Tis that time of year again where a hikers heart longs for the trail, the sun, evenings by a fire with friends and strong cutthroats on the end of his line.
It's time to start planning the third annual Idaho Hang!
Amongst the fading embers of the fire this past hang we tossed around a couple ideas of where to hike and what to see. I have narrowed the options down to 2 hikes to choose from for this years festivities.
This years hang is to start the Wednesday following Labor day. This will be the 5th of September. We will meet as early as possible as folks arrive from all over the country---I will leave my house around 9am with about a 3 hour drive (not counting stoping for fishing along the way) With plans to be at the campground in the early to mid afternoon. The hike will begin on the Thursday the 6th through Sunday the 9th. Plan to stay extra if possible as we will move camp to the area of a hot springs for post hike relaxing, fishing in one of the area rivers, and general lollygagging. Depending on base camp location we will either plan for wilderness pot luck or eat out at one of the valley restaurants.
For the Hike We can pick from Miles or Fishing Smiles.
The hike begins at Grangjean Campground which would be the location for the base camp as well as the finish for hike. Grandjean is located on the SW side of the Sawtooths along the South Fork of the Payette river. It is 8 miles off the pavement of HWY 21. This hike will take us first SE along the Payette river before turning uphill as we follow Barron Creek 7 miles to Lake 8771. We will camp night one at Lake 8771 where from reports the cutthroat fishing is good. Day two will take us though a high pass and along the largest alpine lake in the Sawtooths (Sawtooth Lake) From the south end of the lake we can either hike down hill to Alpine Lake(under 4 miles for the day) to spend night 2 or head west towards Trail Creek lakes(8 miles) Day 3 would put us hiking from Aline to Trail Creek OR Have us Lollygagging a day at Trail Creek with potential to hike up to Trailer lakes which are supposed to have really hot fishing. Final day would be a hike out from the Trail Creek lakes back to the trail head at Grandjean about 5 miles but nearly all down hill but with a couple stream crossing along the way. This route would be over 20 miles round trip but take us though some incredible scenery. Here is the map (hike is counter clockwise, pins are the potential camps) as well as some pictures of the area. I read a trip report form this loop being done as a 2 day trip, skipping alpine and trail creek lakes altogether so I am sure it can be done as a 4 day trip with a decent level of comfort despite the relatively ambitious mileage. Needless to say though this hike will have some serious changes in elevation and any one on this hike should plan to be in shape as we will get close to 9500'. The only hang up with this hike would be that the Trail Creek Lake area went though a fire a couple years ago so finding a good grove of trees for everyone to hang together might take a little work and might mean that we are not hanging lake side.
Sawtooth lake looking towards pass to lake 8771
Fishing smiles puts us on a quite trail on the NW end of the Sawtooths. The trail starts about 1 mile off the pavement down a quite dirt road that ends at the trail head. There are not any facilities at this trail head just a parking lot. 4 miles of trail will put us at the first lake one more puts us at a small secluded alpine lake that is packed to the brim with Cuthtroat trout in the 8-12" range and some that will go bigger yet. This hike should only take about 2-2.5 hours to get to the second lake. From this point day hikes 1 mile back to the lower lake or 1.5 miles up then down hill to the third lake (which is supposed to have fewer but larger fish) Would be the order of the weekend. Hike out the way we came in on Sunday. There are only a few short steep sections on this trail but it does have a few hills to climb. If we pick this option though I may pack in my float tube and waders for fishing in the middle lake. Here is the Map as well as a picture or two. The down side to this hike is that it is out of the main jagged and rocky mass of the main band of the Sawtooths. While it is a beautiful and great location it's not near as scenic as the main body of the range, but it should make up for it in fishing as we should be bringing in 50+ fish each for a full day fishing in the middle lake. So if fishing quantity is preferred this would bring big smiles. For this hike we will pick a campground in the area for the first night as a place to meet up and spend the first night so that we have basic facilities for the fist night/morning.
Lots of trees
All the other Details and Post Hike:
For Refernce including directions with maps here are the planning threads for ID HANG #1 and #2
Trip Reports for ID Hang #1 , #1 Part 2 and #2 and Dblhammocks #2
Post hike any one that can stay past Sunday is invited to stick around to go to the campground at Grandjean to soak in the hot springs and fish in the Payette river. Regardless of which hike we choose after hike camping will be at Grandjean for a post hike soak in the excellent river side hot springs more fishing in the river and time by the camp fire. Last years hike we nearly had the campground to ourselves with room to hang dozens of hammocks along the river and stream that runs along the campground. Tuesday the 11th we will call it a trip and head for home.
So everyone is welcome to come. The more the better though we have had a great time getting to know people really well in small groups over the past couple year.