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Showing posts from 2008

Redfish Lake

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Location: Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Idaho
Dates: summer 2008, 2011


Redfish Lake is the largest lake in Sawtooth National Recreation Area: it is 4.5 miles long, 0.8 mi wide, and up to 387 feet deep. The western/southern end of the lake is framed by the Grand Mogul and Mount Heyburn, two peaks in the Sawtooth Mountains. There is a lodge, restaurant, several campgrounds, and other recreational facilities at the northern/eastern end, which can be easily accessed from Idaho state highway 75.


There is a 17.5-mile long trail around the lake. This trail travels along the top of the two moraines on each side of the lake. On the north side this trail connects to trails that go to the Bench Lakes and Fishhook Creek (connecting to the Alpine Way Trail). While on the south side the trail connects to one that goes south towards Hell Roaring Lake. There is a boat (fee) during the summer that you can take between the two ends of the lake. The far end of the lake has a small campground and is…

Edna Lake

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Location: Sawtooth Wilderness, Idaho
Distance: ~12 miles one way
Elevation gain: ~2,300 feet to Sand Mountain Pass
Date: August 6-10, 2008


Edna Lake sits at an elevation of 8,400 feet and is one of the approximately 1,000 lakes in Idaho's Sawtooth Wilderness. You can get to Edna Lake from a number of trailheads and via several routes, but the lake is in the heart of the wilderness, so the shortest hike is about 12 miles one way.


I spent four nights camped on the north shore of the lake in August 2008 as we surveyed tributaries of the South Fork of the Payette River for bull trout. My hike to the lake began at the Yellow Belly Trailhead in Sawtooth Valley. This trailhead is accessible only by high clearance vehicles. The next closest trailhead for those without high clearance is at Pettit Lake. The trail begins by gently gaining elevation through the forested glacial valley. After a few miles the trail gains elevation a little faster before it arrives at Farley Lake.


Halfway betwee…

Warm Springs Meadow

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Location: Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Idaho
Distance: ~5-6 miles one way
Elevation gain (loss): 850 feet
Date: July 28-30, 2008


Warm Springs Meadow in the White Cloud Mountains is not spectacular by White Cloud standards. But I went on the three day, two night backpacking trip there to survey surrounding streams for bull trout. The entire area that I hiked through in the three days was devastated by the 40,000+ acre Valley Road Fire in 2005. There were no living trees except for those isolated in the middle of the meadow, but there were fantastic wildflowers everywhere.



The hike begins at an elevation of 8,100 ft at the top of the Fisher Creek Road and descends 850 feet to the middle of the meadow. Most of the elevation change is in the first couple miles, while the trail along the valley bottom only gently loses elevation, and the meadow is mostly flat. The initial descent is a part of the very popular Fisher Creek mountain biking loop, so beware of bikers coming up on you fro…

Yellowstone National Park

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Location: northwestern Wyoming
Dates: July 11-13, 2008


My first visit to Yellowstone National Park was in July 2008. I'm not going to go into details, but here is a list of the places I visited:

Grant Village - I camped here the first nightUpper Geyser Basin - includes Old Faithful, and I walked around the basinGrand Canyon of the YellowstoneMadison - camped here the second nightLower Geyser Basin - includes Fountain Paint Pot Here are some photos from that visit. For more see my post on my June 2011 visit.





© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.





Jenny Lake

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Location: Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Date: July 11, 2008


During my first time in Grand Teton National Park I made the hike around Jenny Lake. I also went to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. The loop around the lake is mostly flat, but getting to the falls and Inspiration Point requires a bit of elevation gain. The falls and Inspiration Point are located on the far, western side of the lake.


This entire area is heavily used, and if you want to see the falls without walking around the lake you can pay to ride a ferry across the lake. Here are some photos from that hike.






© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.





Fourth of July & Washington Lakes

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Location: Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Idaho
Distance: 2.5 miles one way
Elevation gain: ~800 ft
Date: July 3, 2008


Fourth of July Lake is one of the most easily accessible lakes in the White Cloud Mountains of Sawtooth National Recreation Area. The well-maintained dirt road along Fourth of July Creek ends at a trailhead at an elevation of about 8,800 feet. From the trailhead it is only 1.5 miles and 500 feet of elevation gain to the lake, which sits at an elevation of about 9,390 ft. The trail can be somewhat steep in sections, but it is well maintained.


The trail to Fourth of July Lake goes through forest and meadows, and Patterson Peak rises to 10,887 ft above the eastern end of the lake. From Fourth of July Lake it is a one mile hike to Washington Lake. The two lakes are at the same elevation, but the trail gains and then loses 200 ft as it crosses a divide between the two. This section of the trail passes through thin forest and a rocky clearing on the pass where a small un…

Frog Lake

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Location: Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Idaho
Distance: 11.5 miles one way
Elevation gain: ~2700 feet
Date: July 2, 2008


Frog Lake is on the eastern side of the White Cloud Mountains, but can also be accessed from the Fourth of July trailhead on the western side. Since I was at Jimmy Smith Lake the previous day doing amphibian surveys, I hiked to Frog Lake from the trailhead along the East Fork of the Salmon River. From this trailhead it is 11.5 miles to Frog Lake with moderate (for that distance) elevation gain of 2,700 feet. I did this 23 mile round trip hike as a day hike before making the 1.5 drive back to Stanley.


The beginning of the trail is the worst part. It begins by rapidly gaining 500 feet in elevation through the high desert on BLM land. There are no trees here, and even in the morning the sun was very hot. But soon after this climb trees appear in the valley and the elevation gain is more moderate. The majority of the trail follows Little Boulder Creek, and there we…

Jimmy Smith Lake

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Location: Custer County, Idaho
Distance: ~0.5 mile to lake
Elevation gain: ~250 feet
Date: July 1, 2008


Jimmy Smith Lake is a natural lake formed by a landslide on Big Lake Creek in Custer County, Idaho. The lake is located above the East Fork of the Salmon River just outside the eastern boundary of Sawtooth National Recreation Area. The land immediately around the lake is owned by the state of Idaho, but much of the area around there is BLM land.

The trail to the lake is short but steep and well maintained. A 1.5 mile long trail goes around the north side of the lake and continues for many miles into the White Cloud Mountains. There are some campsites on the BLM land along the road to the trailhead. I first made the hike to the lake after setting up camp in the evening on July 1, 2008. There was no one else at the lake, but there was a cow moose and her calf in one of the lake's coves. The lake is in the high desert, so there are no trees surrounding it, but the riparian area at …

Sawtooth Lake

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Location: Sawtooth Wilderness, Idaho
Distance: 4 miles one way
Elevation gain: ~1700 feet
Date: June 28, 2008


Sawtooth Lake is perhaps the most popular hiking destination in the Sawtooth Wilderness. Most people begin their hike at the Iron Creek trailhead just west of Stanley, but you can also reach it via a number of other longer trails.

The hike from the Iron Creek trailhead begins in the forested valley and gains elevation at a moderate pace. The trail eventually crosses the Alpine Way Trail where the forest opens up a bit and you have views of the valley and Iron Creek. A short distance after the intersection the trail begins to gain elevation and climbs a few switchbacks before climbing up to Alpine Lake. A short spur trail goes down to Alpine Lake, but the trail to Sawtooth Lake continues up the ridge next to the lake. This trail has great views of Alpine Lake, Alpine Peak, and Iron Creek valley.


The trail continues to climb past Alpine Lake but soon reaches a small lake, and ju…

Titus Lake

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Location: Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Idaho
Distance: ~1.5 miles one way
Elevation gain: 300 feet
Date: June 26, 2008

Titus Lake is a small alpine lake that receives a lot of visitors because it is a short hike from Idaho highway 75 at Galena Summit north of Ketchum. The trail begins on the Big Wood River side of Galena Summit and and gains about 300 feet in elevation while passing through forest. The trail then descend about 50 feet down to Titus Lake.


The lake is technically in the Smoky Mountains, but it is very close to their intersection with the Boulder and even Sawtooth mountains. It can also be reached from Galena Lodge, but this trail is longer and has much more elevation gain than the route from Galena Summit. While the lake is nice and at an elevation of about 8,900 feet, it is less than spectacular by central Idaho standards. During my visit in late June 2008 small portions of the trail were still covered by snow.



© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved…

Hell Roaring Lake

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Location: Sawtooth Wilderness
Distance: ~2 miles (from 4 wheel drive high clearance trailhead), 6 mi (horse & other vehicle trailhead) one way
Elevation gain: 100 ft, 600 ft
Dates: June 19 and July 31, 2008

Hell Roaring Lake is one of the largest lakes in the Sawtooth Wilderness in Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Idaho. There are two trailheads depending on what type of vehicle you have. The first trailhead is just west of Idaho state highway 75 in Sawtooth Valley. This trailhead can be accessed by any vehicle, and the hike to the lake from here is about six miles one way. I have never hiked to the lake from this trailhead.


The second trailhead is only two miles and 100 feet of elevation gain from the lake, but it is a very rough, steep, and poorly maintained road only accessible by high clearance and probably four wheel drive vehicles. portions of this road simply look like boulder fields. I have hiked to the lake from this trailhead twice.

The hike to the lake from the second…

Stanley Lake

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Location: Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Idaho
Dates: summer 2008, 2011


Stanley Lake is one of the largest lakes and easily accessible lakes at the base of the Sawtooth Mountains. It is located about 6.5 miles northwest of the town of Stanley and can be accessed easily from Idaho state highway 21. There are several campgrounds and dispersed camping areas around the lake.


From the lake an unpaved road goes to the summit of Elk Mountain (7,925 ft) north of the lake. There are decent views that partially obstructed by trees from the top. At the western and upstream end of the lake a trail goes up the valley along Stanley Lake Creek. This trail intersects with other trails that go to Sawtooth Lake and Grandjean, as well as the Alpine Way Trail. The trail also passes Lady Face Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.





© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.





Alpine Way Trail

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Location: Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Idaho
Dates: summer 2008, 2011


The Alpine Way Trail is a trail that travels about 17 miles from Stanley Lake to the Stanley Ranger Station. At the southern/eastern end the trail ascends a moraine above Fishhook Creek and follows the ridge to the base of Williams Peak. I think that this part of the trail has the best views of the entire trail, and I have hiked it many times. The views here range across the Sawtooth Valley, with the best views being of Horstmann Peak, Mount Heyburn, Thompson Peak, and the Grand Mogul. This end of the trail is commonly accessed from the Redfish Lake Trailhead.


Below Williams Peak there is an unofficial trail leading from the Alpine Way to Thompson Peak. The Alpine Way passes Marshall Lake and nearly follows the boundary of the Sawtooth Wilderness for the remainder of the distance. I once planned on spending a night at Marshall Lake, but because of the overabundance of mosquitoes, mud, and fresh wolf tracks I d…

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

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Location: Key Largo, Florida
Date: March 6, 2008


John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is located in the Florida Keys and was the first underwater park in the United States, having been established in 1963. When I visited I went on a glass-bottomed boat ride over the reef. The ride out started by navigating through the network of mangroves along the shore. It was very interesting, but my pictures did not turn out very well, and I would have preferred to go snorkeling or diving in the reef.







© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.