Some reporters do their work over the phone. Others are masters of Google. Some root around in budgets and pour through public records. Boise Weekly staff writer Jessica Murri puts the "field" in "field reporter."
Since joining BW, Murri has consistently shown little regard for her own safety. She has been propelled out of Lucky Peak Reservoir wearing jet-powered boots, flown in a World War II bomber, gone up in a hot air balloon, accompanied missing-person searchers in a helicopter sweep of the Idaho wilderness, taken a bush plane into the backcountry for a weekend retreat with disabled kids and been given an aerial tour of a proposed dam site on the Weiser River.
All of this, I should mention, while being deathly afraid of flying.
I was not surprised when she asked me in July if she could take a few days to accompany a group of hikers on a 60-mile leg of the 900-mile Idaho Centennial Trail.
Murri joined the group near the beginning of the trek, which would run from the Idaho-Nevada line to Priest Lake, a few miles south of the U.S.-Canada border. By the time she hit the trail, the hikers had already suffered a setback in the desert, with temperatures in excess of 110 degrees and water supplies already running low. The 60 miles covered in July snaked through the Sawtooth Range and included torrential downpours, high-mountain lightning storms and no shortage of emotional turmoil.
A month later, all but one of the original hikers had dropped out, leaving ringleader Clay Jacobson to pick his way through forests beset with boulders, snags and—amid a historic fire season—frequently ablaze.
In this week's edition of BW, Murri revisits the Idaho Centennial Trail, capping off the story of an achievement only a handful of people can claim. Find her story here.