Above: Lunch spot in the shadow of Mt. Regan, at the head of Sawtooth Lake.
Once again I’ve been somewhat delinquent in updating the blog, as tends happen when things slow down, at least momentarily, and I spend my days catching up with my personal thoughts as well as life in general. For now at least fire season has slowed down for me, as snow begins to grace the mountain tops in the northern Rockies, and fall colors gradually appear in the Boise foothills. I’ve spent the past two weeks at work around the office at NIFC after a month and a half on the road, living out of my two-week bag. The break has been welcome, and I’m enjoying working in town instead of Garden Valley, mainly because my daily commute is much more enjoyable, driving 14 miles across town instead of 54 miles up and over Horseshoe Bend hill and up the Payette river.
Above: Mt. Regan, Sawtooth Wilderness.
The highlight of my fall so far has been finally making a day trip into the Sawtooth Wilderness. I’ve driven around it for over two years, and I thought that I should take advantage of a beautiful fall Friday to do some quick exploration in the north end of the range. I hiked into Sawtooth Lake, a nice 5-ish mile trip into the mountains just outside of Stanley. While the last bit of the hike, climbing above 8,000 feet in elevation, was a bit of a pull after spending most of my summer below 3,500 feet, it was worth it to once again soothe my soul with the tonic that only can be found in the high country. It’s a magnificent thing to be in a wild place after a long stretch in the civilized parts of world. Once I hiked to the head of the lake I had the area all to myself, and the lonely moan of the wind through the scrubby pines was a welcome sound. The occasional bark of a pika or the rustling of tiny clawed feet of chipmunks seemed to be the only other sounds, aside from the occasional droning buzz of a small airplane. The wind coming off of the snowfields had a welcome bite to it, and the dusting of fresh snow on the shady peaks was a reminder of the cyclic nature of life in the mountains. Like many mountain-born souls before me, I occasionally feel the need to return to the high country, especially when the days grow shorter and the mornings grow cooler. From time to time I also feel the need to head out of the city, away from the normal and mundane, and let my inner artist out to document the beauty that exists in the wilds of the world. As said best by John Muir, “God never made an ugly landscape. All that the sun shines on is beautiful, so long as it is wild.”
Until next time…