Camping in the Sawtooths

Since living in a flat, sea-level city for almost a year, I have gained an appreciation for the mountains in Idaho that I used to take for granted. I have always loved camping and driving up into the mountains, but I didn’t realize how much they were a part of my daily life before I left Idaho. I didn’t think I would get to go on another real camping trip before I leave for Austria, so I was thrilled when my friend Emily invited me to go camping in Stanley, Idaho. Stanley is at the base of the Sawtooth Mountains, a smaller range within the Rocky Mountain range. With all the camping I’ve done, I’m shocked I never made it to Stanley before now!

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A view from the drive.

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“Downtown” Stanley. Population: 63.

The first day of our trip was spent driving to Stanley and enjoying the scenery along the way, stopping by Redfish Lake, setting up camp, and taking our first hike.

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Redfish Lake.

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Pictured: Jeff and Jake.

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Pictured: Emily and Molly.

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Some casual log sitting in the creek running through our campsite. We camped at the Iron Creek campground, and I’m not sure I’ve ever had a cuter campsite.

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On day two the boys packed up their skis and gear and headed on a twelve mile trek in search of a good ski run down the mountain. Emily, Molly, and I had a long visit by an inquisitive fox in our camp in the morning. We decided to spend the day on a hike that should have taken us to the Lady Face and Bridal Veil waterfalls. There was supposed to be a subtle break off trail that would take us to the falls, but somehow we missed it and ended up hiking for miles without ever reaching any waterfalls. Still, it was a good hike and it felt good to get outside and see some gorgeous views. Here are some photos from that morning and hike.

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Photo courtesy of Molly. He came so close!

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Photo by Molly.

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Photo by Molly.

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On the last day we planned to redeem ourselves for our previous waterfall related failures with a short, easy hike to a waterfall on Redfish Lake. The hike was supposed to be only a mile and easy enough for children. We had to pay for a boat shuttle across Redfish Lake, and our guide informed us that part of the hike we intended to take required a bridge that was out due to the high water. He dropped us off at a tiny dock, and told us the trail was nearby.

We ascended a rocky hill for about a hundred feet, found only one trail, and followed it for over a mile until we finally had to turn back in defeat. Turns out, because the bridge was out we had been dropped off about one hundred feet past the trail we were looking for, and it would only have been a quarter mile hike from that point to the waterfall. Instead, we had found the trail that goes further than the waterfall and eventually makes a loop around the entire lake. So, instead of a quarter mile hike suitable for children, we embarked on a brutal two mile hike on an unmaintained trail where we had to climb over a bunch of fallen logs and wade through little streams. Waterfalls: 3. Us: 0. Still, we made the best of it, laughed it off, and enjoyed the views!

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It was a great trip, and I’m thankful Emily invited me. I’m glad I could sneak in another camping trip before I go, and I definitely recommend taking a trip up to see the Sawtooths. My only warning is that if you happen to be extra tasty to mosquitos like I am, arm yourself with bug spray, mosquito netting, citronella candles, and any other anti-bug thing you’ve got. Even with bug spray I left with a whopping 81 mosquito bites, but the views were worth it!

Sandra.

 

 

Photos by Sandra Walker unless otherwise noted. Stanley, Idaho including Redfish Lake, Iron Creek Campground, and surrounding trails. June 2017.