2nd Annual Idaho Hang Trip Report (as usual lots of pics!)
Another Idaho Hang is in the books and it was a great trip. Loads of fun with old friends and new. In attendance were my self, KSC, MuseJr, Weird1, and DblHammock caught up with us for the last couple days.
On Wednesday morning the 7th calls all across the west were flying back and forth to start working at coordinating when and where we were all going to meet up. Weird1 was set to arrive here early in the morning to follow me the last couple hundred miles up to the Sawtooths, having ridden his motorcycle across central Oregon the afternoon before. MuseJr was in route across northern Utah. KSC was doing final prep to hit the road in Nevada.
After a few texts and a few calls that kept getting dropped Weird1 and I rolled into SnowBunny Burgers in Haily to meet up with MuseJr for some lunch. We then wandered our way north, picking up fishing licenses and fuel before working our way up along the Wood River in search of trout.
Coming up empty handed and with KSC catching up with us we decided to head the last few miles up the road, over the pass and into the Sawtooth Valley. We swung into Smiley Creek Lodge for a early dinner and then cruised the last few miles to the campground at Red Fish Lake.
Hammocks were hung well away from the fire with care and we all enjoyed a few brewed beverages and some desert. Everyone had brought a BB to hang in, though tarps and insulation ran the spread of most of the HF vendors. The temp overnight dropped to a cool 32 degrees that got everyone up early to start packing for the first day of hiking. We swung into the Red Fish Lodge for breakfast before hitting the dock to take the shuttle boat 4 miles across the lake to the trail head.
Soon we were at the wilderness area boundary just outside of the small campground at the dock.
And before long we were getting treated to amazing scenery all the way along the trail as we climbed away from the lake.
The miles of trail slowly started to add up and then the switch backs that would take us up out of the valley floor and to Alpine lake started.
After what seemed like 50 switch backs (though the guide book says 20 :mellow:) we began to top out on the hill and were soon along the shore of Alpine lake.
A small fire and dinner as dark settled over the valley and our camp tucked into a small point along the lake across from the more heavily used sites along the trail.
The sun came up early on Friday along with a quick breakfast and plans started to form. Musejr's knee had started bothering him and Weird1 was worn from the hike in. KSC and I decided to work our way to the Upper Red Fish lakes as a day hike. As the crow flys they were only about 1 mile away but we new we were going to have to work to get to them. A large wall of rock split the valley we were in with the next one over where the 2 upper Red Fish lakes sat. After studying the map for a bit we chose to hike out to the hill side above the switch backs and work our way along off trail above the valley.
After a couple hours of working our way along the hill side we finally crested a small rise and spotted the first of the lakes. Soon we were strolling the last steps down to the shore and quickly rigging up our fishing gear. It did not take more than a moment before I was rewarded for the hike with a couple of nice Cutthroats on the end of my Tenkara rod.
We strolled over a small hill that separates the two lakes by only a few hundred feet. I quickly extended my rod and as I saw fish swarming everywhere along the shore within easy reach of my line. For the next hour I pulled fish after fish out of the lake.
I took a short break to catch up with KSC who was setting up to make some mini pizzas following the guidance of Jbehun who made them on the trail during last years hang. Man they hit the spot and I was back out chasing fish for another hour until we decided it was time to head back to camp, giving ourselves plenty of time to make it before dark.
We climbed steadily above the lakes for probably a half mile before the pass that we were headed for came into view above us.
As we worked our way higher and higher the perspective of the surrounding peaks kept changing.
Finally we crested the ridge at the pass to catch sight all the way back down to Red Fish lake across the hanging valley where Alpine lake waited for us below.
Now the real work of getting back to camp would start. The decent down this side of the pass was partially still covered in snow and hundreds of feet in elevation to descend over loose often sandy scree.
But as the afternoon light changed it was an amazing spot to witness the mountains working their magic.