Camping: Grandjean Idaho August 2011
Southern Idaho’s forest are not the lush, green forests I’m accustomed to, but I’m finding that they have a rustic and clean beauty all of their own. I’m very impressed by the beautiful granite mountains and riverbeds. The water is crystal clear, and gets a beautiful yellow and slightly green base color from the granite rocks below. Most of the mountain rivers seem to have hot springs on them that are very refreshing on sore muscles after a long hike, like the 12.5 mile round trip hike I recently made up the Grandjean trail to Trail Lake.
This hike was more than I was expecting. A total accent of 2,300 feet elevation, crossing a small river 5 times, soft forest dirt, hard bedrock, and everything in between, this hike is not for the amateur adventurist. Despite the excruciating workout, the views were spectacular and the lake a nice find.
After a grueling 4.5 hour accent, we finally reached Trail Lake. It was smaller than I hoped, but beautiful at the top of the Sawtooth mountains.
Unfortunately, I had just eaten my lunch of P&J sandwiches, stretching out my tired legs and feet, when dark storm clouds started moving in. We knew we weren’t going to have long. Within 15 minutes, it started pouring down rain and lighting began flashing all around us with deafening thunder to accompany it. Being on the top of an 8,500 feet mountain peak with metal trekking poles and fishing rods next to a large body of water during a lightning storm is never a good idea, so we quickly hoofed it out of there.
The descent was easier on the heart for sure, but absolutely brutal on the knees. What a blessing my trekking poles were! If you don’t own a pair, go and get some right away. They are well worth the $100, as they seriously help with your balance on the trail (and while crossing rivers and streams), and do an amazing job of taking much of the pressure and weight off your knees during a down hill descent.
The hike back was only 3.5 hours, and would have been less if I was in better shape.
After the final river crossing, I knew I needed a break. And my poor Aszia pup did too! As soon as I stopped, she plopped on the grand, sprawled completely out on the trail, and was instantly asleep. Poor girl. I gave her (and myself) 20 minutes of rest, then headed out for the last mile of the hike back to camp.
I ran out of water, and didn’t have any other snacks to eat. I was completely drained of energy and needed something to keep me going. I kept passing tons of huckleberry bushes, but it was way to early for them. Then suddenly, as we stepped over a little snow run-off trickle across the trail, I saw three huckleberry bushes loaded with berries! Are you kidding me? I loaded up and ate nearly every berry off those bushes. They weren’t quite ripe yet, but still sweet enough to give me the energy burst I needed. It’s amazing what a little sugar and vitamin C can do for your body.
My pup and I were pretty beat when we got back to camp, and didn’t do much that night except to eat some bratwursts and sourkraut.
The next day, we went to some nearby hotsprings right off the main river. Boy that sure felt good on my soar muscles!
That evening I made an amazing dinner of Fried Rice and Sweet and Sour Brisket. So so delicious. What a great 3 day camping/hiking adventure. Looking forward to another one soon.
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