Buckhorn Lakes, Episode 3, Payette National Forest Idaho

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On the morning of day 2, we packed up our camp and started heading to our next base camp. Along the way we will bag Idler Peak which is just above our lake. Our pervious camp was just on the right side of this Idler Lake. This is just one of about 4 Idler Lakes.

An image looking back up the other direction with a cool snag. Idler Peak is up over this ridge.

We went over the shoulder of Idler Peak, dropped our heavy backpacks, dawned our summit packs and proceeded up the snow field to the summit.

Photography doesn’t give you the sense of elevation and steepness. With the morning cool temperatures, the snow is hard and with one slip and you might have a couple hundred foot slide on your ass. Each step requires a hard kick to make a step in the snow.

We have a saying here, don’t eat the yellow snow or the red snow! These red streaks are a form of algae and sometimes call watermelon snow. The red snow is common this time of year as the temperatures and sun warms in the high country snow packs. You can just make out the summit on the left center of the image. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watermelon_snow

We finally hit the ridge and approached the summit. Notice the trees on the right side which are highly distorted due to the frequent winds. Today, not much wind!

Views from the top are amazing!

There is McCall, down on the lake. A quick google distance measurement showed it is about 9.5 miles from this peak to downtown McCall. Two totally different worlds! Up here, we did not see one other person for 4 days, down there, bedlam!

Back down Idler Peak, we grab our backpacks and head for the saddle just off John’s left shoulder. Mostly a flat traverse but still tricky in the snow. Take notice of the ripples in the snow. These are know as sun cups. They are common in these summer snow packs as the sun melts them out. The elevation here was around 8100 feet.

We arrive at Upper Buckhorn Lake and set up our new base camp. Here we will spend the next two nights and day hike to several peaks and other lakes. This lake is several hundred feet lower than our last camp and on a south facing slope, therefore, no ice or snow…. mostly!

After setting up camp, we began our first day outing and accent of the second peak of the day which we dubbed Lady Finger. The name, a tribute to a local legend. Along the way, we passed the Lower Buckhorn Lake, a much larger body of water.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of the accent as it was quite steep and challenging. A little difficult to pull out the camera when you are fully concentrated on clinging to the side of a mountain!!! Although a fairly non-descript peak in this range, it turned out to be a challenge. Challenge accepted and here is an image from the top!!!

After the exhausting climb, it was back to camp, dinner, and rest! More to come, stay tuned!

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