A Slightly Snowy Sawtooths Stroll

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Jackson

I like to go outside.
.
Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
1,375
Trip Reports
23
Likes
2,211
Thread starter #1
October 5-6, 2018

My summer backpacking season was a bit of a letdown this year. I got 3 nights out, but had planned on 7 or 8, with my biggest trip entirely falling through, so I had been feeling a bit frustrated. Additionally, I had a trip planned with @scatman for October 5-8 in Wyoming, but there was so much snow in the forecast for where we were headed that we made the decision to cancel a few days beforehand. The weather most places nearby was looking pretty bleak; cold and rather snowy in the Uintas, lots of rain and cooler temperatures on the Colorado Plateau... The Wind Rivers looked ok on some forecasts, but others called for snow and pretty cold temperatures. I thought to look at the Sawtooths, and it turns out they were far enough north that their forecast wasn't as terrible. Still some snow and rain in the forecast, but not nearly as much. So I decided I go for a night or two, depending on the weather, because I thought I owed it to myself.

The drive up was nice. I was shocked by the amount of traffic in Hailey and Ketchum though.

There was a handful of cars at the trailhead, mostly dayhikers, based on my observations on the trail. It was very quiet at Pettit Lake though. No one on the water, and no one at the campground.
IMG_20181005_141835.jpg


IMG_20181005_143428.jpg


On my way up, I passed 5 or 6 dayhikers and a group with overnight packs that was heading back to the trailhead. Didn't see any other backpackers until the following morning.
IMG_20181005_152328.jpg


Certainly felt like fall out there.
IMG_20181005_152502.jpg


I got up to the ponds below Alice Lake. Was looking really nice up there. Clouds were getting heavier up beyond the ridgeline.
IMG_20181005_161043_lzn.jpg


Fortunately there was still some nice blue sky above the lake.
IMG_20181005_161150_lzn.jpg


IMG_20181005_161909.jpg


I carried on up past the lake. I started hit some of the snow that had fallen a day or two ago.
IMG_20181005_162619.jpg


Such a craggy place. I kept swearing to myself because the scenery was so beautiful.
IMG_20181005_163623_lzn.jpg


The original plan had been to camp at Alice Lake, but there was daylight left and I was still kind of thinking I'd complete the loop over to Toxaway Lake, Farley Lake, and back over to Pettit the next day. So I set up camp at Twin Lakes. I hadn't seen anyone since before I got to the ponds below Alice Lake, and it was nice having so much solitude.
IMG_20181005_164450_lzn.jpg


Found a good campsite.
IMG_20181005_171709_lzn.jpg


I spent some time walking around the lakes. This was a weird looking tree. It reminded of the Native American trail trees back east.
IMG_20181005_174250.jpg


IMG_20181005_174528_lzn.jpg


It got dark fairly early, which is the only thing I dislike about fall in the mountains. I got my food hung, and I headed to bed. I think I was able to fall asleep for a bit, but around 11, I heard something brushing against my tent. It happened a few times, and I was a bit concerned. So I yelled out into the darkness to scare the mystery critter off. But whatever it was, it didn't care, and the periodic noise of it against my tent continued. I smacked the tent the next time I heard it, and the same sound happened. Then it occurred to me. It was snowing and it was just the sound of snow sliding down the fly. I felt really stupid, but at least no one was there to judge me.
Even knowing what the sound was, it was infrequent and irregular enough that it kept me up for most of the night. I was surprised in the morning that there weren't feet of snow on the ground, with how many times I hit my tent wall to clear snow off that night. However, being so tired, and with more snow forecasted for that afternoon and evening, I decided to hike back out to Pettit Lake and just take my time. This being my third time going solo overnight, I think I still tend to play it overly safe. Maybe I'll get a bit more adventurous with more time.

IMG_20181006_073724_lzn.jpg


Gloomy morning, which actually made for a very, very pleasant walk out.
IMG_20181006_080744.jpg


IMG_20181006_081114.jpg


I got back down to Alice Lake, and I happened upon two guys who had hiked in behind me the previous day and camped. They were planning to head over to Toxaway Lake and back to their camp that day, weather forecast be damned. I wished them well and continued on my way.

I got down into the clouds when I got below Alice Lake. Made for some cool silhouettes.

IMG_20181006_084005_lzn.jpg


As I got lower, the weather really wasn't looking too awful. I shrugged and kept on.

The fall colors were about done up there, but these aspens were still hanging on a bit.
IMG_20181006_093255_lzn.jpg


I got back to the car and headed home. Despite not getting much sleep the previous night, I didn't feel drowsy at all on the drive home. That was good.

Overall, it was a great trip. Incredible scenery, surprising solitude. I was a bit disappointed in myself for not going two nights, but I wasn't very keen on spending another sleepless night with snow sliding down my tent. I'll have to go back and do the full loop sometime, especially since the distance isn't too long. Thanks for reading.
 

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Titans

Member
.
Joined
Aug 18, 2018
Messages
215
Trip Reports
10
Likes
526
#4
Wow, beautiful photos @Jackson - thanks for sharing. 12-13 hours in the dark is a lot of hours in a cold tent with 'new sounds' at night...
I wouldn't close an eye either, so you are not alone ;) We are debating that very issue now for our upcoming trip, it's a challenge in the fall/winter.
 

Dr Nebz

Dirtbag After Dark
Joined
Aug 5, 2016
Messages
415
Trip Reports
65
Likes
1,170
#5
Nice one! I've had that thinking something was scratching my rain fly then it turned out to be snow sliding down it. Looks like you got a fresh paint job overnight!
 

Jackson

I like to go outside.
.
Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
1,375
Trip Reports
23
Likes
2,211
Thread starter #6
Wow, beautiful photos @Jackson - thanks for sharing. 12-13 hours in the dark is a lot of hours in a cold tent with 'new sounds' at night...
I wouldn't close an eye either, so you are not alone ;) We are debating that very issue now for our upcoming trip, it's a challenge in the fall/winter.
I think if you have people to go with and you can have a fire where you are, it makes it a lot easier since you have better reasons to stay up past sunset. Plus, it's hard to pass up an opportunity to camp, regardless of the season! :D
 

danger02ward

Love the Mountains!
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
318
Trip Reports
12
Likes
1,137
#7
Beautiful place. Visited there in September! looks even more beautiful with snow. Love the pictures!
 
Joined
Feb 3, 2017
Messages
207
Trip Reports
0
Likes
229
#8
Reminds me of the times I have been to the Sawtooths! About time to go again I think. Thanks for the TR
 

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
.
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
1,479
Trip Reports
7
Likes
2,218
#10
Great trip, great photos, great solitude. Glad your mystery critter didn't turn out to be too unfriendly. :)
 

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Joined
Sep 7, 2016
Messages
28
Trip Reports
3
Likes
103
#12
Awesome Jackson. Smart decision to turn around and cut it short. Ya never know what mother nature is going to bring on any given day out in the wild and especially on a day right on the heels of a snow-storm night.

Tremendous pictures...
 

WasatchWill

Ready For More
.
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
1,298
Trip Reports
67
Likes
3,061
#13
Awesome stuff. I admit, You had me in suspense, than I laughed out loud at the snow monster. Great story telling there. Good on you for building up the solo nights.
 

gnwatts

Member
.
Joined
May 19, 2012
Messages
1,472
Trip Reports
41
Likes
3,236
#14
Enjoyable TR, beautiful shots.
I kind of enjoy long nights in my tent, good book etc.
Or you can drink a little Ezra and stay up late.
 

Miya

Because I am able.
.
Joined
Dec 31, 2017
Messages
590
Trip Reports
13
Likes
777
#15
I always love seeing photos of tents in snow. I don't know if I am ready to experience it though. Your trip looked fresh! Thanks for the share!
 

Jackson

I like to go outside.
.
Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
1,375
Trip Reports
23
Likes
2,211
Thread starter #16
I always love seeing photos of tents in snow. I don't know if I am ready to experience it though. Your trip looked fresh! Thanks for the share!
Thanks! I agree on the tents in the snow. Even with the lack of sleep. Now that the days are even shorter and I have more schoolwork, I am really wishing I had stayed the extra night.
 
Joined
Feb 9, 2017
Messages
93
Trip Reports
6
Likes
326
#17
Sweet! Looked like a great trip. Love the photos, I’ll have to add that area to my ever growing list. Oh, and I once freaked myself out solo and the noise turned out to be the way my sleeping bag scratched the ground when I took a breath. So don’t feel bad!
 

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top