Boise to Stanley, Day Two


June 18, 2005

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After our big day yesterday, we were a little tired. However, since I am a morning person, I started a pattern for the morning- I got up at 5am and started the fire (kindly left with dry wood and kindling by Art the night before) while Art and Carol slept. Then I woke them with a hot cup of tea for Art and coffee for Carol, who carried the big French press each day.

Carol figured out right away that being in charge of important equipment gave her a certain edge. That, and we were not likely to leave behind the Queen of All Toilet Paper. She quickly made the connection to what we guys call mountain money and claimed she was "rich as Oprah."

Here she enjoys the adulation of her fans on a somewhat gloomy day.

Today's trail climbed what is know both as Cottonwood Creek and the Bald Mountain Trail. It goes through a somewhat recent burn, as did many sections of our hike. In this case, the trail has been somewhat restored. It's actually in pretty good shape down low. After about 6 miles, the trail reaches a large hunting camp, and then thins considerably thereafter. We had a little trouble following it through some of the creek crossings, and there were a few muddy bogs to contend with. But all in all it was a very nice trail to hike.

Years ago, I rode this trail on my mountain bike several times. The first was soon after the fire, and the dead snags hadn't yet fallen. The last time, the trail was buried by deadfall. Now it's in pretty good shape for hiking, although with so many branches and loose wood on the tread, I would not ride it.

After walking through the burn for so long, it was great to finally climb into the forest. Right after that, we were in the upper meadows at 1:30pm, with the lookout in sight on the summit behind Art and Carol.

As we neared the summit, it started to rain again. No big deal, we just put on our ponchos and kept walking.

But then the weather really got nasty. First, the thunder ran us down below the road into some protective woods. Then the hail started. The picture really doesn't do it justice.

Finally it quit hailing, and the thunder receded, so we were off; it was already 2:15pm. We stopped briefly to use the outhouse at the Thorn Creek campground, and continued along the ridge top road. After taking one of the turns to the Meadow Creek road, we found that the shortcut penciled on our topo map was now a bona-fide motorcycle trail, easy to walk without any brush. Bonus!

When we hit the big meadow on meadow Creek, we were the only ones there to enjoy the afternoon sunshine. We quickly got out the parachute cord and hung up all our wet stuff.

But our peace and quiet was not to be. Out of nowhere, a big detroit sedan disgorged a family right across the road, complete with baby wailing through the night. It may sound bad, but we were too tired to really notice. Plus, the baby helped get us out of bed the next morning as we got ready to head out on Day 3.

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