Since it seemed that summer had finally arrived (it was late-June after all) it was time to do some camping with my folks. We drove their new fifth-wheel trailer to Redfish Lake, ID and called the Sawtooth Wilderness home for almost a week. The week flew by with absolutely gorgeous weather, one gourmet home cooked meal after another, jam sessions, and plenty of soul-refueling trail runs in the mountains.
This trip might have spoiled me a bit as far as camping goes! From quiche, orange rolls and fresh ground coffee in the mornings to steaks, fresh salads, and Black Butte Porter in the evenings, there wasn’t a package of ramen noodles to be found! We even brought our instruments so several evenings the three of us had outdoor jam sessions with Mom on fiddle, Dad on guitar, and me on keyboard.
One nice thing about Idaho is the abundance of hot springs. Thanks to Zac and Misty’s guidebook we were able to find two very cool hot springs in the area, each with incredible views and very few other people.
The Sawtooth Wilderness is a hikers paradise. The three of us hiked nearly every day and I would then continue on to some destination that had captured my interest from the map. In the five days we were there I hiked and trail-ran 60 miles and climbed over 11,000 vertical feet. I just couldn’t help it, the mountains were so inviting I felt it would have been rude to turn them down!
The following is dedicated to my dear friend Victor the Malaysian Sensation, who during his tenure in the US made quite a case that he was part polar bear. There was no water too cold for him and if you didn’t eagerly follow him into whatever icy mountain lake he took a fancy to there would be some taunting words headed your direction! Come back to the USA Victor, the water is nice and cold here!
The last day’s adventure was pure sprinkles. I had been eying a few destinations on the trail map, but with only one day left there was no choice but to hit them all in a row. Catching the 9 AM shuttle boat to the trail head, I was soon miles up the trail and switch backing up to Alpine Lake, still completely frozen over. From there it was a slow climb through deep snow and rock up to and along Baron Divide for amazing views of the entire wilderness. Back down below Alpine Lake, the trail’s usual mellow river crossing was instead a raging river of spring runoff, requiring a half mile of bushwhacking upstream to find an acceptable log jam to get across. From there it was only four miles up a different trail to my final destination, the Cramer Lakes. Arriving with just enough time to take a few pictures and refill my water bottles with snow, I turned around with less than two hours to make the seven or eight miles back to the 5 PM shuttle boat. With the help of a little Bush and Static-X in the headphones, my fatigue gave way to the manic euphoria of a runner’s high like never before. I sprinted down the last three miles like a rabid springbok, shrieking with joy and leaping from rock to rock in motions more like flying than running, arriving at the shuttle boat 30 seconds before they left for home.
Meanwhile Mom and Dad had hiked much further than planned as well, putting over seven miles behind them to the Bench Lakes. Quite impressive, especially considering that Mom injured her back several months ago and has only recently been out and about again. I’m proud of you guys, keep it up!
On the way home the open road was a sure reminder that in a few days the Camel and I would be headed for our next destination, but not before Dad and I tackled the broken water pump. A thorough inspection found the failed seal and by the end of the day the engine was leak free and (knock on wood) ready for many thousand more miles.