Monday, May 11, 2009

Two Peaks, One Weekend

The weather in Boise has finally turned nice with highs in the 70s, lows in the 40s, and lots of daylight. Dan suggested we go for a hike on Saturday. We were constrained to an afternoon hike due to commitments with his daughter's softball team. We met at the softball field just before 1pm and headed out. Destination: Slacks Mountain in the Owyhees. Neither one of us were sure what to expect since we hadn't been to the area before. Of course the standard concerns apply in the Owyhees: ATVs, dirt bikes, private property, armed patrols, mining, overgrazing, etc.

On the way up we nearly collided with an out-of-control ATV before meeting with an Owyhee County Sheriff's Deputy who explained that the road over New York Summit was snowbound but we could get to within a mile or so of it. Perfect! We can get close enough to the peak without having lots of ATV through traffic in the area. Of course, the ATVs were still all over the place despite the snow situation.

We parked where the road became snowbound and started hiking at about 2:45pm. The going was easy and we enjoyed this surprisingly wet and forested area of the Owyhees. We made it to the summit around 5:30pm and enjoyed the expansive views of the Owyhees. It was actually quiet up there - always a pleasant surprise in this area! We soon headed back down at made it to the car just before 8pm. Due to the time, we scrapped our plan to make a quick ascent of nearby Bald Mountain.

On Sunday I decided to use the kayak again and ascend Grape Mountain. While unloading the kayak, I noticed a hole in the rubber outer hull. This was likely caused by having to drag it up 100' of rocky beach last time due to low water. I figured I might as well press on, so I got everything together and hit the water. Of course it became apparent immediately that things were not going well. The kayak was steering terribly, my bum was wet, and there was quickly a half inch or so of water in the bottom of the interior. As the melody from that Gordon Lightfoot song started to go through my head, I decided to turn around. While deflating the kayak, I managed to suck sand into the air pump which disabled it and of course added insult to injury. Despite this humiliating defeat, the kayak will be repaired and I will be back!

I couldn't simply go home after this fiasco; I had to bag a peak. I chose Shaw Mountain, a peak which was on the way home and not too big of a hike. Being a Grand Slam Peak, it was on my list for a Spring ascent anyway. It was also the first Idaho peak I climbed in May 2001 and therefore a sentimental favorite. I climbed from the Highland Valley Road and made an uneventful ascent up the road to the summit. This peak is best climbed before May 1st though because after that the road is open to vehicles, of which I saw quite a few. I always enjoy the view of Boise from this peak despite the typical haze.

Slacks Mountain Pictures! (Dan's Trip Report)
Shaw Mountain Pictures!

Trip stats:
Slacks Mountain: 10 miles, 2000' gain, 5 hours
Shaw Mountain: 10.6 miles, 2500' gain, 3.5 hours


MomV said...

Dan had on shorts and there was snow?? You need to do an equipment check before you leave the house:)

SusanR said...

Wow!! I'm glad you didn't sink like the ship in the Lightfood song. We'd miss you!! Susan

SusanR said...

I meant Lightfoot not food, you can see where my mind is. The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald was one of Fred's favorites and he had two Lightfoot albums back in the day.

zdv said...

In Dan's defense, it was pretty warm up there (probably in the 60s when we started). We brought snowshoes but didn't need them.

I don't think I would have sunk as I was wearing my life jacket. But if the kayak would have sunk it would have taken my camera, phone, wallet, keys, shoes, and pack down with it. It is a good song, which is why it occurred to me as I started taking on water!

Cathy said...

Where the heck is your patch kit for the kayak? Holes alway occur at the most inopportune moment. Like your Mom says -"do and equipment check BEFORE you leave."