Crystal Lake – Clair Peak, Payette National Forest, Idaho

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Today, Craig, Tom, Ruby, Dakota and I went out reliving a trip John and I did about this same time last year, see that report here and here. It was almost exactly the same time of year and wow what a difference in conditions.

After a dry February and March, the rains of April started and have not yet stopped.

As a result of the cool conditions the high country snow is still very deep.

Luckily, Ruby has done this hike many times and knows the way.

I love this image!!! Tommy doing what Tommy does!!!! His spirit animal is not the Mountain Goat for nothing!!!!

At the top of the Crystal Lake Saddle we stopped for a moment and took it all in. We planned one of our late summer trips which will include taking us through the gun site notch (center screen). Something John and I did last summer, you can see that here, here, and here.

An image of this snag at Crystal Lake is mandatory and something I have taken every year for a long time.

Last year the lake was completely thawed, this year, completely frozen! After a rest, we will assault Clair Peak above the lake.

Craig and Tom take a moment after lunch to soak in the warm June sunshine.

On our way up to the peak, we passed the same small pond John and I passed last year. It looks much different.

After the pond, things get pretty steep.

At the top, Tom takes a moment to soak it in. Nothing like standing on top of a peak after hours of hard work.

Below, a look up the East Fork Drainage and in the distance Lick Creek Saddle and Hum Saddle. Today, we had parked just off the nose of the snow covered ridge in the middle at the bottom of the canyon. Snow covered the road there and it wasn’t opened much further. Also notice Crystal Lake at the bottom of the image.

Ruby loves the snow!!!

She settles into the snow near the top of the peak. This dog has summited hundreds of peaks and knows just what to do at the top!

Craig and Dakota sneak up to the edge for a view of Crystal Lake.

Looking the other way down at Lake Payette.

Time to decent into the Fall Creek Drainage and back to the car.

Ruby and Dakota take a rest while waiting for the old men to catch up.

A final image of Platt Peak and the Golden Lake Drainage. Notice the stream of water pouring down the canyon wall.

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