A few years back, a friend and I decided to go on a backpacking trip into the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho. This was basically the first backpacking trip that I had planned and executed. My friend and I planned it, but prior to this trek, I had only gone backpacking with youth groups for church and my parents. So, I guess this is where I lost my backpacking virginity… Or something.
We didn’g go into Stanley for this hike to Stanley Lake, but up the trail a ways, there was a fork that led to Stanley. It was 11 miles of hiking from the fork, and we were about 3 miles up the trail from where we started, so I think it’s safe to say that we took the shorter route.
We came up from the trail head South East side of the Sawtooth Lake and worked our way to the North East side. This section of the hike took us through awesome meadows, dense forest, and past a few beautiful lakes. From North East end of the lake we back tracked South along the East side of the lake and when we reached the lakes Southern tip, the sun was setting so we set up camp and cooked dinner.
After dinner we passed out and woke up with a plan to hike further into the wilderness. Instead, we decided to hike the gnarly peak that stuck up above the South West side of the lake and right above our camp spot. Later, we found it was called Mount Regan.
So, after breakfast, we began. We scrambled west up some loose scree and talus toward the East cliff face of Mount Regan where a ledge looked like it met nicely with the scree. We were right and we made it fairly quickly to the ledge. From here we walk North East on the ledge until the cliff to our west leveled out and we were able to gain elevation.
We followed this trend for about 2 hours until we had worked our way upward quite a bit and were now just below the North West rideline of Mount Regan, and were on the South West side of Sawtooth Lake.
The way back down was a bit more difficult than we expected. We didn’t really look back as we ascended and so we had a hard time finding where to descend down to each ridgeline that we made our way up. Luckily we ended up and the one ledge that led smoothly to the scree slide we came up. If we had been a ledge up, we would have hit a cliff above the scree, if we had been a ledge below, we would have hit a cliff that dropped into the trees to the side of the scree. If that doesn’t make sense, then just understand that we got lucking in choosing the right path back.
The next day, we followed the trail we arrived on and made our way back to the car. It was a beautiful hike and a great start to my independent backpacking experiences.