Middle Fork Lake and Buckhorn Mountain Lake (Day One), Payette National Forest, Idaho

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As my regular blog followers know, its been a bit since my last backpacking trip so a quick call to John along with some light arm twisting and we were off! After some negotiation, we selected Middle Fork Lake as a camping destination followed by some exploration. The first challenge today was a high wire act over the East Fork of the Lake Fork Creek……Ruby and I chose the slightly safer water crossing.

After a goodly amount of off trail hiking up the canyon, the views of Upper Middle Fork drainage started coming in view. To be exact, the creek in this drainage is named Middle Fork of the East Fork of the Lake Fork Creek.

The fall colors in the upper basin were spectacular! Here, Ruby is pointing out our route. Our destination lake for today sits in the basin under the notch. Our hike takes us up and over the saddle with the steep and colorful vegetation just above and to the right of Ruby.

A closer look at the chute. At this point, we had been hiking for about 4 hours and that chute is much steeper than the camera shows. Off to the right is the rest of the upper basin..BEAUTIFUL!

Finally, Middle Fork Lake. Most lakes in this area have at least some sign of human visitation…..this one did not!

John settled in with a book.

Ruby and I went to work on some photography!

Middle Fork Lake, notice John and the tent in the first photo.

A short hike later, we were looking down into the Upper Middle Fork Basin.

A shot down the valley from which we just hiked.

Finally, one last shot of the lake with Gunsight Notch above. This is a distinct feature which from the right angle can me seen from many miles away. Check out the seventh photo in this blog post from a Crystal Lake hike where you can see the Gunsight Notch from a long distance. Tomorrow, we are hiking up and over the Gunsight Notch into the nearby Buckhorn Mountain Lake.

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