge of the pass and into the lush, green mini-alpine meadow that is fed by Sheep Lake for a breather and a late lunch break. Heaven.

Even though it's late in the day, a group forms to tackle the He Devil on the "non-trail" to the summit. It's essentially hump over one saddle to get to the back side of the He Devil, descend down and around to get up onto the back of his spine, and then ascend his spine to the 9,393ft summit with no real trail. 

Jes, Me & Tara heading to the summit of the He Devil. 

We stash our big backpacks off trail and grab our lightweight day packs, AXP survival kits, some water, gorp and head out along the non-trail to the He Devil. Scrambling and finding our own way amongst the giant boulders and steep scree fields. 

At about 800 ft from the summit, we have a group meeting. It's late in the day and continuing to go UP is just not a safe choice any longer. A tough decision when we're so close, but a smart, wise decision that ultimately has saved many lives and prevented many evacs.

Heading back, we laugh at the snow-fields and know the camp for the night is just a few miles ahead at Shelf Lake. Dinner's been packed in by John the guide and his horses, so we feel lucky knowing we'll have substantial food and a warm campfire ahead. 

Shelf Lake Campsite, Day 1.

Coming into camp, the sun is low and it's time to pitch our tents. The fire is already roaring it's welcome to us and my feet need to find the icy cold water of Shelf Lake as a treatment and a treat after a long day on the trail.

Day One's been a blast. And I fall asleep dreaming of world and trail domination heading into Day Two where we meet The Snake from above. Come back for more.... 

-Outdoorsy Mama

For more on this story:
Meet THE CREW of Hell Hike and Raft
The Surprising "Nomination" to join #HellHikeAndRaft
Jess' Look at the Hike

Disclaimer: Teton Sports, AXP Kits are sponsors of #HellHikeAndRaft and provided product for gear testing. All opinions are my own.

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