1st Annual Idaho Hang
With over a year in the planning the first annual Idaho hang was a great success. First I want to thank the guys that came for driving and flying so far just to spend a few days hanging out with me in my little back yard. I could not have asked for anything more from this trip and it will stand alone as one of the best I have done with guys that meet as near strangers last week, in in minutes were laughing and sharing a beer like old friends.
Soon after arriving and setting up our hammocks for the night we set to getting some dinner. Old Gringo had venison ready to go on the grill (thanks KSC for bringing that and so many things that made camp so much better) We feasted on tenderloin, corn on the cob, beer and bourbon, and cinnamon rolls.
After dinner we sat around the fire swapping story's for many hours till a light rain began to fall and we each headed off to hang in the trees for the night. The rain continued off and on thought the night and the temps dropped into the mid 30's.
In the morning the four of us hiking packed our gear in hopes that the rain would soon subside and we would head out. Old Gringo planned to keep site 8 secure and keep the coffee on in anticipation of our return. Before setting out we decided to head to a near buy restaurant for a warm breakfast. As we drove the couple miles down the hwy the rain began to get a bit fuzzy and was soon a full blown early season light snow storm. We were greeted warmly with a welcoming fire in the wood stove and hot coffee in at the table near as quick as we sat down. As we looked over the menu the power went out. In short order the wait staff was cracking jokes and making plans to drain the beer fridge before it grew warm. They put on a pot of chili on the wood stove to warm and we decided to stay and enjoy the fun nature of the first snow of the year.
After a couple hours we decided we should pay the tab and head back to camp. We asked for the check and we were promptly told there was no charge, even though we had each had our fill of breakfast chili, most of the coffee they had made and taken up a table for hours. We tipped on the heavy side.
We returned to find camp free of snow but the puddles were growing. We decided to hang the night in camp and set to hike the next day rain or shine.
After getting hammock and tarps re-hung we set took some time to stretch our legs on some short hikes around the lake.
I then decided to take a minute and ogle everyone's hammock gear.
Here is Old Gringo's set up, A WBBB 1.7 dbl, under a Gargoyle gear Ogee tarp, sporting Hammock Gear-stormcrow top and bottom quilts.
Here is KSC's WBBB 1.1 DBL with his WB Superfly tarp and a Wally pad laminated with Reflectix.
Here is Scott's set up, a HH with HH Hex tarp over a JRB UQ, This was to be Scott's second night in the hammock.
Joe, had a DIY rectangle tarp over his DIY hammock and poncho liner UQ.
I had some new gear that was getting it's very first prototype testing on this trip. Set up on my WBBB 1.1 DBL.
As early evening rolled around our minds soon returned to a warm wood stove, a hot meal and a cold beer. We decided once again to go down to the little hwy side restaurant up the valley. On the way we spotted a small group of antelope grazing on the grass at the road side.
We enjoyed a hot hamburger and fresh cut french fries each with the power back on and then returned to camp to sit around a large fire into the night.
When the sun came up on Friday morning there was a chill in the air and fog floating into camp from the lake.
A small sheet of ice had formed on some standing water on the edge of my tarp.
As the sun peaked though the fog and began to warm the morning we felt excited to get ready to hit the trail and packed quickly. We were soon ready to get on the trail and see what the next few days would have in store for us.
We would find out soon that what lay ahead was three days of excellent weather, clear warm days and cool lights.
After a good days worth of hiking we made it to Toxaway lake, where we had originally planned to spend the second night on the trail. With having lost a day due to the weather we pushed and found a great spot to hang at the upper end of the lake. After getting set up and having a bit of dinner I set out along the lake at dusk to see if I could find any fish in the lake.
I found a number of small Brookies in the lake that were more than happy to chase down a fly as it grew dark. As I fished and light diminished the fish grew larger and fiercer in their hits on my fly, but I began to wonder if I would be able to see to get back to camp in the dark. I gave in and headed back to find the fire going and a warm hammock waiting for me.
Sun up brought frost on the tarp and Joe cooking over his wood stove.
We set out to tackle the 9390 foot pass above the lake that would take us into the Alice lake basin. Switch back after switch back took us steadily up the granite ringed bowl that lead to the pass.
In short order with a steady pace set by Joe we were on the pass taking in the view of both the Toxaway and the Twin/Alice lake basins.
I had thrown in a trail treat to enjoy at the right moment, I felt compelled that after the climb to this beautiful spot, this was that moment.
We made quick work of the hike down the southern slope and were at Alice lake in no time, we set about setting up camp and getting lunch.
I again set out to try a bit of fishing and after a bit was rewarded with another fine brook.
After some more time in camp I follwed KSC out to a small point and was there in time to get pictures of his nice fish.
A little more time fishing as darkness rolled in and it was time for sitting by a warm fire, more jokes and more gear talk before another night hanging in the trees.
As the sun came up we were greeted with glass smooth reflections of the peaks on the lake.
We packed and got set for our final section of trail on the way back to Pettit lake.
We pushed hard down the hill with another section of countless switchbacks winding down the hill side, dropping down into the valley below.
We soon had the valley floor and worked our way along the stream, into small meadows and finally along the upper end of Pettit lake.
We made it back to the camp ground and whistling a tune as we arived found Old Gringo waiting in the shade for us to arrive.
After some loading and sorting, a bit more chatting about the past few days, Keith, Joe and Scott loaded up and set out on their way home.
To be Continued in part 2.....Old Gringo and I fish the Salmon River for Rainbow trout and hang along the banks in the Sawtooth Valley.