Posts Tagged ‘Sawtooth Mountains’

Craters of the Moon, Pioneer Fire, and Redfish Lake, Idaho

September 3, 2016

A couple weeks ago (August 21-24, 2016) our family made a trip to Redfish Lake Lodge in the Sawtooth mountains near Stanley, Idaho. Our group of 7 included David, Megan, and me, son Adam and wife Meredith from New York, and David’s siblings – Paul from Kenosha, WI, Pauline from Arizona. My brother, Eric, a.k.a ‘mountain goat’ met us at the lodge.

Redfish Lake is about a 4-hour drive from Idaho Falls. Traveling west on Highway 20 past Arco you come to Craters of the Moon National Monument. Craters of the Moon is one of the best-preserved flood basalt areas in the continental United States. We had to stop. Five of our group climbed to the top of Inferno Cone. A short but steep trail up the cinder cone leads to an overlook of the entire monument. Five of our group hiked to the top. I snapped a photo of them on their way back down.

Family portrait on Inferno Cinder Cone

Family portrait on Inferno Cinder Cone

Bottom left is Paul, then David, Pauline behind, and Adam and Meredith on top.

Next we walked the 1/2-mile trail to Indian Tunnel.

Megan leads the way

Megan leads the way

Craters of the Moon

Craters of the Moon

We all made it to the tunnel but only Adam and Meredith went through it. I met them at the exit and captured photos as they emerged. First Meredith’s head pops through

Meredith is reborn

Meredith is reborn

Then Adam

Adam emerges

Adam emerges

This Indian tunnel link gives you a photo of the tunnel opening just before you find your way back out.

Adam and Meredith scramble up

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and we follow the cairns imbedded in the molten rock surfaces to get us back to the trail.

Heading back

Heading back

An hour later we lunch in Ketchum and then head toward Galena Summit. Beautiful day! We keep an eye on the car in our rear view mirror – it’s Paul driving my blue Avalon with Adam and Meredith

toward Galena Summit

toward Galena Summit

Check out the Galena Summit view! What?

Galena Summit

Galena Summit

The far peaks, by Redfish Lake, are socked in with smoke. Oh well. We had already heard about the Pioneer Fire in the Boise National Forest, northeast of Boise, that had started on July 28 and was working its way toward Stanley. The fire is still burning today (Sept 3, 2016) and will likely keep burning into October. Check out this link to the Pioneer Fire – published two days ago, on Sept. 1. It shows a video of the Pioneer Fire taken from a helicopter four days ago, on August 30. Hot, dry weather this week caused the wildfire to grow much larger. There are more than 1,100 people working to contain the fire, and as of August 31, it was 58 percent contained. It has grown 13 times larger since July 28.

There are multiple fires in Idaho this summer due to a considerably long dry period combined with excessive amounts of old dead timber. This summer has been one of the driest summers on record in Idaho.

Onward to Redfish Lake, those aren’t rain clouds ahead!

smoky ahead!

smoky ahead!

We’ve reached the blanket of smoke now

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Pioneer Fire near Stanley and Redfish

Pioneer Fire near Stanley and Redfish

The Sawtooths are coming into view. Mount Heyburn is the jagged peak on the left.

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5:30 PM. We’ve pulled into Redfish Lodge – time to check in, in what should be broad daylight. Eerie.

Check out the sun, Megan!

Check out the sun, Megan!

(We made a trip to Redfish August of last year as well, during beautiful weather. I took lots of photos of the Sawtooths and blogged about it exactly a year ago. – click on the link here to see clear photos of Redfish Lake Lodge and the magnificent Sawtooths in late August 2015…)

We check in at our cabin. Then gather for dinner at the Lodge. “Hey Paul, Adam, Meredith – pose for a photo!”

Bloggers are annoying

Bloggers are annoying

That’s better :0 :

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Eat, rest, and be merry, all, but mostly, build up strength, because tomorrow we’re doing the 10-mile round trip hike to Hell Roaring Lake. Yeah, I guess we are. My brother Eric met us at Red Fish Lake Lodge for dinner and somehow talked us into it.

Adam, Meredith, Pauline, Eric, Megan at dinner (David, Jody and Paul missing from photo).  Meredith loves to be photographed

Adam, Meredith, Pauline, Eric, Megan at dinner (David, Jody and Paul missing from photo). Meredith loves to be photographed

Sure, Eric. We’ll do it. Does that sound like a potential death march to you?

Redfish Lake

September 3, 2015

Every summer we try to stay a couple of nights at Redfish Lake in the Sawtooth Mountains near Stanley, Idaho. This year we rented a cabin for two nights (August 23-25) while David’s sister, Pauline, was visiting.

Redfish is about a 4-hour drive from Idaho Falls. We usually stop in Sun Valley for lunch on the way. Then we head up Highway 75 – the Sawtooth Scenic byway – to Galena Summit, at 8701 feet. We always pull over to take in the view of the Sawtooths. I captured this photo from the summit – mid-afternoon, August 23.

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It is smoky today so you don’t see the far right end of the range where Redfish Lake is nestled at the base of Mount Heyburn. Check out this wiki-link to Galena Summit for a better photo and information…

We’ve checked into our cabin and wander up to the lodge – pose for photos – David and Megan in front of the lodge,

Redfish Lake Lodge

Redfish Lake Lodge

and Megan and I in front of the lake. Mount Heyburn is the craggy granite peak poking up on the far right.

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Another view of the lake and Mount Heyburn:

Mount Heyburn

Mount Heyburn

Eric, Pauline, and I hike up to the Bench Lakes. It’s about 8 miles round trip. (David stayed behind with Megan, who didn’t feel well.)

Here is the map at the trailhead that gives you that reassuring ‘you are here’ aerial view of the lake and hiking trials uh, trails.

“No death marches, Eric!”

The trail to the Bench Lakes runs along the left edge of the lake; jogs off, and climbs steeply up to the Lakes¬†when you get about 2/3 the way to the end of the lake. Hard core hikers and climbers can pack in and hike for several days – to Alpine Lake, Cramer Lakes, Hell Roaring Lake – Eric and David both have tales to tell (i.e. death marches) … You can actually hike for fifty miles from various trails leading off from the lake (and take a boat across the lake to save some hiking).

I only took one photo on the four-mile trek up to the Bench Lakes:

Mount Heyburn

Mount Heyburn

We’re at the Lower Bench Lake now. Pauline and I are snacking on nuts, brownies, cheese, and chocolates, while Eric fishes:

Eric, the fish whisperer

Eric, the fish whisperer

He hooks one right away:

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A beatiful lake trout. But it’s so fiesty, it’s about beaten itself to death fighting Eric yanking out the hook.

A lake trout and his no good very bad day

A lake trout and his no good very bad day

He catches 8 fish by the end of the day, throws them all back. (Yeah, with big mouth ow-ies, Eric, and occasional gouged eyeballs, and no lunch to boot!)

At the second Bench Lake (five minute walk from the first lake) there’s a nice view of Heyburn.

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Pauline and I are pretty beat by the time we make it back to the cabin.

Pauline at the end of our hike

Pauline at the end of our hike

Except, she’s 79 years of age, and no more worn out than I (cashing in now on her years of dedication to yoga, stetching and exercise!)

For dinner we drive to Stanley, Idaho – just a ten minute drive. You might have heard of Stanley, as throughout the winter it consistently hails as the coldest spot in the mainland USA. But this late August night is warm and exquisite. I capture a view of the sun setting over the Sawtooths.

Uh, might be more impressive during the day?

Uh, might be more impressive during the day?

Then we looked in the opposite direction. What the? …

You're kidding, right? A fire?

You’re kidding, right? A fire?

Oh my goodness. A fire has erupted near Challis! Eric, is this caused by your voodoo or are you just photo bombing my photographic challenge?

You're scaring us, Eric

You’re scaring us, Eric

By the time dinner was over, the fire had grown much larger…

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We found out when we got home that the fire had erupted in the Salmon-Challis National Forest – 17 miles west of Challis, Idaho. It has not been contained yet, 10 days later.

Okay, time to put a wrap on this. On our way home we hiked near the White Cloud mountains to the Fourth of July Lake. Here is a great link that describes this hike and several other nice day hikes around Stanley, Idaho.

The area had been charred by a forest fire about six years ago.

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The trees are bouncing back though! Many young spruce standing 4 feet tall:

New growth!

New growth!

Walking back now though a burst of fall colors.

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But, what I enjoyed most about our hike to Fourth of July Lake? The views as we drove back on the 10-mile dirt road to the main highway….

The Sawtooth Mountain Range coming into view!

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I took a photo of the “Alps of Idaho”

'Just can't capture it!'

Just can’t capture it!

And a video, which I tried to post here several times, but it doesn’t work, but it should, and maybe it does on your computer, laptop, i- Pad or i-Phone … but if it doesn’t – oh well, I’ll keep working on it: (?????)

Because I never want to forget how magnificent the Sawtooths are.

Well, we’ve been back home over a week now. Pauline stayed with us 10 days but then she flew home. But not before I cajoled her into posing for a picture in our back yard with my hubby, David, her younger brother.

David, Pauline, and Rudy

David, Pauline, and Rudy

Two Caraher dynamos. Well, three, counting Rudy.

Pauline says she wants to do it all again next year. She’s in such great physical shape, she could probably even survive one of Eric’s hikes, you know, which inevitably turn into death marches.