Another great year at the Idaho Hang!
As always we had an amazing time, incredible scenery, great food, and made new friends. I want to thank those that were able to come this year. It really made my trip to get to spend time getting to know new folks and chat about gear, fishing, hiking, and a million other things.
On with the trip report.
This year had some great country to hike through. Every year someone has said "Good job Paul, nice route." and every year I have said "You can't go wrong with any trail in the Sawtooths." This year was no exception. We hiked on great trails that had amazing views and got to hang along side a couple of gorgeous lakes full of fish.
The Hang started Wednesday the 4th as KSC and I meet up in Stanley and drove around looking for a campsite for the evening. We headed first to the lake where we planned to just grab a spot in the campground. It however was full and we had to do a little looking around to find a spot off of one of the many side roads near the lake. With a spot back in the woods selected we headed on down to Red Fish Lodge where we would meet up with Snrmoment for dinner. As we hung out and chatted YellowJacket texted my that his flight had gotten into Boise and he would be on his way up to the Sawtooths shortly. I gave him directions on how to find the camp site and we headed inside for dinner. An hour latter with bulging guts full of great tasking food we waddled to our vehicles and headed to the hang site.
We each found trees as we spread out throughout the woods. I picked 2 tress just steps from my car....was feeling plenty lazy and they worked. I hung in my single layer RR with Spindrift
KSC found a spot a few yards away for his Dangerbird with FlameThrower UQ
Snrmoment hung his gear a few yards to the other side of me.
As the light started to fade I grabbed a quick shot of the stream/mash that lay just beyond camp.
It was dark by the time YellowJacket made it up to camp so I did not get a picture of his set up that evening. We all settled into the hammocks with lightning flickering in the distance.
About 6 I woke up and saw that the lightning was now closer and it seamed like the storm was on the way our direction. In a few moments everyone was up and tossing gear into their cars. Just as we were all just about fished with lighting and thunder all around the sky opened up on us. A couple of quick car to car conferences and we decided to head back to the lodge and get breakfast someplace dry and warm...sounded better than eating oatmeal in the rain sitting on a wet truck tailgate.
After Breakfast we shuttled cars around between the start and finish trail heads and we were off. KSC opted to hike the extra miles solo and would meet YellowJacket, Snrmoment and myself at the lake. We set out with grey overcast all around.
As we hiked the clouds thinned out and finally broke into a nice sunny morning.
The weather was almost constantly in question when we made the lake so we did not waste any time in working to get everything set up.
We all selected trees and got busy getting the gear set up with tarps deployed.
My Ridgrunner is under my Hard Rock Tarp, the original exterior pole mod tarp.
YellowJacket setting up his OES Cuben over a BAIS with his brand new FlameThower UQ.
Snrmoment getting his rig set up, Mostly DIY gear with a Hammock Gear UQ.
With my gear high and dry and some lunch in my belly I set out around the lake to see how the fishing was. It had been over 10 years since I last fished this lake, more than 4 since I had last been there. Last time I fished it the lake had some very nice Cutthroat in it.
Lets just say I was not disappointed.
As I worked my way around the lake KSC arrived and got started setting up his gear for the evening. See if you can pick out his tarp.
Here it is a little closer.
I had read that Golden trout (not native to Idaho in any way) had been planted in this lake over the past few years and I hoped to get one. It did not take long before I had my fist golden ever on the line. Gorgeous fish.
I got another moments later and then the sky opened up and with more thunder and lightning the lake was soon being pelted with a fierce rain storm. I packed my gear up...holding onto a 13' carbon fiber rod in a lighting storm us not a good plan...and hiked back to camp. 15 minutes later the storm had passed but the fish did not care they had decided to sit on the bottom of the lake for the rest of the day.
Evening meals were eaten and we hung out chatting for a while but all headed off to the hammock before it was terribly late.
In the morning we all ate and packed ready to hit the trail. We had our longest day of the trip for most of the group while KSC would swing out well to the south of the main group adding in some extra miles.
UP the trail we went.
One last look back at the lake as we climbed.
In fair time we had climbed a little over 1000 feet in elevation and made it to the higher lake, and fork in the trail where KSC planned to split off to the south while the rest of us would head west and then north to our next lake for the night. We figured we should grab a quick group shot.
PG, YellowJacket, KSC, Snrmoment
But as we chatted KSC decided he really wanted to try JellowJackets pack and said he would take it up to the pass if that was OK with YJ. Golly having your pack chauffeur up the hill? Who could resist.
Off he goes.
As we climbed we just could not pass up some of the views.
Near the top
At the top of the hill KSC gave YJ back his pack and headed out to hike back to the bottom of the hill and pick up his gear to head south. We turned out feet west and headed down hill about a mile to the edge of a lake in the middle of an old forest fire bun area. We decided it was as good of a spot of a rest and lunch as any. If you have read any of my trip reports you know what happened next. Quick lunch, Tenkara gear in hand, fish. Yep I set out to see if there were any fish in the lake. It was a pretty small lake, right along the trail, in a bun area, could there be anything in it? I was not sure I would find much. I took a rod that already had a line and fly rigged and just steps from where we had all been sitting I pulled a small 6" cutthroat out. I slowly worked my way around the lake picking off a few similar sized fish for a while. Then as I neared the far side of the small lake I had a fish hammer the fly much lager than the rest.
The rest of the fish in the lake where close to this size. I was flabbergasted and figured that most folks probably just right it off as dead water being in the burn area as it is. Several more nice fish to hand before I lost my fly to a tree.
View of almost all of the lake behind a healthy Cut.
With my fly gone I hopped rocks and logs back to my pack and the others waiting.
Down the trail.
We picked our way along the trail, winding and curving through the hills and on down hill from the high lakes.
Miles and hours flew by as we settled into the day of hiking, eventually coming out of the burn area and back into thick forest. A couple last miles and we hit the base of the hill to climb up to Hansen Lakes....our home for the next two nights of the hang. It's a brutal climb up from the valley floor to the lakes, especially after a full days worth of hiking.
We eventually made it and waiting for us was the final member of the Idaho hang, Ty. A new hammocker that found AHE 2 weeks before the hang. He picked up a Jarbidge that was getting it's very first nigh that evening. He had class the day before and could not get away so settled to meet us at Hansel lakes.
It only took 4 years but finally a second Idahoan attends the Idaho Hang.
Ty was waiting next to the lake with his pup Emma who warmed up to everyone quickly. We all got our hammocks hung up, I picked the same spot I had hung from on my trip in early August. And we all ate dinner before crashing early.
In the morning we set about getting ready to do some fishing with a day hike to the upper lake planned to fish it in the afternoon. I hiked around the lake to a spot that had done well for my during my previous visit. Partially because there was room to cast with less worry about snagging a tree. As I fished a guy hiked up and set up to do some fishing not to far away and before long we were talking fishing and he was asking about Tenkara...Think I have him converted
Back a camp, little lunch, hiked up to the upper lake and we set about catching some that we would keep for part of dinner.
As we hiked down to the lower lake and camp we ran into KSC, he had caught back up to us and was headed up to meet us at the upper lake and round off his milage for the day.
At camp he set up his Bushman Hammock Chair and relaxed.
We gathered a little wood and started the fire for some coals to cook over.
Ty prepping the fish to go on the coals
While we hung our a couple of Groundlings hiked in and hung out chatting about gear for a while. We invited them to stay for dinner so they found a spot a little ways off to set up their tents then came back and we chatted about hammock and backpacking gear for hours.
Before long the fish was ready and we all dug in.
Everyone eventually started heading off to bead as the fire died down. I chatted hammocks with the groundlings for a bit and showed them my rig for a bit.
In the morning we all were up packing pretty early.
We grabbed out group photo and got set to hit the trail.
PG, Snrmoment, KSC, YellowJacket, Emma (the trail dog), and Ty
One last shot of the lake.
As we rounded the point of the lake we past the Groundlings camp where they were working on their breakfast.
They looked tired, guess they did not get a restful night.
We soon split up into two groups to head down the hill. KSC and I would take the steeper wrote down while the rest would work at an angle with a little more side hilling to the bottom.
KSC and I grabbed shots of the waterfall in the morning light.
It took us about 30 minutes to hit the bottom of the hill and we grabbed some water from the stream.
We hit the trail after a short break and moments later we ran into the rest of the crew just down the trail. Pretty quickly we got to work at trucking down the trail for the last few miles.
We headed for the trail head and then off for lunch at one of the Valleys normally great little restaurants. From there everyone decided to head for home and we called it a trip.