Idaho and the Sawtooths – Part 3
After a few days alone and with total strangers, I was delighted to be reunited with my old friend Chug, of the PCT for a second trip into the mountains. Given the fires, we opted for the other side of the road, the White Clouds.
We had a sketchy moment driving down the long dirt road to the trailhead, not confident that the SUV would make it through a very, very deep puddle, but it ended well. We just hoped there would be no more rain or snowmelt to make it deeper for the return trip!
The lakes on this side were somehow more rugged. Less sharp perhaps, with more open bowls, but imposing with weathered exposed rocks and a lower treeline.
After I’d woken him up to see the milky way, Chug was content to go back to his tent and sleep through the night whilst I stayed up to take more photos. I tried to capture the moon reflected in a lake, but had little success. Still, being outside in the mountains with this kind of view is hard to rival.
The smoke across the valley was becoming more and more hazy, and we realised we’d timed the trip well in that sense. In another sense too, though we didn’t know it at the time. I’d come from a work trip to Houston, and was heading back there after this vacation. As we were leaving the wilderness area, we crossed paths with day hikers who asked us where we were headed. When I said Houston, they said they didn’t think that was likely. I had to ask, but I wished I hadn’t. There had been a hurricane, which had left great swathes of the city under water, and huge numbers of people without power. I’d left a bag there, in a hotel which had been flooded, but that was the least of the worries. My team were all fine, as it turned out, but the day hikers had been right and there was no chance of me returning there. I was stranded in Denver after the first leg of my flight, and it took 2 days to get me back to London! Adventures of a different kind.