If you want to get your whole family into backpacking, you can do what we did with our kids, Jim and Ciera. When Jim was 6 and Ciera 11 we took them on their first overnight backpack, a 2 mile hike to Baker Lake near Ketchum. They carried their own packs, and we didn’t carry Jim once. His pack contained not much more than his lunch and a raincoat. I was carrying quite a load, including his sleeping bag. In those days we had traditional external frame backpacks, and a heavy tent. Read more
We had a great backpack in the Sawtooghts of Idaho, one we called the Sawtooth Slowpoke. We hiked 42 miles, with sufficient elevation gain and loss to count as a 50 mile hike for Boy Scout purposes. The backpack was from Petit Lake at the south of the range, to Sawtooth lake at the north of the range, which we hiked in 8 days, with one layover day. Read more
I got to go with our old scout troop, Troop 100 in Boise, for an October hike to the White Cloud Range. The first night we camped at the car, and my tent was glistening with ice crystals when I went to bed. I think it got to the low 20s that night. Read more
We got to experience another trip in the Sawtooths this August. Joining my wife Tuckie and I were daughters Ciera and Laura, Laura’s boyfriend Jason, and long time hiking buddy Kevin and his lovely wife Suzanne. Kevin and Suzanne got a head start as we were delayed by detours caused by the Pioneer fire. They hiked toward Toxaway lake the first day, and we 5 (shown below) started the next day. Read more
This loop hike in the Sawtooths is a classic, and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it. I got to visit the area with the Fujino family, friends from when our boys were in scouts together. Starting at Petit Lake, we hiked over the hot dry hill to join the Hell Roaring trail, and from there on past Farley Lake, to a small lake just short of Toxaway Lake. There is a great waterfall at this little lake, and we enjoyed a restful evening there. Read more
The White Cloud Range is the neighbor range to the Sawtooths, and the WCs have some places that equal or surpass the more famous Sawtooths. The Big Boulder Lakes are a gem in any range, and Sapphire might be the most beautiful lake I have seen in Idaho. The photo below is of Sapphire Lake, the nicest of the lakes that make up the Big Boulder Lakes.
We did a nice loop in the Sawtooths this year, starting at Hell Roaring Trailhead, and camping at Hell Roaring, Imogene, Edna, Cramer, and ending the hike at Redfish Lake. On the hike was Josh Edvalson, Marine and partner on many hikes. Also my son Jim, age 18, and Kevin Anderson and his daughter Jenna.
Jim and I headed out to Mt Borah this weekend, to climb the 12,600′ peak. It was exhausting.
Doing a spring backpack to Echo Crater in Craters of the Moon is becoming a regular hike for Troop 100. We had 12 scouts and 8 adults head out there, each with at least 3 liters of water. There is absolutely no water out in that desert route. Before the hike Tom B. gave a short class on map reading and orienteering, and the scouts divided up into 3 patrols and set out with compass bearings of a route on which there were 7 checkpoints, with a poker chip for each patrol. All three patrols came back with all their assigned poker chips. Read more
Went camping with the scouts, and after last year’s bitter cold 10 below nights, I was braced for cold weather. Instead we got bad weather. I stayed in a 4 man, 4 season tent, and wondered just how big those 4 men were. I found the tent to be about right for two guys and some gear.
We planned to take the scouts on a hike along the Owyhee River in mid November, but the weather was predicted to be rain or snow for Saturday, clearing by late Saturday. We woke up to snow on the ground in Boise, and 6 of our 12 scouts dropped out. Were they the smart ones? Maybe. We decided to risk it, and six adults and six youth headed out on the trip in cold windy weather. Its about a 2 hour drive to Leslie Gulch in Oregon, then a 3.5 mile hike up the Owyhee River. This part of the river would be under the water of Owyhee Reservoir in the summer, but now its easy going on a well traveled road. Read more
Bear Valley Hot Springs might be my favorite late season backpack. Its about 3 miles in, and is probably the best wilderness hot springs I know of. The main pool is at a perfect 102 degrees, has a gravel bottom with no algae, and could hold maybe 8 people at a time. The way in is either by a trail with a cliffy/ sketchy part for about 100 years, or the other way requires a fording of Bear Valley Creek. Read more
Troop 100 was scheduled to hike to Box Lake, a popular lake off Lick Creek Road, but as the departure date approached, the roster was becoming too large for the limited camping at Box Lake. We picked an alternate destination to Rapid Lake, also near McCall, a 4 mile hike from the Boulder Meadows campground. Leaders for the trip were Mt. Fujino and Mr. Mick. Read more
The Magic Rocks are carved from solid basalt by millions of granite rocks, stones, pebbles and sand, driven by mega force water during spring runoff. The water borne abrasives cut through the softer basalt like butter, leaving pot holes, and strangely shaped smooth boulders and bedrock. Read more
Winter camping with scouts, or with anyone, is better when there is a hot springs around. A few hardy scouts and Todd and I as leaders headed to Bonneville Hot Springs for a snow camp. We hauled our gear in about a mile, and set up tents for sleeping. The boys sledded most recklessly using the sleds we used to haul our gear in. Then we had some chile for dinner, and headed to the hot springs just before dark. They did not disappoint, and Todd declared they the best natural hot springs he has visited. Read more
Loon Lake has become a regular with our troop as a late season and early season hike. It is about 6000? elevation, so is snow free when higher mountains are snow covered. Of great interest to the scouts is the crashed D-23 bomber. The bomber crashed in a winter storm in WWII days. Three of the 8 crewmen hiked out, and reached a phone in a forest service cabin and called McCall. The crewmen that stayed with the plane were rescued by a plane with skiis that landed on the frozen lake. Read more
I hiked with my dog Ginger to what has to be the nicest hot spring in Idaho, and Idaho has a lot of hot springs. It was a 3 mile walk from Fir Creek campground, but I would not recommend the hike for kids or anyone with balance problems. There was a part where the trail was precipitous, and a fall might have been fatal. Read more
We had a great time on a desert backpack at Craters of the Moon. It is about a 2.5 hr drive from Boise, via Mountain Home, Fairfield and Carey. We had 12 scouts, many of them on their first backpack, from ages 10 to 17. 7 adults showed up to ride herd on them. Read more
Tom, Erik and I recently went on an exploratory trip to the Wood River about 10 miles above the town of Shoshone Idaho. This area is a sheet of basalt covered by a little dirt and sagebrush. The Wood River that drains Magic Reservoir flows over this land, and has cut a gorge about 20 feet deep into the solid basalt. In some places its 15′ wide, sometimes its 2 feet wide. In the narrow spots there are often huge chock stones as big as a car that are jammed into the slot. Read more
Over Labor Day we repeated our annual trek to the nicest lake I know of in Idaho – Kane Lake. Its only 3.5 miles, but its uphill, rocky and an unmaintained trail. The views from camp at Kane lake are unsurpassed in Idaho. Read more