Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Grandjean Idaho Trail Creek Lakes Trail April 2016

Saturday's hike (April 30, 2016) was on the South Fork Payette River Trail - Trail Creek Lakes Trail.  We started bright and early to take advantage of the cooler weather and crisp morning air.  We were not sure that we would make it past the first water crossing as Trail Creek is a fast flowing stream, 10-15 feet wide.  It can be difficult to cross depending on the conditions you encounter.  This is considered an intermediate hike and if you were to hike to the first lake and back you would be hiking approximately 11 miles round trip.

We were actually able to use the snow to our advantage at the first river crossing as there was a huge snow bridge which enabled us to easily cross to the other side.  This was completely unexpected.  We continued on the trail to the second water crossing.  The trail had patches of snow but they were easy to hike through/over and did not block our view of the trails direction.  Since we had left our water shoes and Jay's new harness back at the R-Pod we decided not to try to risk crossing the creek at this time.  Also we could see there was a lot more snow further up the trail after the crossing and thought it would be best to come back a little later in the season when more of the snow has melted and we can hike to the lakes.

In total we hiked 8.6 miles round trip with 1,690 feet of elevation gain.  We also helped to clear a few fallen trees and abundant branches to make the tail easier to navigate as it was obvious that not many hikers have been on the trail yet this season.  We had perfect weather, the trail completely to ourselves and were back in camp at a reasonable time so we could drive around to check out other camp site options and many of our favorite campgrounds between Grandjean and Stanley (all of them were still closed).  We also had time to find me a new rain jacket in town and to stop for an appetizer and refreshments before returning to camp to build our evening fire and start cooking our meat on a stick.

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