Boise to Stanley, Day Seven


June 23, 2005

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After waking up in the blast zone yesterday, waking up in the Sawtooths was a real pleasure, even if it was a little cold.

Our morning had us starting up towards this 9240' snowy pass after climbing to the frozen Arrowhead Lake above Pat's. Unfortunately, the cold had set the snow up like concrete, and kicking steps really didn't work.


Art solved the problem by cutting an alpenstock which he used to hack steps in the snow. It was slow going, but preferable to a sudden plunge down the ice.

As we made our way to the high pass, we looked back on frozen Arrowhead Lake and the Johnson Creek drainage. With all this spectacular alpine beauty, it was already hard to remember the difficulties this drainage had caused us.

At 9:25am on the saddle, we were back in the sun and the Sawtooths showed us their glory. Can you tell by the smiles?

After the high pass, we cut cross-country trying to keep Carol's feet out of the snow. We found a great shortcut that just barely got between the edge of a lake and a cliff, with perhaps 18" to spare.

Then we took another shortcut to drop down into the basin below Mt. Everly. We followed this basin uphill over another pass at 8600', and then we were in the Benedict Creek drainage. We found a nice sunny spot right at noon, and enjoyed our lunch while our socks dried.


By following Benedict Creek downstream, we would end up at the South Fork of the Payette. As the trail (a real trail!) crossed Benedict Creek just above the South Fork, we were faced with a two-stage creek crossing: the first part was extremely deep but slow, the second part less deep but fast. We stared at the water for some time.

Then I noticed a trail heading up the creek. Investigating, I found a crossing where the water slid across a smooth granite slab at high speed, but was only 6 to 10" deep.

Art put on his Tevas and tested to see how slick the rock was. It was passable. On to the next creek crossing.

We reached the South Fork at 2:45, and immediately crossed it. We ended up crossing the South Fork several times more that afternoon. As we worked our way upstream, we also encountered several wonderful waterfalls.

At 5:30 we finally gave up and found a camp site. If we had more creek crossings, we'd need our strength for tomorrow.

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