|Near Lewiston, ID.|
|Nearing Riggins. Former Nez Perce homeland.|
|Looks cute, but he is a fierce warrior.|
|Taking some downtime at the Projects Camping area. No, this isn't a log cabin, it is a van.|
|The Projects wall at Riggins.|
5 nights, 6 days, and 7 devils:
|Beautiful mountain Trout.|
|Dog lake, elevation 7900ft.|
Day one: The following morning we left the Windy Saddle Trailhead (around 8000ft) and headed South for Dog lake. 9 miles later we stumbled into an eye catching alpine basin and the Lake. The last 1.1 miles were somewhat complicated by sections of 'missing' trail and downed trees. With nobody around, we had our pick of several choice campsites along the lake, all adorned with fire-rings. After settling in, I put together my rod, grabbed a select few crimped lures, and worked my way along the shore, testing out promising spots. It wasn't long before I started hooking into beautiful Western Cutthroat. Though I've caught lots of little trout up in the Cascades, I've never hooked so many big fish. Most of them were 13-17 inches. I was in trout heaven.
|Day 2---with Hell's Canyon below.|
|Ahhhh, little butterfly!|
|Baldy Lake at sunset. This lake is a Trout Mecca.|
|Ben 'cakes' Gilkison in the office.|
|Thank you Summit Adventure for hooking me on mountain Calzones. My forever backcountry dinner favorite.|
|Talus surfing on the trek to Purgatory Lk. Triangle lake below.|
|Though we release 99%, these two didn't quite make the cut.|
|Trout, it is what's for dinner.|
|The ultimate horsecamp; a wilderness paradox.|
|He-Devil lake, heavenly.|
|The Tiffernator hiking robowoman. Obviously from the future.|
|Another great look into Hells Canyon.|
|The Seven Devil's Wilderness with Upper Bernard Lake in the foreground.|
|The Dry Diggins Lookout.|
|Sunset over Hell's Canyon & the Wallowa range.|
|This tree had a beard. So weird.|
|Brilliant wildflowers above Sheep Creek.|
Once accomplished, we headed down to the Amphitheatre one last time. Though tired from 8 miles on the trail that morning, Tiff graciously offered me a couple hours at the cave, and an opportunity to get pumped. Honestly, after six days on the trail, I didn't think I'd actually finish anything. There were a few locals from Spokane at the crag including Brian Raymon, who pointed out a sweet looking line called Tractor Boy. And, after warming up on the nice 11d, I gave a solid onsight effort. I think I fell around the 6th bolt. Pulling back onto the wall I rested a bit, and then worked out the moves to the top. The climbing on the upper headwall wasn't nearly as drilled out, and I was stoked! With only one more try remaining in the hour glass I managed to clip the chains of Tractor Boy 13b/c second go. Very pleased with some unexpected sendage, we bailed. Back down in Riggins we picked up some killer milkshakes and aimed South for McCall. In another couple hours we pulled into this small resort town and found some juicy burgers at "My Father's Place".
|Tackling steep terrain on Tractor Boy 13b.|
|The sandy beach in McCall, ID.|
From Sugah we traveled back down to the Warm Lake area and checked out Trail Creek hot springs. There were a couple people already here, but plenty of room for extra bodies. After getting our fill of hot water, and lunching up, we were back on the road. Working our way back to the 55, we then headed South down the North Fork of the Payette River. So many rivers! At Banks we turned East up the South Fork of the Payette. Temps really cranked up in this area. Soon we were headed down forest road 524 towards the Grandjean section of the Sawtooth's Wilderness. Towards the end of this washboard ridden dust-fest we found more free camping in a grove of pines along the Payette. Though thoroughly ensconced in mountainous terrain, the temps still managed to soar in the mid 80's. We set up camp (including our hammock), and chilled for a few hours. After procuring dinner, we took a stroll down the road and found the Sacajawea Hot Springs. The moon was out and soon we were exploring the many small pools. One pool in particular drew us in. But, as we soon found out, finding the balance between burning and freezing wasn't easy. Still, we had us a nice soak.
|Sugah Hot Springs along the S. Fork of the Salmon. One of our favorite primitive springs.|
|Who's that girl?|
|Cows, mountains, and smoke. What else could a man want?|
|This place gave me such great hair.|
|Please enlarge for facial expression.|
|Tiffers hauling Big Red.|
|The Elephant's Perch. Stunning.|
With a 5pm or 7pm boat pickup looming, we opted for the 5pm and hustled it down the descent gully, back to the lake to break camp, and down the trail to Redfish lake. We arrived with ten minutes to spare. On the way out we ran into Matt Kerns from Seattle and another gentleman named Tim who were coming into the perch to do some climbing. It was a cordial meeting. Matt's one of the nicest guys and it was great to see him. Its a small world.
|Tiffany finishing off pitch 5, Elephant's Perch. Saddleback lakes in background.|
The next day on our way South we checked out a neat little sport crag down in a lava tube near Shishone. It was somewhat difficult to get directions to this place. But, we eventually did obtain them. Not sure what I climbed since there is no Topo. You gotta love local cliffs.
|One steep lava tube jug haul. Not sure grade.|
To wrap up our Idaho tour, we spent the last few days climbing at the fabled City of Rocks. This National Preserve sits on a mountainous spur just North of the Utah border. Our days there were filled with perfect temperatures, rock, and scenery. Honestly, I can say that this place has the most uniquely featured granite that I've run across. It is very much like Joshua Tree down in Southern Cal, but the rock is simply much better. If you've survived this blog, I congratulate you; and likely, you are either my Mom or Dad, or another beloved relative.
|The City of Rocks. Yes, it rocks.|
Idaho really was a treat and we're psyched to check out Maple Canyon Utah next! Stay tuned...
|Tiff floating thin Slice 10a.|
|The amazing arete of Cairo. 11a.|