Owyhee County High Point Trip Report

Hayden Peak (8,403 ft)

Date: July 27, 2002
Author: Adam Helman

Note: This report is of an informal nature and does not add to the previously posted reports insofar as aiding the highpointer on his appointed rounds. However it is hopefully an amusing and entertaining report that reflects what I enjoyed about my experience in Owyhee County.


I was on a trip to create a Canada to Mexico link. Earlier in the week that link was rendered considerably more difficult owing to fires in central Oregon that precluded Grant County as the linking county (Strawberry Mtn). An alternative link via Wheeler County (Spanish Pk) and Crook County (Lookout Mtn) was also thwarted owing to fire encroaching on Spanish Pk.

Barney Metz and myself headed south to get Steens Mtn (Harney County) and, since we had the time, Malheur County as well (BM Stevenson) - the largest in Oregon.

After two punctured tires coming off of the Malheur highpoint and the consequent wasted time effecting repairs, Barney and myself only had time to do Pickles Butte of Canyon County prior to dropping me at the Boise airport for my rental (he drove home to Lewiston). In so doing Idaho entered my home glob with a five minute walk - and only because we had done Malheur County in addition to Harney County.

The original point of this getting Owyhee County was to connect Idaho into my home glob. However the above series of unforseeable events obviated this - so relegating my desire to get Owyhee simply for its own sake as one of the largest counties in the state.

Route description

After creating my link via Baker and Union Counties in northeast Oregon, I drove back into Idaho and followed Ken Jones' driving instructions until it was no longer advisable to take my rental further. I got to the cross-road he indicates as mile 21.1 at a saddle.

At that point the mountain was plainly visible to the east - as well as a route leading there along a connecting ridge. It was about 2 PM and I did not have time to both hike the 9 mile round trip and visit Silver City to buy a gift before dark.

I parked my car at the saddle and proceeded on foot down the road leading north - eventually reaching a home where I met a boy, a skinny dog, and a lady who apparently lives there alone. By agreement with her (I told her I would write a trip report) I will neither divulge her identity nor provide her cell phone number since she enjoys privacy (after all - that's why she lives there in the first place).

For fifty dollars I got a ride piggyback on her ATV from my car to within one mile and 750 vertical feet of Hayden Peak - parking at the base of a prominent ridge heading west (or northwest) from the summit. We could have gone all the way to the summit. However we agreed that there is something to be said for using one's own strength to earn the privilege of a summit panorama.

I led her up the ridge rather than taking the boring walk up the jeep trail. She had unlimited minutes on her cell phone and I called my mother from the top. Shared an espresso chocolate bar and some gouda cheese with her.

After we returned to her home I signed a "guest register" and she refilled my water bottles with crystal clear mountain water from her sink faucet. We then caravaned down to the Silver City Road at mile 18.3 in Ken Jones' report so that a flat tire could be readily repaired given that her cell coverage was excellent and mine was nonexistent. I need a better cell phone plan!!

We drove, now in her car, to Silver City (just 1 1/2 miles) and, cell phone in constant use, arranged a direct conversation between my mother in Los Angeles and the jewelry store shopkeeper who was more than eager for a sale. I bought myself a beautiful turquoise half-geode as bookend for $15 and paid with credit for my mother's new pair of Indian bracelets. An emerald-colored rock candy treat cost me one dollar and was a delicious lime flavor. It looked like jewelry on a stick!

We returned to my car (again, at mile 18.3 one-half mile west of New York Summit) and gave the lady the balance of my gouda (it is hard for her to come by such fine goods without an income and miles from any city of consequence).

I returned to Boise via Murphy and Nampa on route 78 thence route 45.