Sunday, May 27, 2007

Backpacking through Idaho

Brent, Tyler, and I decided to go on a backpacking trip over the memorial day weekend. We left from my house at about 9:30 in the morning on Friday and started hiking in at 10:45. We parked at the palisades creek trail head, and then took off up the palisades creek trail. It was a beautiful day for a hike, there was a slight breeze and it was a little cloudy, not too hot or too cold. When we stopped moving to take a break for lunch though we got a little chilly. There was a neat chipmunk that ran up to us when we stopped for lunch, so we tossed it a little bit of our sandwiches. We passed three groups of hikers and then didn't see anyone the rest of the weekend until we were about 2 miles from the trail head on the way out Saturday. We hiked past the lower lake, where we took lunch, then we kept on going to the upper lake. We saw several moose along the creek between lower and upper lake. There was a cow moose and her calf pretty close to the trail that we had to dodge because the cow moose starting walking towards us and was looking pretty vicious. so we headed up the trail and up the mountain as quick as we could, and hid in the trees as we went around the moose. it was looking around for us though. It was a pretty exhilarating experience playing hide and go seek with a cow moose. We then had a pretty uneventful trip the rest of the way, just lots of switchbacks and lots of pretty scenery until we made it into waterfall canyon. We hiked up the canyon about a mile or two. We stopped and played on some snow that had avalanched down into the canyon. We ran up to the top of it and then skied down it. It was pretty fun. We then kept on hiking until we found the waterfall. We then decided it was a pretty warm day and that going and standing under the waterfall would feel pretty good, since we had gotten a little sweaty on the 10 mile hike to the waterfall. So we hiked up to the waterfall, and then stood underneath part of it that wasn't coming down very hard. It was a gorgeous valley. We then waded through the ice cold pond back to our packs and dried off while sitting on some fallen logs by the pond. Then we set up camp and got a fire going to cook the hot dogs we brought up with us. We stayed up until about 9, then we went to bed because we were pretty tired from our hike in. We woke up the next morning and spent about an hour and a half trying to get a fire going, we were down to our last 3 matches when Tyler got his lighter working and we were able to start a fire by burning some of Brent's socks. We then filtered some of the delicious mountain water and started our hike out. As soon as we started hiking out, it started raining on us, and rained for about an hour. We decided to hike out a different way then we came in, and starting running into a lot of snow real quick. We were headed up the canyon from where we were camping and had to start hiking over snow drifts that were still left. The trail started to switchback up the side of the canyon, and through trees. It was covered with snow and we had to stop to scout out where the trail was going. It was marked by two slashes on the side of some trees every couple hundred of feet, and we looked for logs that had been cut by chainsaws to clear the path. several of the logs had the initials DB carved into them. Every so often there was a sign with an arrow on it pointing which way the trail was going. We kept losing the trail and finding it for about a mile, until we came up to about 9000 feet, where it came out into a bowl that didn't have trees and that was snow covered. We totally lost the trail there, so we decided to hike up to the top of the ridge that was going along the bowl and see if we could find the trail in the valley on the other side. We ran into a couple of mountain goats near the top of the mountain, but they took off quickly. When we reached the top of one of the peaks we stopped and ate some energy bars, and saw the valley that the road was in through a saddle between two peaks that were about a quarter mile away. so we hiked along the top of the ridge to one of the peaks that the saddle formed. By this time the rain had stopped and it had cleared up a little, it looked like it might still be threatening to rain though, because there was a big gray cloud to the south of us, but the sun was shining on where we were. When we reached the top of the peak we could see the trail down in the bottom of the valley. So we started the easy part of the trip, where it was all downhill now. We didn't find a trail that was going downhill, so we just started going straight down the slope, and sliding down on some of the snowier parts. There was a draw that was full of snow so we skied quite a ways down it and that helped speed us up. We had to be careful after that though, because there started to be small 10-15 foot cliffs that we had to work our way around. Once we got down the valley, we found the trail and followed it out. It was all downhill still. We ran into a group of people four wheeling, and some hikers on our way out. We came out on the sheep creek trail head, and then took a small break, and ate another energy bar. We then started hiking out on the dirt road, when a truck stopped and offered us a ride, they said they were headed to the palisades creek trail head and could take us all the way there. We were pretty grateful because it saved us from hiking another 6 miles to get back to my jeep. We started hiking out at 9:30 saturday morning, and made it to the jeep at 3:30 in the afternoon. When we made it to the jeep Brent got his cell phone from it, and found out that his mission call had come in the mail while were gone. So we hurried back to Brent's house, dropped him off at 4:45 so he could shower, then we went back to his house and he opened up his call. It was a pretty exciting weekend!