A 4 day trip into the Sawtooth Wilderness with Tara over Labor Day weekend. This was a special one, as it was the first time that Tara decided to join me on a cross country adventure. Add to that the surprisingly rugged terrain, a 20 minute standoff (bearspray in hand) with what turned out to be a small mule deer, a 2 am excavation by Chaco of a stream channel to divert water around the tent, and the fact that we had the whole place to ourselves made this one extra memorable.
Day 1: Leave Missoula in time to catch the 5:00 ferry across Redfish Lake. From there, we hiked the trail to Alpine Lake, arriving right around dusk.
Day 2: We left the trail at the lake and headed for the saddle north of Pt 9769, which we traversed on its northwest face before scurrying up to the summit for a view and a snack. Then, it was down to Warbonnet Lakes and a stroll through Warbonnet Basin past Feather Lakes. When we'd had our fill of this beautiful area, we made our way down to Blue Rock Lake, a gorgeous spot that we were happy to call home.
Day 3: We left the lake to scramble up and over the ridge to its southwest. From here, it was a sidehill/bushwhack/stream walk up past McWillards Lake to Oreamnos lake, a nice relaxing spot to take an extended break. From there, we made our way upvalley to a very inviting Packrat Lake before ascending into the high, dry basin above and crawling our way up the loose talus to Reward Pass. After a quick detour to Reward Peak, it was down some enjoyable ramps and slabs to Lake Kathryn, easily our favorite lake of the trip.
Day 4: A drop to the Upper Redfish Lakes and a bushwhack down and back up to the trail on the east side of Redfish Lake Creek. Then, a boat trip back across the lake and a full on slap in the face by civilization. There really is nothing like arriving to a beach full of Labor Day tourists sunbathing and drinking cocktails after 4 days of solitude in the wilderness.