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Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> White Cloud Mtns of central ID (east of Sawtooths) 9/2,10-11
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yew
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Joined: 12 Dec 2005
Posts: 1134 | TRs | Pics
Location: Bellingham
Post Mon Sep 17, 2007 8:59 pm    White Cloud Mtns of central ID (east of Sawtooths) 9/2,10-11
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The first real hike for this trip to Idaho was up to Hoodoo Lakes from the hot springs area at the end of Slate Creek Rd.  This area is part of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.  But first at a little background.

I drove in from Lowman then Stanley, ID.  It was Labor Day Weekend.  Stanley was clogged with tourists and a lot of Idahoans.  We drove up to the Iron Creek Trailhead near Stanley.  Man, what a zoo!  The trailhead was at full capacity.  No where to park but at unofficial campsite 1/2 mile down the road.  I counted 35+ cars and the parking lot was full.  Screw that!  Looked like some pretty impressive scenery up there in the Sawtooths but with all the heat, dust and crowds it was best to move on.

SoÖI pushed on east and drove even more miles along the Salmon River past Torreys, ID then up the Slate Creek Rd which the USFS labeled 666.  devilsmile.gif  They mustíve gave this road that special number because the upper end of the road reeks of sulfur from the hot spring I was never able to exactly locate.  That evening we wandered the old mining ruins at the end of the road.


Next day we hiked the steep, old mining road up to Hoodoo Lake.


Then we followed the old mining road around the lake where it collected even more blowdowns.  From there, we bushwhacked uphill through a high elevation sagebrush meadow then turned and tied in with another old road with an old water pipe.  The pipe ended at a small pond next to a large meadow ringed by towering peaks.  A blue grouse flushed.

We kept on cross-countrying across the meadow then steeply ascended


to a high gap in the ridge just below the summit of the mountain Tom Lopez so poetically and eloquently labels ďWCP-1Ē in his Idaho mountain climbing book.


The sun and high, dry air baked and dehydrated me and the dogs ruthlessly on the way up.  The wind blasted us as soon as we crested the ridge but the view was amazing!


I could make out the Sawtooths to the west.  Not much plant life up there but there was mountain goat fur.  The GPS claims we hit almost 10,000 feet elevation.  I scree skied part of the way back down to the meadow.  Encountered a large family hiking up the old mining road on the way out.

I may add more photos later.  There's a lot to sort through and edit.

This trip report is the first of more to come.  Later on we hiked more in the White Clouds (which I'll add to this TR) but also in the Pioneer Range and the Lemhi Range in central Idaho and the Selkirks in north Idaho all as the Toure du Idaho.  This trip report is just a just a small fraction of the country we saw.

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"I aint jokin woman, I got to ramble...We gonna go walkin through the park every day." - Led Zeppelin
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
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Post Tue Sep 18, 2007 8:53 pm   
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yew, I'm awaiting more, as you promised.....

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"How much does a case of beer weigh?

Z, NWHikers' Backcountry Travel Consultant
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snowflake
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Joined: 03 May 2007
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Location: channeling my inner stuntwoman
Post Tue Sep 18, 2007 9:44 pm   
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yew
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Joined: 12 Dec 2005
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Location: Bellingham
Post Wed Sep 19, 2007 5:51 pm   
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Quote:
yew, I'm awaiting more, as you promised.....

Coming up, coming up, Quark.  We still gotta' 3 foot tall stack of camping gear stacked on the living room floor.  My wife said it looks like a Campmor catalog vomited on the living room floor.  And P.U.!, do smelly clothes still need to be washed.  That Idaho dust sticks to everything.

Here's "a bone"/preview in the form of a Flickr slideshow: http://www.flickr.com/photos/74014145@N00/show/

snowflake:

I saw that hot springs next to the old road but nobody was in it.  Everybody would walk further on to somewhere else.  confused.gif  There were some dirtbikers walking out with towels, swim trunks, looking all red & steamed from a hot springs further back.  I stuck my hand in the one in your photo.  It was too hot IMO.  But, I'm a wimp in many respects.

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"I aint jokin woman, I got to ramble...We gonna go walkin through the park every day." - Led Zeppelin
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snowflake
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Post Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:39 pm   
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Yes there are springs farther in too, but this one was perfectly nice.
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yew
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Joined: 12 Dec 2005
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Location: Bellingham
Post Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:53 pm    Chamberlain Pass and Castle Peak area 9/10-11
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White Clouds Part II: Castle Peak/Chamberlain Pass, 9/10-11

On Sunday of Labor Day weekend, I checked out the Livingston Mill trailhead west and up from the East Fork Salmon River.  I was surprised to see that the Salmon River and East Fork Salmon River (which runs into the middle of the White Clouds) has so much sagebrush steppe.  Thereís a lot of BLM land. Miles and miles of it.  Itís great!  The land right along the East Fork is largely private ranchland with many houses.

The Livingston Mill trailhead was mobbed on Sunday.  I turned around and pushed on once I saw 20+ cars and more than a few trailers with dirtbikes in the lot.  That trailhead is dusty and looks beatup.  So, I drove up the Herd Creek Rd and wandered the sagey hills for a bit.  Herd Creek is a lush riparian strip among the high desert.


I just couldnít get over all the miles of sagebrush steppe and how much it looked like Eastern Oregon.  After that, I made the long, dusty, washboarded drive on Walker Way to the Pioneers.  Again, I was surprised to see how much this area, called the Challis Volcanics by geologists, looked like the Owyhees or some other area in Eastern Oregon due to Challis Volcanics geologic formation.


A few rabbits and many mourning doves scurried in front of the car but no chukars or pronghorn.  And no quail?  Too cold?  Walker Way enters Basin and Range country on its east end.  That night we car camped among dusty sagebrush in the basin with a sunrise over the Lost River Range.  It was beautiful with the vast sagebrush and stars and Milky Way overhead.

After a few days of hiking the Pioneer Range (TR with pics later) and after the WCP-2 ridge hike above, I had to drove to the Boise Airport to pick up Mrs. Yew_Betula.  Senator Larry Craig didn't make an appearance in an adjacent stall in the menís room, Thank God.

We immediately hightailed it back to the Pioneers for a day hike (TR with pics later), next day drove over Trail Creek Pass east of Ketchum to the real Western town of Challis, ID then down along the East Fork Salmon River back to Livingston Mill trailhead. The trailhead register listed a party of 7 dirtbikers from California a day before, a party from Utah, Stanley, ID and from elsewhere.  And, thereís a lot of horse use.  Thereís some mountain bike use.  And, thereís a lot of hiker use too.  Contrary to what Iíve been told on Nwhikers.net and elsewhere, dirtbikers are allowed on almost all portal trails in the White Clouds.  Some of these trails open to dirtbikes go high up into the White Clouds.  It's a Dark Divide style situation in much of the Boulder-White Clouds.

So, we pushed on to another trail that leads into the White Clouds that I figured did not get as much use Ė Little Boulder Creek #682.  The parking for Little Boulder Creek is about Ĺ mile away from the trailís beginning.  I walked down the road after dropping the wife, dogs and gear off.  The lower, east end of the trail is on BLM land and it was hot, sunny, dusty and dry and not pleasant at all with the prospects of encountering dirtbikes and hiking on a beat-up trail.


The trail ascends gradually, enters the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and alternating forest, sagebrush and aspen.  The trail passes through the most sickly, diseased forest Iíve ever seen in my whole life then into a burn.  The sickly forest is inland Douglas-fir subspecies (var. glauca) grossly infected with dwarf mistletoe.


After the burn, the trail enters lodgepole pine forest and parallels the creek.  Itís 7 miles on dusty, beatup trail open to motors to a junction.  Since it was a weekday, we did not encounter anyone riding a dirtbike.

We turned left toward Chamberlain Lakes on Trail # 47 and into country officially not open to motors.  The trail started to switchback in subalpine forest, water was more scarce, it was getting late and us tired so we started to look for a campsite.  While wandering through the woods looking for a flat spot, I found an old roadbed with many blowdowns.  We wandered down the road to a small creek then up to an old mining cabin.


We pitched camp nearby since it was flat.  A boot track climbs steeply up the hill past an old mining shaft


to an open cirque with view of Castle Peak, Merriam Peak and down the valley to Baker Lake.  It looks like thereís an exposed boot track to Castle Lake from here.  This cirque has good views of Castle Peak without having to make the climb to the pass.


Next morning, I got back on the main trail and hiked up to the pass.  Wow!  Castle Peak was pretty impressive.


We wandered up the ridge above the pass and flushed a mountain goat.


The White Clouds probably have the most rotten rock Iíve ever seen.


On hike back down, we stayed on the old mining track to Baker Lake.  Itís steep and many lodgepole blowdowns to step over.  Thereís an old clearing with great views of Merriam Peak and the east side of Castle.  Baker Lake has a great view of the high peaks too.


The cross-country route up to Noisy, Quiet, and Scree Lakes looks fun and feasible.  It looked like itíd be better to cut away east of Baker Lake to avoid a large cliff then traverse west and over.

The hike out/down was hot, dry, sunny and dusty; the poor dogs.  Encountered 2 guys on horseback, probably going up to the huge wall tent hunting camp near Baker Lake.  It was too hot and dry for any bugs.  The locals said they didnít get much snow last winter and spring showers to support many bugs.  Unlike Western Washington, much of Idaho dried out quickly in early summer or late spring.  Wildflowers also dried up early.

I wish Wickiup Creek Trail #684 were open.  Itís designated as non-motorized but the lower, east end on BLM land is blocked by private land.  I wish the BLM could swing a deal.  Iím writing them a letter sometime soon to see if the lower Wickiup Trail will ever be open.

Thatís all for the White Clouds folks.  Hikes in the Pioneers, Lemhis and Selkirks will go on different threads whenever I get around to writing Ďem up.

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"I aint jokin woman, I got to ramble...We gonna go walkin through the park every day." - Led Zeppelin
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Sabahsboy
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Post Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:03 pm    White Clouds of Idaho
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yew_betula, yew done it right!  Thank you!  I hiked there so long ago that there were still Red Fish at Red Fish Lake, gazillions of them!  My tent froze like cardboard and I could hardly get my bod warm...and, yup, I went off to the White Clouds.  What is nifty in your TR...the Castle side of Castle!  Oh, yes...I hiked the obvious trails at Sawtooths, too.  It never did snow much....ran into a ranger who warned me of the dangers of getting caught in a big, autumn storm.  I found a shattered smokey quartz crystal and brought back now faded memories and slides so well packed away it will take archaeologists decades to retrieve.
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yew
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Joined: 12 Dec 2005
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Post Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:07 pm    redfish
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Quote:
I hiked there so long ago that there were still Red Fish at Red Fish Lake, gazillions of them!

A local newspaper said a whopping 4 sockeye made it back Redfish Lake this year.

Quote:
My tent froze like cardboard and I could hardly get my bod warm.

Yup, although it was mostly sunny, dry and dusty in day, it did get pretty cold at night.

Glad the TR seemed to bring back good memories for you.   You ought to return someday. It's still great.

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"I aint jokin woman, I got to ramble...We gonna go walkin through the park every day." - Led Zeppelin
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Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> White Cloud Mtns of central ID (east of Sawtooths) 9/2,10-11  
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