Forum Index > Trip Reports > Disgusting find at Ida Lake 10-15-19
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Downhill
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PostThu Oct 31, 2019 10:31 am 
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I've been rather annoyed by the lack of reasonable weather this fall.  I had a nice list of Sept and Oct destinations in mind for what is typically my favorite time of the year in the mountains.  But the cold, wet and snowy weather this autumn has, quite literally, dampened my plans.  Finally, in mid-Oct, the sun came back for a few days and the temps turned normal so I was excited to get in at least one outing in the alpine for the larches before the weather deteriorated again.

Sunday the 13th was picture-perfect and Monday the 14th was even warmer, but I had commitments in town so I planned to get out on the 15th.  I  had my dog Maui which somewhat limits trail options and given the short days, I choose Lake Ida because I know I can get high relatively quickly and there would be some nice larches there to enjoy.  To get an early start, I packed the night before, woke well before dawn and reached the Chatter Creek TH at first light.  Even for a Tuesday, I was a little surprised to find just one other car in the lot, covered in thick dew, clearly there overnight.  Looks like I'll have some solitude.  As we set off, the sun was coming up but it wasn't getting much lighter - there was a thick, dark high overcast over the entire state, nothing like the brilliant blue sunny skies of the days prior.  "Missed it by that much" (Maxwell Smart voice).  Cool temps made for easy hiking up the CC trail to the turnoff of the "fisherman's" trail.  Ascending this boot path I noticed a single set of bootprints in the dirt looking reasonably fresh, probably belonging to the owner of the car in the lot.  Looks like I might not have the lake to myself after all.  I became envious of this person, knowing they were at the lake the day before, in brilliant fall larch and sun conditions.

The rest of the ascent was straight forward and we didn't encounter any snow until reaching about 6800 ft and there it was just a little patchy, all good.  The last few feet to the pass (7100) above the lake we were walking on well-consolidated snow, following the tracks of the solo hiker who came in the day before.  Due to its NE aspect, the slope down from the pass to the lake was pretty much all snow, deeper and less consolidated making my choice of low, lightweight footwear seem like a rookie move.


Maui checking out Grindstone Mountain and the Chatter Creek drainage from the pass above the lake


Descending from the pass to the lake

When I got to the lake outlet my envy for my predecessor solo hiker turned to disgust and anger at what I found there, he left a stain on this incredibly beautiful, magical and pristine place.  He obviously planned ahead, bringing a saw, which he'd used to cut off many scrub trees to make an illegal campfire.  The amount of wood cut was excessive, even if fires had been allowed, leaving numerous unsightly "stumps" and a mess where he'd made his fire.  On top of this, he made his fire in a meadow area that had not prevously been a fire pit or campsite.  There was an established site no more than 50 ft away with a fire ring.  It was a cold day and I could feel warmth in the ashes and partially burned logs.  This had to be the work of my predesessor.  There was a fresh set of solo tracks in the snow heading away from this camp to the east, they were made that morning and were the only other tracks anywhere around the lake other than Maui's and mine.  We followed the tracks around the lake to the north where they crossed the pass and descended down the other side toward Painter Cr and Carter Lake.


I was really upset.  These fragile alpine areas are getting over-used and the impact of human use has degraded many places, like those in the permit zones in the Stuart Range.  What's more, when people disregard the laws and disrepect the environment and those visitors who will come after them, this puts the mountain community in a bad light with authorities and others.

After circumnavigating the lake, Maui and I headed back.  I figured if the solo hiker was exiting via Painter Cr to the head of Chatter Creek I'd be able to catch up with him.  Even with a head start of hour(s), I had the advantage of a much shorter route to the TH.  Maui has a great nose, like all dogs and route finding on the descent was his turn to lead and we were back to the TH an an hour under our ascent time.  There was only one car in the parking lot, the same one, belonging to the only other person/party in the entire region.  I didn't wait too long there as I assumed that the solo hiker probably moved camp to Carter Lake to cut more trees and make another fire.  I did however get photos of his vehicle and plates - there were some distiquishing bumper stickers on the back that I think I've seen around town, possibly local.

I don't know what to do with this information.  I know the USFS can't do anything with my circumstantial information and while I'd considered public shaming, posting the pic of the bumperstickers here, I've calmed down and dismissed that idea too.  I'm 6'2" and the solo hiker's tracks in the snow had a longer stride than mine so I'm probably fortunate that I didn't meet up with him at the TH  winksmile.gif

I intentionally didn't post any of my scenic larch and lake photos from the trip as I know there are people here on this forum that are sensitive to publicizing this spot.
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moonspots
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PostThu Oct 31, 2019 11:18 am 
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Downhill wrote:
...There was only one car in the parking lot, the same one, belonging to the only other person/party in the entire region.  I didn't wait too long there as I assumed that the solo hiker probably moved camp to Carter Lake to cut more trees and make another fire.  I did however get photos of his vehicle and plates - there were some distiquishing bumper stickers on the back that I think I've seen around town, possibly local.

I don't know what to do with this information.  I know the USFS can't do anything with my circumstantial information...

I'd send it to them anyway, and other local LEOs. And if no positive responses, I'd have no problem with the identifying photos with the back story being published.

Anyway, that's what I think.

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"Out, OUT you demons of Stupidity"! - St Dogbert, patron Saint of Technology
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iron
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getting old
PostThu Oct 31, 2019 11:22 am 
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public shame the ass####. post those pics.

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Popcorn
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PostThu Oct 31, 2019 11:34 am 
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I agree with Iron.
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fourteen410
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PostThu Oct 31, 2019 2:24 pm 
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Did you clean up the fire ring? Obviously it's not your job, but I always do it to discourage the "other people did it, so it's fine for me to do it" crowd.
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Downhill
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PostThu Oct 31, 2019 3:48 pm 
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fourteen410 wrote:
Did you clean up the fire ring? Obviously it's not your job, but I always do it to discourage the "other people did it, so it's fine for me to do it" crowd.

Thank was 100% my intention, to "hide" the unused and 1/2 burnt wood and do my best to return the site to something close to undamaged.  But after circling the lake and walking to the Painter Cr pass, I traversed back to the pass of my inbound route.  When I got to the pass I remembered that I'd not repaired the site but I didn't descend back to the lake.  It would have been the right thing to do.  But now I have another good reason to go back!  Unless someone beats me to it.
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Nancyann
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PostThu Oct 31, 2019 5:02 pm 
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That is so frustrating and disgusting. I would turn in the photos to the Forest Service at the very least.
That reminds me of last year at the same time of October when I came across a couple who were sitting in lawn chairs next to a campfire literally a foot from the shore of Lake Susan Jane on the PCT. There were multiple signs near the lake saying no campfires allowed, so I stopped to talk with them to see why they were so “special”. Their excuse was that it was cold and they had just moved up from Arizona, didn’t know the rules. They promised to dismantle the fire pit the next morning.  I hiked back up there a few days later and removed it myself.  shakehead.gif
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Canyon1
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PostFri Nov 01, 2019 4:36 am 
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Post the pics. This way the hiker and others will get the message.
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Sky Hiker
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PostFri Nov 01, 2019 4:42 am 
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Canyon1 wrote:
Post the pics. This way the hiker and others will get the message.

I second this then maybe they will get a clue
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timberghost
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PostFri Nov 01, 2019 5:17 am 
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Popcorn wrote:
I agree with Iron.

Thanks for not posting the scenery pics but by all means post the vehicle pics
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Downhill
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PostFri Nov 01, 2019 5:32 am 
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timberghost wrote:
Popcorn wrote:
I agree with Iron.

Thanks for not posting the scenery pics but by all means post the vehicle pics

I'm not sure if you're being sarastic about the scenery pics, but if not, you're welcome. up.gif  I could tag the lake name with a gorgeous pic on my Instgram and wait for the Colchuck effect to happen  rolleyes.gif
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Schenk
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PostFri Nov 01, 2019 7:33 am 
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Some people still think that type of practice is what being a "real" mountain man is like.  He "conquered" that tree and "tamed" the wilderness in his mind. Probably got all full of self admiration and satisfaction at the fine fire he built. Stupid idiot, cretin.

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SteeperColder
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PostFri Nov 01, 2019 8:38 am 
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...that really sucks.
I'm surprised you didn't also find cigarette butts & beer cans.
(Nothing like a good smoke after some vandalism, and beer cans break-down in the fire pit right?)

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"You won't find reasonable men on the tops of tall mountains" - Hunter S. Thompson
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timberghost
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PostFri Nov 01, 2019 9:15 am 
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Downhill wrote:
'm not sure if you're being sarastic about the scenery pics, but if not, you're welcome. up.gif  I could tag the lake name with a gorgeous pic on my Instgram and wait for the Colchuck effect to happen  rolleyes.gif

Not being sarcastic in the least just appreciative
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thunderhead
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PostFri Nov 01, 2019 9:39 am 
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We impound the vehicles, gear, etc of poachers.  Why not do the same for blatant wilderness destruction?
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