Trekking through the Sawtooths

August 2011  |  Idaho

For many years I’ve been longing to visit the Sawtooth Range in Idaho, and last week I finally got the chance! We went on a 7-day backpacking trek through the range, starting from Pettit Lake and ending at Redfish Lake, taking a few detours along the way. The Sawtooths did not disappoint, with their seemingly endless supply of emerald lakes surrounded by jagged granite spires.

Dawn reflection at Alice Lake.

Alice Lake Morning

Dawn reflection at Alice Lake.

Sunrise reflection at Alice Lake.

Alice Lake Sunrise #2

Sunrise reflection at Alice Lake.

Hiking above the brilliant blue Twin Lakes.  This scene is a "typical" view in the Sawtooth Mountains, with their rugged...

Hiking above the brilliant blue Twin Lakes.  This scene is a "typical" view in the Sawtooth Mountains, with their rugged granite spires towering above incredible emerald lakes.

Looking east down the Toxaway valley from a high ridgeline at sunset. 

Toxaway Valley

Looking east down the Toxaway valley from a high ridgeline at sunset. 

M&Ms for sunset.

M&Ms for sunset.

Not seen in these photos are the swarms of mosquitos everywhere. Those pesky bastards would not leave us alone! We hiked up to this ridge mainly just to escape the mosquitos at the lake we were camped at; but they were up on the ridge too! Thank heavens for deet.

Sevy Peak reflects in Upper Cramer Lake at sunset on a calm blue sky August evening.

Cramer Lake Reflection

Sevy Peak reflects in Upper Cramer Lake at sunset on a calm blue sky August evening.

The first few days we had beautiful partly cloudy weather, but the next few days were totally sunny – great for trekking but not so great for photography. Nevertheless we had a blast backpacking through this new mountain range, jumping in the lakes, and camping in some of the most spectacular campsites ever.

Waterfall at Cramer Lake.

Twilight Stream

Waterfall at Cramer Lake.

During our trek here in early August, about 15 minutes or so after sunset every night there was about 5 minutes of the most brilliant magenta rays that illuminated the western sky.

Hiking past the turquoise waters of upper Baron Lake.

Hiking past the turquoise waters of upper Baron Lake.

Late afternoon light filters through the forest near Baron Lake.  Monte Verita towers beyond. 

Evening at Baron Lake

Late afternoon light filters through the forest near Baron Lake.  Monte Verita towers beyond. 

Monte Verita reflects in the calm waters of Baron Lake at dawn. 

Monte Verita Alpenglow Reflection

Monte Verita reflects in the calm waters of Baron Lake at dawn. 

Sunrise light shines on the peaks at Baron Lake. I thought it was an interesting phenomenon how the mountains behind me created...

Baron Lake Blue Reflection

Sunrise light shines on the peaks at Baron Lake. I thought it was an interesting phenomenon how the mountains behind me created a silhouette that almost perfectly matched the skyline of these peaks!

Sunset light on an unnamed rugged peak above Baron Creek. 

Baron Creek Peak

Sunset light on an unnamed rugged peak above Baron Creek. 

Rugged spires tower above this seldom seen emerald lake below Warbonnet Peak. 

Bushwhack Lake

Rugged spires tower above this seldom seen emerald lake below Warbonnet Peak. 

We spent a day hiking to an unnamed lake (above) that I was totally curious to see, since it is situated in a remote cirque below a wild array of jagged spires. We planned on staying the night here, but I totally underestimated the difficulty of the bushwhack required to get here, and we realized that the only way to keep on our trek schedule was to abandon our plan and immediately leave and return to the camp from the night before. Thus, we spent most of a day doing a fairly grueling bushwhack with full packs for no reason, when we could have had a chill rest day instead. D’oh! Well, Claudia’s a trooper and she had a better attitude about it than I did!

Sunset at Elephant's Perch - August. 

Elephant's Perch Sunset

Sunset at Elephant's Perch - August. 

Our last night was spent at one of the most incredible spots I’ve ever set up a tent at, on cliff about 20 feet above a lake, with a direct view of the huge Elephant’s Perch spire towering above!

Our tent glows at our incredible campsite under the moonlit Elephant's Perch. 

Our tent glows at our incredible campsite under the moonlit Elephant's Perch. 

The last day we hiked down to Redfish Lake and caught a boat ride across the lake back to the truck, ending another good long trek this summer! I hope to return to the Sawtooths again someday!

Posted in Backpacking & Trekking and tagged Idaho.