White Cloud Mountains, Idaho, Castle Peak Loop
We finished a great 8 day backpack in the White Clouds, and were surprised to find lakes there that are better than any in the Sawtooths, and in general had a great time.
Below is the gang, 5 adults and 6 youths.
We started at 4th of July Lake, with camp sites at
Hatchet Lake in the Boulder Chain Lakes
Hummock Lake in the upper Boulder Chain Lakes
and from there we hiked out via Quiet Lake and 4 Lakes Basin to Born Lakes
Our group had some fantastic mountain experience, and our campfires had some interesting and entertaining stories. Josh, 2nd from left, is a Marine who was in Saudi, Jordan, and other places in the Middle East, as a trainer to their marines, and has lots of great stories from Marine days.
Gary, far right, did a lot of rock climbing in So Cal and Yosemite. He climbed the Nose route on El Cap in Yosemite, hiked the John Muir Trail, and has lots of rock and peak climbing and backpacking experience.
Kevin, 2nd from right, did the John Muir Trail in a 27 day trip at when he was 15, did many 9 day hikes in the Sierra, and joined me on our Sawtooth Slowpoke and Wind River hikes.
Dave, who joined us after this picture was taken, has climbed a lot of Colorado 14ers and has done a lot of backpacks in the West.
Above is a view of Castle Peak from our camp at the first big lake in Chamberlain Basin. I had to admit I could not think of a better camp site, or a better view from a campsite. Kane Lake in the Pioneers, Sawtooth Lake in the Sawtooths, Alice Lake in the Sawtooths, Titcombe Basin in the Winds are all good, but this view and campsite were right up there.
Four of our party climbed this side of Castle: Gary, Dave, Malcolm, and Nick. Another group of our youths went around the lakes dispersing illegal fire pits, as part of Jim's Eagle Project. Kevin caught a lot of fish at the upper Chamberlain basin, mostly due to persistence on a windy day. He and Josh "saw" a 26" fish. Yeah, right.
Above is a view of the East side of Castle Peak, as we headed to Big Boulder Chain Lakes. We camped at Hatchet Lake, and the next day headed up to the upper lakes of the chain. Hummock Lake was another standout lake, and all the lakes had good fishing, but the fish were generally small.
Above is a view of Hummock Lake, where we had a layover day. Even prettier lakes were those at higher elevations, and the next one, Scoop Lake, had a good campsite at the inlet.
Shown above is Lonesome Lake, the highest lake in the Boulder Chain Lakes, at 10,435. It didn't have ice on the water, but the slopes above the lake were all snow covered, in late August. Its been a late season this year.
We took a tough route to get down to Born Lakes, but Kevin and Josh had gone via the shorter Devils Staircase route, and had saved a campsite for the whole group. One of the Born Lakes is above.
The mountain scenery was fine, but what really inspired the troops for the last few days of the trip was a vision of the hamburgers at the Bridge Grill in Lower Stanley. It was as good as we imagined it.