Buckhorn Lakes Expedition, Episode 4, Payette National Forest, Idaho

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I was up again in the middle of the night but with the lake angle to the moon I was unable to even attempt a lunar photograph. However, the lake and mountainside was awash in moonlight!

The next morning, sunshine on the mountain!

There were a couple logs floating on the lake, good thing as it is hard to tell where the reflection ends and where the mountain begins.

This is the same exact photograph turned 90 degrees….artsie!!! Which side is the reflection? A friend of mine taught me this trick a couple years ago! Abstract art!

We were soon headed off to bag our first peak of the day, Bear Paw Peak. Tom is sitting on the summit rock. This peak was right above our lake and required about a 1200 foot climb on fairly steep hillside.

A beautiful morning with amazing views!

We were soon on to our next peak of the day, Rainbow Peak which is the one on the right. (If you look carefully, you can see John down slope.) The one in the middle and slightly behind Rainbow Peak is Nick Peak. We had hoped to bag it as well but the decent off Rainbow turned out to be quite technical and we found out later was a bridge too far!

Another image of Rainbow Peak and Nick Peak with Tom, Ruby and John below on the ridge.

After a tough accent of Rainbow Peak, I caught Tom and John in a summit hug. Nick Peak is in the background. Summit hugs are a tradition for us. Seems a little weird at first to hug your stinky, sweaty climbing partner but its a tribute to the moment, the place, the difficulty of the climb and a shared appreciation of each other and nature. Join us on a peak sometime and you will get it.

Looking down on Rainbow Lakes. Our next stop is Nick Lake which is off this image to the left. Our camp at Buckhorn Lakes is off the image to our right. Our route will take us down to Nick Lake, back over the ridge on the left to Rainbow Lakes, around the far end of the far Rainbow Lake, around the ridge to the right of the far Rainbow Lake and back to camp. We did see a mountain goat near the top of this peak but he ran off long before I could grab my camera.

After a tough, technical decent off Rainbow Peak, we arrived at Nick Lake which is a huge and extremely remote lake. After a good long break and the final decision not to climb Nick Peak (an effort which would have added at least 2 hours to our trip) we headed back towards camp.

The climb out of Nick Lake was quite challenging! Lots of rock bands, snow, brush, and dead ends.

Upper Rainbow Lake looking back at Rainbow Peak.

We reached the outlet of Lower Rainbow Lake and took another break. We were now well into day three of our expedition and feeling pretty tired. Even Ruby needed a rest! I did a little fishing during the break and notice that John is filtering some water. We carry a water filter on these long treks to minimize the amount of weight we are hauling up the mountains.

A view traversing back to our camp.

Back at camp we relaxed and did a little fishing.

Come back tomorrow for the conclusion of the Buckhorn Lakes Expedition!

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