Gooding County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: April 17, 2004
Authors: Dean Molen and Bob Bolton

Brian and Toni, whom we met at Lincoln County, had just been to Gooding that day. We asked them if the north approach would work, and they said there was snow. But then they told us how they had approached.

Just a couple of miles south of the junction to Lincoln County on SR46 is City of Rocks Road. Go west on that road, then turn right at a major intersection with a sign to Davis Mountain. Drive that road to a junction with another sign to Davis Mountain and turn right again. Follow this narrowing and worsening road to the saddle mentioned in the other reports, from which you hike west to the HP. Toward the end this road is not suitable for passenger cars even in the best of conditions. I must say that in bad conditions it is only suitable for the most radical 4WD vehicles. These conditions occur when there is water on the road, either from a recent rain or from snow melt.

On Friday afternoon it hadn't rained but there was a stream in the road from melting snow above. That was enough to turn a meadow area into what we later learned is called "Idaho gumbo". To put it mildly, the stuff is NASTY. We wound up axle deep with no hope of extricating ourselves. After calling 911 we decided to hike the 0.8 mile up to the HP and get that taken care of.

Then, after the sheriff called to say they couldn't help us but he'd contact a towing company, we got a call from a guy in Twin Falls who knows a community of hard core 4WDers in the area who can get rigs out of Idaho gumbo and would be eager to help. However, they weren't available until after a street rod show on Saturday. We set up camp, then tried to get some sleep in the overnight storm that rendered the entire area, not merely the road, into a sea of that horrible stuff, while also worsening the road, if that was possible. Happily we had pitched the tent on somewhat protective grass, but there was no avoiding that mud.

To make sure they could find us, we hiked over 11 miles down the road on Saturday, then hitchhiked to SR46 where our rescuer Jeff met us at about 7PM. He said he had everything needed in his little pickup and not knowing anything about such things, we were amazed with the technique he used to yank us out. There were enormous tires on that truck that essentially floated on the muck and actually had a little traction on the stuff. Using a tough and springy rope contraption that looked more like a fire hose, he backed up to our rig, then drove off as fast as the mud would let him move, throwing it everywhere except on us, his huge mud flaps doing an amazing job of preserving the visibility of our windshield. When that "bungy cord" went taut, all the stored energy from stretching it out simply sling-shot us out of the hole we were in. Two more of those pulls and we were on dry land. Then we turned around and he pulled us down the hill through the entire section of bottomless mud until it became steep enough for gravity to do the job.

We still had to descend a river of mud, rocks, suck holes (our term) in order to get his vehicle safely to the bottom. It wasn't ten minutes after we were safely out when the daylight was gone, we couldn't have done it in the dark. A never-to-be-forgotten adventure for the two of us, for sure.