Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho: 8/25 – 8/29/19

We left Lewiston, Idaho, and headed south/southeast.  We stopped at Cascade Lake State Park and was able to get a site at Sugarloaf Campground, located in the central eastern section of Idaho, for the night.  We wanted to break up the drive to the Sawtooth Mountains.

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908FCA47-63A4-4DE4-A086-5FB28BB91B73After we were settled, we took a short walk with our chairs and relaxed by the water’s edge.

CD77EB2B-D62F-4509-B12F-0A9DCF0D132E.jpegI put my toes in, as Scott braved the cooler temperatures of the lake.  If the air and the water temperatures were a little bit warmer, I would have gone for a swim.  It was already late in the day and the temperature was falling.

BB6C494B-92E8-4911-86C2-BEB11823ACFFThe camp host and his wife were very nice and chatty.  They told us that they volunteer for six weeks each year at various campgrounds.  They have free board, and they work Monday – Friday, with weekends off to enjoy the local attractions.  I have to say that I don’t really want to clean fire pits, campsites, and restrooms in exchange for free room and board.  I would, however, be willing work in one of the Visitor’s Centers at any of the National Parks.  I’d rather enjoy spending my time meeting and talking with people.

The following morning we headed east toward the Sawtooth Mountains.  The Sawtooth Range, a major attraction for hiking and camping, is nearly a 700-square mile section of central Idaho and contains hundreds of alpine lakes left by receding glaciers.  Some say that they are the most beautiful lakes in the country.  I will say that they are quite pristine, clear and clean.  From the highway, we could see the jagged edged mountain range in the distance.

EFBAC377-1233-4BE2-BDC8-1B1451EBCB94.jpeg“The Sawtooth Range is a mountain range of the Rocky Mountains in central Idaho reaching a maximum elevation of 10,751 feet at the summit of Thompson Peak. It encompasses an area of 678 square miles. There are 57 peaks with an elevation over 10,000 feet in the Sawtooth Range, all between 10,000 to 10,751 feet in elevation.  The Sawtooth Range and Wilderness are home to nearly 400 lakes created by receding alpine glaciers.”

We didn’t have a reservation.  We made our way to Redfish Lake, which featured several campgrounds located on the perimeter of the lake.  The sign for Sockeye Campground indicated that it was “Full”, but we have learned that sometimes there may be one or two campsites still available.  Luck was on our side, and we got a beautiful site for two nights.  Sockeye Campground is composed of 23 secluded campsites including 6 double-sites on the shore of Redfish Lake. (See map above)  All sites here are first-come, first-serve. The campground is situated in a Lodgepole pine forest, common near the ocean shore and in dry montane forests to the subalpine, but is rare in lowland rain forests.

D92CAC9D-A16C-4EFB-9C89-817DA015CBFDThe next morning, it was 35 degrees outside and 45 degrees inside at 8:00 a.m.  We bundled up and began an 11.5 mile, round-trip hike on Redfish Trail.

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A14B0A26-886D-4901-AF73-514E22F07C0CAbout a mile into the hike, the sun quickly warmed things up and we began to lose some layers.

D07BB6F8-D896-477B-9585-C55F3267AB33As we gained elevation, we could see the Sawtooth Mountain peaks (“saw teeth”) through the trees.

850a00e9-9e32-4eb2-9f7c-7012951e2615We had reached the end of the marked trail.  If you wanted to go further, you had to create your own path.  I am not particularly fond of “bushwhacking”, so we turned around to go back down.  Next thing I know, Scott was suddenly stung on his nose by either a bee or a wasp.  His nose began to swell and he could feel the stingers.  I didn’t see anything sticking out of his nose, however I didn’t have my reading glasses with me.

693EF83F-9FCF-4483-A76B-5B24BF6F3C6BHe told me that he had NEVER been stung before, a fact that made me a bit uneasy.  He had a first aide kit in his pack but it didn’t have any Benadryl, only an antiseptic wipe.  Luckily, Scott did not have any adverse reactions to the sting.  On the way out, we looked back at what we had hoped we would have climbed.  There is always a next time.

BE9D08F3-E4A5-46A7-B695-BC7ED08E1AA2The next day we decided to pack a lunch and go on a lake picnic.  We took one kayak and the paddle board and began our lake adventure. We took turns switching off between the water toys.  The water was a little chilly, but we did get wet.  Then, we found a private beach to dock our boats and set up our hammocks.  Just look at the clean, blue-green water and the majestic mountains in the distance.  It was exquisite.

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8C59C38E-4028-4B40-96BD-7F5691715925The lake water was cold but refreshing.  I wasn’t able to stay in as long as Scott did.    It was time to cross the lake and make our way back to our campsite.  We made a fire on our last night at this campground.  Tomorrow we will continue our travels east.

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