Fall Adventures!

I’m finally getting around to writing short summaries of 4 great adventures I got to experience last fall! I took quite a few photos of it all and organized them all chronologically in this gallery. Enjoy!

Scout Mountain Hike, September 20, 2020

A friend and I decided to hike to the top of Scout Mountain since we’d never done it before. We knew it was about 12 miles out-and-back, so we started hiking around 8 am. It was pretty cold, the air was moist and chilly, the trail was damp, we were surrounded by trees and foliage, and we had to walk around puddles occasionally. Finally made it to the “frog pond” (thought it wasn’t THAT far from the trailhead, but it is!), and then we marched on until the trees began to appear gradually more sparse. Eventually, the terrain took on the “classic Idaho look” which is dry, grassy-with-sagebrush, with pine forest and junipers sprinkled around. We followed the road, waved to some off-road motorcyclists, and paused to take in the beautiful thick pine forest on the east side of the ridge. After a snack, we hiked on and soon saw the top of the peak with radio towers. We spent some time at the top taking a look at the variety of amazing scenes and terrain that can be seen in different directions. The hike back down was nice, said hello to a few folks, and by the time we were nearing the parking lot, we were both hobbling a bit. But it was the good kind of pain!

Bonneville Peak Hike, October 3, 2020

Our next adventure would be scaling Bonneville Peak (didn’t quite make it to the top due to this hike being rigorous to say the least), also known as Pebble Creek Ski Area. The hike began steeply and was just pretty dang steep the entire way. If you like vertical hiking, this one’s for you! It’s one of those hikes where you have to shorten your stride, and pause every now and then to take in the scenery, but mainly just to catch your breath. This hike gave me a renewed awe of downhill skiers, especially since my hiking companion had skied the mountain many times and spoke about it as we hiked. It sounded terrifying given the grade, trees, boulders, obstacles, etc. After I shed a few layers of clothing, we came upon a bend in the trail, and this is when my friend said we ought to go left at a sign marked “Stacey’s” and follow a game trail, which was a bit tricky due to the sideways leaning grade, scanty trail, and crossing over fallen trees. At the end of that trail began the “out of bounds” area of the ski area, which ascended steeply to the ridge. It was one of those hiking sections where you can see the ridge every time you look up, but you just keep climbing and you wonder if you’ll ever make it to the unreachable ridge. It was very vertical to the point of having to sort of zig-zag your way up while being fairly nervous about accidentally taking a tumble down the mountain. My legs were getting shaky, I was getting pretty dang tired, but eventually we made it to the ridge and sat down on some big rocks for a snack. After resting, we gingerly descended the steep out of bounds area, and I was very glad to be back on the game trail and then back to something that resembled an actual trail.

Island Park Camping, October 3 – 5, 2020

After getting home from Bonneville, another friend of mine was like “k, time to go Island Park camping, you ready?” and I was like “OH LAWD HAMMERCY.” But of course I agreed, and soon we were all packed up and driving north. This turned out to be a relaxing and badly needed vacation for both of us. We set up camp at the Riverside campground, which was free since it was so late in the year. Drinking beer around the campfire, making meals with a Jetboil and self-heating meals, walking down to Henry’s Fork; it was beautiful and relaxing. The next couple of days we did some sight-seeing at Mesa Falls, Big Springs, and did some lazy wandering around the town of West Yellowstone. Oh, and breakfast and a bloody Mary at Angler’s Lodge to top it all off. Perfection.

City Creek Hike, October 18, 2020

If you are looking for a broad variety of scenery and terrain, this is the 12 mile hike for you! Glad my friend was with me for this hike, since he knows the area much better than I. We parked at the City Creek parking lot at the top of Lincoln Ave., and started walking along the main road. Then my friend led us off on a trail to the right, then off into the forest on a trail to the left (I believe this is called “The Grove.”) This area is a magical place with aspen trees, colorful leaves decorating the forest floor, and I was expecting to see fairies and unicorns. That trail eventually led back to a broader trail, which then led out into the open and then to a dark, pine forest. At this point I felt like I was a lost hobbit, but then I recognized the pathways up to Kinport Peak after exiting the forested area. After ascending a bit towards Kinport my friend suggested we take a detour towards a trail that led down a ravine, but I insisted we follow a wider trail up to Kinport that looked more well-used. I probably should have followed my friend’s advice especially since he knew how long and steep the trail was that I was suggesting. The winds that day in town were around 20 mph, but up on that west-facing ridge trail, the wind was insane. The gusts felt about 50 mph and nearly knocked us off the trail a couple times. Pretty crazy feeling to be walking along a ridge, getting exhausted, on a dirt trail with no cover with wind slamming you from the right. My friend, at one point, sat down and said “wow, I’m so done.” After trudging along, he recognized a game trail that led around the south side of Kinport, which then led back to the main Kinport trail leading home, which was a very welcome sight at that point. We then hiked down the section known as Upper City Creek Trail, which I am not sure if I’ve ever hiked, or at least not for many years. After hiking down a rocky gut, we entered into a beautiful place of aspens and ferns, with the creek trickling near the trail. It was at this point that my friend caught his second wind and was feeling great, while my legs were beginning to feel like I needed a wheelchair. I was so glad to see the parking lot! But wow, I want to do that hike again! Maybe minus the barren, windy, steep-ass ridge from hell. :-D

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