Boise to Stanley, Day Six


June 22, 2005

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After our slow progress through the hell of Johnson Creek yesterday, we were facing an ugly day. We didn't want to reverse our path, so we had at least a few more miles of bushwhack hell to get to the next trail intersection. That, and the map showed a profusion of creek crossings ahead. May as well get started, eh? This one was only about 15 minutes out of camp, meaning we were wading cold, cold water at about 7:30am.

Through some creative bushwhacking, we managed to avoid a couple of creek crossings. A few hours later, and we were at the Bayhorse trailhead. Another brand-new sign. Do we keep thrashing up Johnson Creek, or escape while we can?

Looking up the valley, we could finally see the Sawtooths. But we could also see the burn extended up the valley, so our chances of more deadfall were extremely high. Art worried about torturing his wife's feet and patience. But Carol was all gung-ho. She had learned that she could successfully bushwhack in her Chaco sandals, so her blistered toes were not being constantly rubbed. Sawtooths, here we come.

Not that we were out of the deadfall. Far from it.

At first, we simply stepped over the downed stuff. My hip flexors aching, I made light of the situation by calling it the "backpacker's steeplechase." But then it got really nasty, and we were walking from tree to tree without touching the ground- a very dangerous practice with a heavy pack on 4" diameter lodge pole.

On a brighter side, the weather was actually pretty nice. Also, as we got higher, the forests thinned, making the trail easier to follow. Our hard work paid off and we continued moving up the drainage. Still, these six miles had taken about the same number of hours, and it was really hard work.

We finally made it to the junction to Pat's Lake, and started the climb. It was going to be a late day, but hey- We're in the Sawtooths now!

When we got up this morning, we didn't even know if we'd make it to the Sawtooths. Now here we were at Pat's Lake, overwhelmed by the beauty. Maybe it was all that downfall and carbonized bark, but this sight really did seem exquisite.

It had been a long, stressful day.

We all agreed that this was one of the nicest camping spots we had ever experienced.

Apparently this little guy thought is was a nice place as well, having left a track in the snow about 100 feet from where we placed the tent. That's my size 11.5 next to a bear print, if it isn't clear.

We hung up our food so that we would have something to eat tomorrow.

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