Cabin Creek Lakes, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho

I woke a little earlier, in time to stroll down to the lake just as the sun hit the far shore, I think this is my favourite picture I’ve taken of the lake.

Pettit Lake

After a flat 6 mile walk along Alturas Creek yesterday it was time for something more challenging, the Alturas Creek trail is not all that interesting, passing through a lodgepole forest and not even giving very good access to the creek, Biff did manage to get his feet wet.

Alturas Creek

I had started out to do this hike yesterday but the instructions for reaching the trailhead made no sense. Today I followed the same instructions because, you know, if it doesn’t work the first time… As it turned out the roads from the Alturas Lake end had all be closed some time ago, there was no trace of them at all and the trailhead is now accessed from a completely different road. This did at least give me a chance to explore some more areas to camp for free along Cabin Creek though they were mostly occupied. The Forest Service campground at Pettit Lake is only $8/night with my old man’s pass but is limited to 10 nights.

The hiking book lists this trail as 6.2 miles round trip with 2,100 feet of cimbing, but as it turned out that was just to the wilderness boundary and the mile beyond the boundary to the lakes was the steepest part.

The first few miles to the wilderness boundary were a steady climb through a mix of dense forest, lodgepole and Douglas Fir, with occasional wildflower covered meadows

Cabin Creek Lakes

Biff found his way into Cabin Creek every now and then

Cabin Creek Lakes

Finally a lake came into view, Biff was pleased to see it.

Cabin Creek Lakes

Very pleased.

Cabin Creek Lakes
Cabin Creek Lakes
Panorama of first Cabin Creek Lake

I knew from the poor map that I have that there were three Cabin Creek Lakes but because the trail inside the wilderness area wasn’t on the map I didn’t know which one this was. There appeared to be a trail around the lake to the left so I followed that.

August 1st: looking at a much better map I see that I arrived at the middle lake of the three Cabin Creek Lakes and that the twin lakes are not involved, this map still doesn’t have a name for any of them.

The trail was narrow and covered with deadfall but eventually lead to little stream above the lake with a nice view, the lunch view!

Cabin Creek Lakes
Cabin Creek Lakes

However there was no other obvious trail out of that area so I backtracked to the lake and then noticed a dirt scramble up our of the lake area. A few hundred yards further and the second lake appeared.

Cabin Creek Lakes

There were a few faint trails out of that area so we took the one less traveled and found more water – was this the third lake?

Cabin Creek Lakes

Biff didn’t care because just beyond it was this – mission accomplished.

Cabin Creek Lakes

This area had a fine view of the area under the high ridge, perhaps in a future trip I will climb up to the ridge, it looked possible from the south end of the area (behind me in this picture)

Cabin Creek Lakes

Once again following a faint trail we continued south not knowing if the other lake was there, suddenly there was an edge and there below were twin lakes. There was no way I was going to scramble down there without knowing of there was a way back down the mountain so they will have to be explored from below on some future trip. This was the high point for the day at 8,800 feet, strange to think that at home many of my summer hikes start above this altitude.

Cabin Creek Lakes

There was a great view of the valley we had climbed up, from the base of the big valley at the bottom.

Cabin Creek Lakes

We casually wandered about in the general direction we had come and got back on the trail at the first lake, Cabin Creek had several nice little waterfalls.

Cabin Creek Lakes

We marched down the trail, knees and feet increasingly complaining, we both drank large amounts of water as the temperature climbed to 80F. After 9.2 miles and almost 5 hours we were back at the truck.

One tired dog, and some tired dogs on me too.

Cabin Creek Lakes

From the road out we got a view of the area we were in, I think we went round the hump on the right side.

Cabin Creek Lakes

Biff slept the whole way back to camp then collapsed next to The Caravan, once he made it inside he only left once more that evening and slept on the bed from 9pm to 8am, barely moving. This morning he is fine and pranced around the campground ready for more.

Cabin Creek Lakes

A good day’s hiking and viewing with perfectly clear skies all day after the storms of the days before.

Washington Lake, Idaho

Having not reached Washington Lake yesterday I thought I should get there today using the regular approach from Fourth of July Road. I managed to roust Biff in time
to get an early start (9am) on a beautiful sunny day.

A few years ago there was a big fire on Fourth of July road, in the wetter areas the forest is recovering well, the drier areas are a bit slower but there are lots of flowers
and shrubbery

Washington Lake
Washington Lake
Washington Lake

The trail starts up Fourth of July Creek after a 10 mile drive up the valley.

Washington Lake

Biff enjoyed frequent dips in the creek

Washington Lake

Flowers were everywhere

Washington Lake

Fourth of July Lake is three miles up the fairly easy trail

Washington Lake

Fourth of July Lake

Washington Lake
Washington Lake

Much Flowerage

Washington Lake
Washington Lake
Washington Lake

The small unnamed lake where we stopped last time, last year there was a big band of snow across the rocks just above the lake which I clambered up to with the dogs

Washington Lake

Lago Sin Nombre

Washington Lake

The trail from the small lake to Washington Lake was a bit rocky and steep downhill in places, first view of Washington

Washington Lake

Washington Lake

Washington Lake

The Paintbrush seem redder here than in southern Utah

Washington Lake

Lunch view

Washington Lake

This nice stream drains Washington Lake to the south, presumably joining Three Cabins Creek somewhere below.

Washington Lake
Washington Lake

The mosquitoes at Washington Lake were really bad so we soon headed back up the hill to Fourth of July

Washington Lake

These tiny flowers, about a 1/4″ across, were hiding in the shady spots

Washington Lake

A passing group kindly (maybe) took my picture, a rarity on my hikes

Washington Lake

Today’s hike was about 7.5 miles and Biff was tired by the time we got close to the truck, he wouldn’t even stop to say hello to other hikers or dogs. He laid in the shade under the truck while I chatted with some people who had overnighted at Born Lakes which are on my list for future exploration. That involves a steep hike up to a ridge, which I did a couple of years ago, and then a steep hike down the other side. It would be a long day hike and really needs at least one night to enjoy the valley but I don’t have backpacking gear to do that, yet. I’m not sure I have the knees or back either…

I’m writing this on the following day, it has been overcast all morning with quite a lot of rain and some thunder, good for an off day.

Germania Valley, Idaho

Last year Janet and I hiked up to Fourth of July Lake and a little beyond to what we thought was Washington Lake, as it turned out the second lake we got to was unnamed and Washington Lake a bit further down the trail. Inspecting the map I saw that Washington Lake was also accessible from the other side, using Germania Valley and a small dirt road up into the Three Cabins area. The road was narrow but had been graded recently due to a series of avalanches over the winter. However I went right past the trailhead because the signs had all been removed to avoid destruction in a forest fire the summer before, the area didn’t burn in the end. Reaching the Three Cabins the road became more of an ATV trail, indeed some ATV riders I talked to earlier were amazed I got that far, it really wasn’t difficult.

Germania Valley

Bible Back Mountain

Germania Valley

The cabins had a great view of the mountain

Germania Valley
Germania Valley

Two of the three were pretty much derelict but there was one still standing and it had a lock on the door, inside were a few chairs and a table, it didn’t look like anybody had used it for quite a while.

The ATV riders told me it was about 5 miles uphill to Washington Lake from this side, it didn’t look that far on the poor map I have but they knew the area, it was also rocky which isn’t much fun, so I decided instead just to hike into the basin below Bible Back Mountain.

When I reached the basin I discovered the remnants of yet another avalanche

Germania Valley

Biff enjoyed playing in the snow, mission accomplished!

Germania Valley

After lunch overlooking the avalanche area and some wondering around we headed back down the hill.

Three Cabins Creek

Germania Valley

It’s been a good year for flowers in the area with late precipitation.

Germania Valley
Germania Valley
Germania Valley

A fairly large avalanche had flowed across the road

Germania Valley
Germania Valley
Germania Valley

Looking east down Germania Valley where I haven’t been yet.

Germania Valley

Another small avalanche near the road,.

Germania Valley

Right after this it started to rain then hail so it was probably a good thing I wasn’t higher on the mountain trying to get to Washington Lake.

Near Pettit Lake, Idaho

Pettit Lake, Idaho

Once again I find myself camped at Pettit Lake in Idaho, my fourth annual visit to the lake. I camped one night just outside the forest service campground waiting for a space to become available.

Near Pettit Lake

Behind The Caravan was a small hill with good views up and down the Salmon River

Near Pettit Lake
Near Pettit Lake

From the top of the little hill there was also a good view of the valley that leads to Alice Lake, Pettit Lake is over a small rise behind the trees in the middle of the picture

Near Pettit Lake

All three of my favourite sites were available in the morning so I took the same space as last year, even though it is a little difficult to get into. This space has the benefit of being surrounded by trees where the other two are more open. It also has a great place to put my new ‘bug and sun shelter’.

Near Pettit Lake

The skies were a bit dark and right around sunset it started raining and went on for about three hours. It turns out that Biff is afraid of the sound of rain on the tent so we were forced to retire to The Caravan, to me it sounds the same in there but he doesn’t care at all. He isn’t sure of the tent in any case, perhaps he doesn’t like the feeling that he can be watched through the mesh, silly dog.

Mojave Snowbird Trip – The Journey Home

Finally it was time to start heading north to colder climes.

Journey Home

The first stop was only 75 miles north in Parker Arizona, or actually in Earp, California just across the river.

Journey Home

I bought a new patio mat in Parker at a very useful RV store, BIff seemed to enjoy his new “grass”.

Journey Home

The next day was also a short one, about 85 miles to a piece of BLM desert just north of Lake Havasu City

Journey Home

There were about 20 units there but well spread out

Journey Home

Once again Biff surveyed the landscape from his new grass

Journey Home

We had a nice sunset and obtained a shadowgraph of The Caravan

Having decided to stay out an extra day I moved to Lake Havasu State Park, $25 for the night in the overflow lot – shocking! My first paid night of the trip but I needed to use the RV dump so that I could re-winterize The Caravan for the trip home, and I suppose I probably needed a shower too.

Journey Home

Parked on the hard top!

Journey Home

I took Biff to the very nice Lake Havasu City dog park (Lion’s Park), we drove across London Bridge to get there.

Journey Home

He wandered around and sniffed at a few other dogs but he doesn’t seem to really know how to play at a dog park, he doesn’t visit them often of course, in the end he laid down next to me and watched the people pass by.

On Saturday we got down to the business of getting home and drove to Sand Mine Road where we spent the first night of the trip.

Journey Home

This time it was still light so I was able to drive down the road a ways and find a good spot. This is going to be a very good location for starting and ending southern trips, it’s about 285 miles from Torrey, mostly freeway.

Journey Home

We camped on a level plateau right next to this ravine, good views almost all around

Journey Home

Off to the east are the Virgin Mountains and in the dip in the middle of the picture are some very red rocks that I think are Little Finland in Gold Butte National Monument.

Journey Home

We got an early start on Sunday, before sunrise, and stopped in Mesquite to make breakfast, surrounded by mysterious whooshing noises…

Journey Home

Heading further north we found another mystery, the mountains were covered in some sort of white material.

We picked up Frikka who had been staying with Janet in Cedar City and headed for Wayne County

Journey Home

The dogs soon made themselves comfortable.

Journey Home