Pioneering a 1,200-mile Hike

A Once-in-a-lifetime Experience
By Stephen Stuebner

In September 14, Williams and Tate hiked the last leg of the journey along Boundary Creekaptly named, of courseand crossed into Canada in wet rainforest. They had done it.

Their wives joined them for a champagne toast at the border, and they drove back to the Coeur d'Alene Resort to clean up and devour a tasty first-class meal at the luxury resort.

"My wife met me with a razor," Tate says, grinning.

At the trip's conclusion, the two scruffy guys looked each other over and realized that their bodies had been transformed. Both of the athletic men had lost about 20 pounds. "Our legs looked like a weight lifter's and the top half looked like a prisoner of war's," Williams said.

Over nearly 90 days in the Idaho backcountry, Williams and Tate had met only a dozen people on the trail. They saw most people rafting down the Middle Fork. They enjoyed many views of wildlife, but not quite as many as they had hoped. They spied a few coyotes, elk, deer, antelope, bighorn sheep, black bear and "a good number of rattlesnakes." They didn't run into a mountain goat, and they never saw a grizzly.

Tate enjoyed the mellow feeling he got on the summer-long trek, just taking it one step at a time, one day at a time.

"You get into a mindset that doesn't really compare with anything else," he says. "If you're out for a three-day trip, you get a mindset for a three-day trip. When you're out for almost three months, you don't really think about anything more than what you've got in front of you on that particular day.... Every day was different. We always looked forward to the next day and what it would bring."

"We made it without serious mishap," Williams says. "And we had one tremendous, once-in-a-lifetime experience."

"There's an extreme amount of satisfaction that comes with a trip like that," Tate adds. "I can't think of anything better than spending an enjoyable summer hiking the Centennial Trail. Idaho is such a diverse state, and you never fully appreciate that until you've hiked the length of the state, from the desert, to the mountains, to the rivers, to the rainforest. Its quite a place."

For more information on the Idaho Centennial Trail, check

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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