One great thing about living in Boise, Idaho, is that the Sawtooth Mountains are in your backyard. We took the whole family to Little Redfish Lake (5 miles south of Stanley and about a mile downstream from much larger Redfish Lake) for a weekend of hiking.
Both lakes were named for the sockeye salmon that return here to spawn in the fall. On the verge of local extinction (extirpation) twenty years ago, sockeye swim 900 miles from the Pacific Ocean, gaining 6500 vertical feet and navigating the fish ladders at 8 major dams. In 1992, only one sockeye returned to spawn in Redfish Lake. They named him Lonesome Larry. Read his story here.
We camped at Little Redfish Lake campground.
The kids enjoyed the campfire,
the dutch oven blueberry cobbler,
and hiking along Redfish Lake.
But the best part for me was the hike to Alice Lake, nestled in an alpine cirque high above Redfish Lake.
My brother-in-law and sister made the trek along with Larry and myself. We hoped to find trout in Alice lake.
The trail follows a classic U-shaped glacial valley, winding 5.5 miles with an elevation gain of 1600 feet.
Alice Lake (elevation 8602′) was beautiful. But it turned cold and snowed, so the guys stashed the fishing rods and we headed back to camp.
Alice Lake is one of my all-time favorite spots. Too bad about the weather killing the fishing. I’ve had some great brook trout fishing in Pettit Lake… I wonder what might lurk in Alice.
Let me know when you find out, Bob. The cold weather may not have killed the fishing, but it certainly killed the desire to fish. 20 minutes in the blowing snow with no action was enough for me.
Yellow Belly Lake. A bucket list destination.
Tell us more about “the cowboy” trailer and the little dog in the picture.
The trailer belongs to my daughter and her husband. They named it the Cowboy and have been fixing it up. It’s quite comfy. The little dog, One-Eyed Jack, is also theirs. He’s a shih tzu mix adopted from the shelter. He was previously owned by an elderly woman who didn’t take such great care of her animals. He had a raging infection that resulted in the loss of his right eye. He’s more like a cat, really–never makes a peep and keeps out of the way.
I followed Lonesome Larry’s link. What a story and well told (i.e. “unique to his anadromous sensibilities”). NOAA reports that 10,000 Redfish Sockeye can now be at attributed to the 16 surviving native fish that remained in the run in the 1990’s.
Thanks for the info. It is an amazing (and sad) story. The sockeye return count at Redfish Lake in September 2014 was over 1400. This year, only 39 fish made it back due to low warm water throughout the Columbia River basin. [http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/?getPage=29]
Very nice blog. The pictures were fantastic.