Sapphire Lake in Idaho's White Cloud Range

I got to go with our old scout troop, Troop 100 in Boise, for an October hike to the White Cloud Range. The first night we camped at the car, and my tent was glistening with ice crystals when I went to bed. I think it got to the low 20s that night. 

 Above: The boys at our fire

Above: The boys at our fire

The next morning none of the boys complained of being cold, and I had my zero degree bag, so I was fine.  The gang below started for Walker Lake, 7 miles into the Big Boulder Lakes.

 The hike in was cold, and about a mile below Walker Lake turned to snow.

The hike in was cold, and about a mile below Walker Lake turned to snow.

We hiked in about 7 miles to Walker Lake, were we found 2-3 inches everywhere except in a rocky spot on the trail.  I pitched my tent on the actual trail, and slept on the trail, with rocks on either side of me.  But it was flat in that spot and I didn't have any trouble sleeping.

The next day we headed up to Sapphire Lake, shown at the outlet below.  The surrounding hills were covered in snow, the sky was blue, and the white clouds completed the picture.  I told the boys that this was the most beautiful place in the world, and having just hiked the incredible John Muir Trail this summer, I had not seen a better spot on the whole JMT.

Some of the guys were fishing, and caught 4 that were quite large.  They were Tenkara fishing and fly fishing, and Josh even tried worms. These fish are as long as this scout's forearm!

The route to Sapphire is a cross country route, no trail, and there was one place where it was a little sketchy with all the rocks covered with snow.  Below we were heading down the ridge trying not to lose our footing in the snow.

 We cooked the 5 keepers in foil with butter, lemon pepper, in the coals of the campfire.  Life doesn't get any better than this.

We cooked the 5 keepers in foil with butter, lemon pepper, in the coals of the campfire.  Life doesn't get any better than this.

 Except when you see mountain goats on the hike out.

Except when you see mountain goats on the hike out.