A hike in the Idaho Sawtooth Mountains: Day 3

John, Davy, Daryl, and the pups spent a week backpacking in the Sawtooths last week. Here are their journal entries and photos. In case you missed them, here are the entries from Day One and Day Two.

It was cold in the morning, so Davy carried Moe to keep him warm.

It was cold in the morning, so Davy carried Moe to keep him warm.

Davy: Today started very difficultly. We got up at around 7:00, when it was still very cold out. We didn’t eat breakfast and just packed up and left. The reason why is because there was a very long and steep hill that we had to climb and we wanted to do it before the heat of the day. So, when we left it was so cold I had my long sleeve shirt and pants on. We thought that the trail would be very close to where we had camped, but we walked about a mile before we saw it. At first the trail was flat, but soon it angled up at about 45 degree angle with horizontal.

Very soon me and Daryl took off our extra clothes. It was still fairly cold, but with the hill I was able to keep warm. The hill just kept going up and having switchbacks. After a while we took a break and looked at the map. We still had a lot to go. We ate some trail mix and kept going. The sun was starting to come up and it was getting hot. After another long while we stopped and looked at the map. Me and Dad argued about where we were. Dad thought that we were closer than we were and I got the position just about perfect.

We were in a pretty remote area, so we needed to make sure we knew where we were. Getting lost could have been big trouble!

We were in a pretty remote area, so we needed to make sure we knew where we were. Getting lost could have been big trouble!

The trees were thinning out and soon we started going through an area with barely any shade. All of this while going up an incredibly steep hill. We gave the dogs some water to get them to the next stream which was another couple miles uphill and then several miles along a ridge. At around 1:20 we reached the top and I tried to call Mom, but there was no signal. I tried to text her instead. The phone said that I did text but I think it got stored in memory and will go out the next time it’s connected to the network. We gave the dogs some more water and kept going.

We could see the valley on either side of us, but the air was very smoky so it wasn’t a great view. We finally got to the stream at around 2:20. The dogs were very tired and thirsty from the climb so I brought them there ahead of Dad or Daryl. I soaked my hat in the water and then waited for the others to arrive. After 10 minutes they came and we took a break.

We were going to cook something but we decided that we needed to continue on to the lake we were going to camp at. We still took a long break there and ate more trail mix. By then I had eaten 1.5 bags. We had started coming down the mountain about a mile after reaching the top, but the trail got even more steep after a while.

We took a short break at a Y in the trail. I noticed that the dogs’ paws were getting very worn down, so I tried to carry Kiara to the lake. I couldn’t do it. I ended up putting her down and walking slowly so that she and Moe could keep up.

Finally we arrived into camp. The lakeside looked almost like a campground but there was nobody there. There was a massive fire pit there with a log partially in it, along with a chair made from rope, string, and duct tape in between two trees. It is actually very comfortable! The water in the lake is not very cold and very clear, but we decided that it would be too cold when we got out for a bath to be practical. I went and got wood while Daryl boiled water for food and Dad looked for camp sites. I found a decent amount of wood, but it was mostly gone because of other campers. I ended up eating one dinner and one breakfast for dinner because I was so hungry from the long hike. Daryl broke wood for tomorrow’s fire if Dad would write a journal entry for him, and I set up the tent.

backpacking in Sawtooth Mountains

 

John: We’re camped at Cut Throat Lake, a beautiful lake in the Sawtooth Mountains. It was quite an eventful day getting here though.

We woke up at 7:00AM and of course the kids didn’t want to get out of their beds. But we agreed the night before we had a long day ahead of us which we’d have to finish because there was no water along the way. After a lot of grumbling they got up.

It was much colder last night than the previous night and David was ill-prepared. For some strange reason all he brought to sleep in was a light-weight, thin blanket that would only cover two thirds of his body. Even after I gave him my fleece jacket to wear he shivered most of the night. And of course it wasn’t his fault, somehow he found a way to blame it on Daryl:

“Why did you bring such a flimsy blanket, Davy?” Daryl taunted, “What the heck’s the matter with you!”

“It’s your fault,” David retorted, “You put it in the pile of things we could pick for the trip and I just got it from there.”

Of course David won’t volunteer a shred of responsibility for this blunder.

We got an early start and hiked along the Salmon River. A couple of miles later we found the trail that led up into the mountains and for the next 4 or 5 miles we climbed up a very steep grade. The trail mustn’t be used very often as we didn’t see anyone all day and the trail wasn’t well-defined. We actually lost it several times and had to backtrack to pick it up again.

After several hours we finally made it to the top of a ridge. The views would have been spectacular except for all the smoke from forest fires.

We were certainly on a trail at this time, but we weren’t sure where we were on the map. After consulting our map, taking a few compass readings, and arguing for quite some time we came to a consensus as to where we thought we were. It turned out to be correct and we had a lot of fun arguing about it.

At this point we were running out of water and had another 3 or 4 miles to go before we crossed a stream that may or may not be there. If it wasn’t it was another 3 miles to a lake. We were a bit scared about our water situation. Fortunately there was a nice stream where the map showed and we were able to hydrate ourselves.

But another problem arose. Kiara was limping a little and Moe wasn’t as enthusiastic about hiking as he was earlier in the day. David checked their paws. Moe’s were a little tender but Kiara’s were obviously worn down, and one of them much more significantly worn down and very tender. It was only a short way to camp so David carried Kiara. We have at least another 16 miles to go to make it back to the car. We may have to move the contents of David’s pack into mine and Daryl’s and put Kiara in David’s backpack. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

Check out the haze. It's a dry summer, and there were several forest fires burning. Fortunately, we didn't see any fires, but we did get the smoke.

Check out the haze. It’s a dry summer, and there were several forest fires burning. Fortunately, we didn’t see any fires, but we did get the smoke.

 

backpacking in the Sawtooth Mountains

 

Cut Throat Lake was a gorgeous place to camp.

Cut Throat Lake was a gorgeous place to camp.

 

Some earlier backpacker had built this seat - it was quite comfortable!

Some earlier backpacker had built this seat – it was quite comfortable!

 

By this point in the trip, the pups were exhausted. They were not used to walking such long distances day after day.

By this point in the trip, the pups were exhausted. They were not used to walking such long distances day after day.

 

Not only were the dogs exhausted, but Kiara was limping badly by the end of the day. We discovered that she had worn down her paw completely. This was a problem, as we still had a long way to go.

Not only were the dogs exhausted, but Kiara was limping badly by the end of the day. We discovered that she had worn down her paw completely, and it was bleeding in one spot. This was a problem, as we still had a long way to go.

 

Click here for entries and photos from Day Four.

Day Five

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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5 Responses to A hike in the Idaho Sawtooth Mountains: Day 3

  1. Suzanne Fluhr August 23, 2015 at 9:24 pm #

    Doesn’t sound like the most fun day. Some day you’ll all laugh about David not bringing a good enough blanket. I was feeling kind of sorry for the dogs when I read the journal entries. Actually, with that heat during the day, I never would have made it and I don’t have paw pads. I’m thinking Momma was smart to stay home. 😉

  2. Harry J Verburg Jr August 24, 2015 at 5:13 am #

    What a great journey. I would have liked to have done this say – – – -20 years ago LOL. The ol’ body just won’t let me do it anymore. The boys journals sure have changed from – – -lets see, 2006 and on. I still enjoy them. Looking forward to the next entry.

    • Nancy Sathre-Vogel August 24, 2015 at 8:36 am #

      In some way they’ve changed. In other ways, they are still the same ol’ kids!

  3. Izy Berry December 1, 2015 at 11:10 am #

    your dog is so cute !!! and is normal in dogs that things like that happend they are not used al to do all this things

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