Monday, August 9, 2010


Last Friday evening, the 31st, daughter Hallie and husband Nick arrived from Seattle. Saturday we made some final preparations and then got an afternoon swim at the river after which I grilled some chicken for dinner. Sunday morning we made the long 6+ hour trip south to central Idaho. Traffic was terrible (even in Idaho) and the trip took us longer than anticipated. We met son, Clint, south of Stanley at the 4th of July Creek road which took us 10 miles to the trailhead into the Boulder-White Clouds Mountains.

The Boulder-White Clouds Mountains area in the heart of Idaho is the largest unprotected roadless area in the west. It is being proposed as a Wilderness Area but has not yet been granted that designation. A lot of politics is involved. It is one of the few wild areas of Idaho that I had not been and that is the selfish reason I chose this destination in spite of the long trip to get there. However, it was a relatively short trip for Clint who lives in Hagerman in south central Idaho. I had chosen the Born Lakes destination based on the recommendation of an experienced outdoorsman that I knew through our mutual membership to a website for upland bird hunters.

We departed the trailhead about 3:00 p.m. on the 3.6 mile trek into the lakes. I thought I was in pretty good shape and had done four hikes with a 40+ pack the previous week. However, I did not feel strong at all. I felt a little light headed and my legs were dead. I don’t know whether it was the elevation or that I’m just getting old. Maybe it was a little of both. It was uphill all the way to the edge of Ants Basin before dropping down into the bottom. We (except for Hallie) departed the trail at the top and hiked a short ways to the very top of the ridge to find a geocache. It was located at 10,138 feet elevation. From there we wound our way down the switchbacks to the bottom and eventually over to the lakes. We arrived a little before 6:00 p.m. at the lake which was over 9,200 feet elevation. There was only one other party (two pleasant middle aged couples from Boise) camped in the whole area so we had our choice of many campsites. We eventually found a very nice site and set up camp.

It took me quite a while to set up my little tent because it had been a couple of years since I had used it (the only time) and I didn’t have the instructions. I eventually got it done and Clint and I gathered some firewood and got a fire going hoping it would help with the mosquitoes – no such luck. We fixed a nice dinner and set around the fire for a while before turning in. I went to bed with a slight headache that never left. My pack was outside the tent and I knew if I crawled out to get some headache medicine I would never get my feet warm the rest of the night so I just stuck it out. My tent mate, Nellie, had to leave the tent several times during the night which didn’t help my rest. However, since she packed in 9 pounds of which less than half was her food, I won’t complain too much.

After a breakfast of oatmeal Clint and I decided we would hike over to one of the other lakes and Nick and Hallie were going to stay while Nick tried his hand at fishing. The lake wasn’t too far and even more scenic than the one where we were camping. We returned to camp before lunch and Nick hadn’t had any luck fishing because they hadn’t been able to unearth any bait. I decided I would give it a try (finding bait) and caught a horsefly and put it on a small hook for Nick. He immediately got some action and while he was fishing Hallie caught more flies. While they fished Clint, Nellie and I climbed up the divide on the south side of the lake. We climbed up over 10,000 feet and completely escaped the mosquitoes. I placed a geocache at 10,382 feet.

After a late lunch Clint and I went back to the rocky south side of the lake to see if we could escape the mosquitoes and relax on the big boulders. Mosquitoes were still there but not as bad as at the campsite. When we returned Nick had caught 4 nice Cut Throat trout. For supper that evening we supplemented our dehydrated food with the trout. They were absolutely delicious – I’ve never tasted better.

The evening wasn’t as cold as the previous one, I didn’t have a headache and Nellie didn’t leave the tent until morning. The only problem was that I was constantly scratching mosquito bites from 2:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.

We broke camp shortly after breakfast and made it back to the trailhead in 2 ¼ hours. There was a lot of road construction which made the road trip back a lot slower than it should have been. We went directly to the farm where Kathy greeted us with a sumptuous lasagna dinner. Hopefully we can find a destination with less mosquitoes next year. M/W


Hallie said...

I like the photo where you're walking away from the camera. Classic timed photo faux pas! The photos look like post cards on the new blog. Nice!

murray.warnock said...

Looks like a great trip (except for the mosquitoes.) Wish Doug and I had made it. Sounds like you were feeling the effects of the altitude, Dad. I used to always get a persistent headache on the first day visiting Laramie, at only 7,000 feet.