Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Peak 5108' Kayak/Hike

It has been two years since I "kayak hiked" anything, so I decided to use Memorial Day to revisit this enjoyable approach to hiking.  I selected obscure Peak 5108' near the tail of Arrowrock Reservoir.  After sleeping in and then driving the windy, bumpy road along the reservoir, I reached the first available launch point just after noon.  After pumping up the kayak and lugging it to the shore, I was on the water just after 12:30.  Because this is near the tail of the reservoir, the kayak portion of the hike was very short (no more than 5 minutes each way).

Once across, I put on my shoes, stashed the kayak, and began the very steep hike up to the peak.  The hike up was very direct and unrelenting, crossing open slopes dotted with numerous wildflowers.  After about 90 minutes of what seemed like stair climbing, I reached the flat, brushy summit and walked around a bit looking for the high point in the brush.  Despite the summit's lameness, there was no prior sign of summit visitation, which is unusual for a peak so close to Boise!

The peak has a great view of Arrowrock Reservoir and decent views of the surrounding area.  After spending some time relaxing and refueling, I retraced my steps back to the shoreline and then across the reservoir.  Another fun, short kayak hike!

Peak 5108' Kayak/Hike Pictures
Trip statistics:  0.3 miles kayaked (10 min), 2.25 miles hiked, 1900' gain, 2.5h

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Idahosummits Spring 2012 Climb

For the first time in two years, I attended an group climb.  I missed the previous three due to being out of town, too busy at work, and being a brand new father.  This time, everything fell in place for a great outing.  The destination was Peak 10027 in the Sawtooths.  In order to take care of some things around the house Friday evening, I opted to drive up Saturday morning.  I met John and Bob at 3:30am and we were soon on our way.  The vehicle conversation was great and before we knew it we were at the Decker Flat camping area along the Salmon River.  Here we met 13 happy campers getting ready for a fun day in the mountains!

After spending a little while in the 19° temperatures meeting people, we soon headed out to the Cabin Creek Trailhead near Alturas Lake.  Due to snow drifts, we parked about 100 yards shy of the trailhead. We were soon on our way led by John, who had climbed this route before.  Our large group (15 people on the trail, plus one more staying at the trailhead) made good time heading up the trail, then cross country to frozen Lake 8920+.  From here we split up to ascend the peak in different ways, but most of us took the "easy" route to a saddle and then up to the summit ridge.  We had a direct ascent to the summit, soon taking in the incredible views of the southern Sawtooths in shockingly warm and clear May weather!  The views were amazing and we spent quite a bit of time enjoying each other's company (there were a total of 15 of us on the summit!) and the spectacular Sawtooth scenery.

Five of us (myself, Matt, Andrew, Jacob, and Nathan) opted to traverse to nearby McDonald Peak, so we left the rest of the group and headed over.  The others headed straight for the trailhead while we made the traverse and soon enjoyed a similar summit experience from the slightly higher terrain of McDonald Peak.  This took a little longer than expected and we finished with a long (but very pleasant) hike back to the trailhead.  It is worth mentioning that aside from the perfect weather, the snow conditions were also perfect and I never needed snowshoes or crampons at any point during the day - even the soft afternoon snow supported our boots very well!

By the time we arrived at the vehicle, most everyone else had already left.  After saying goodbye to Nathan, Andrew, Matt, and Russ, we dropped Jacob off at the campground before the three of us headed back to Boise.  In short this was an awesome trip with great people, great weather, and great snow conditions - basically a perfect trip!

Idahosummits Spring 2012 Climb Pictures!
GPS Track

Dan's Trip Report
John's Trip Report
Oleg's Pictures
Jacob's Pictures
Geo's Pictures
Idahosummits Forum Thread

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Peak 6526' and Peak 6336' Hike

To properly enjoy the great Spring weather we've been having, I went hiking in the Boise Mountains near Arrowrock Reservoir.  The destination was Peak 6526' and Peak 6336', two little-known and seldom hiked peaks to the east of Mt Heinen.

I started from the Cottonwood Creek Trailhead off of FS-377.  I headed straight up the trail, following Cottonwood Creek through surprisingly un-scenic terrain (thanks to past fires and the abundance of willows and chaparral).  The trail starts off with a nice tread, complete with bridges across the rushing creek.  After a mile or two, the trail deteriorates and you're on your own for crossing the creek.  With the creek running high, I was forced to take off my boots at one point in order to cross.  A couple of other washed out sections had to be carefully bypassed.  I followed the trail up to elevation 5350', where I found a nice log to use for crossing.  From here, I headed straight up to Peak 6526'.  While direct, this route was marred by occasional thick brush and blowdowns.  Soon I was on the summit, which looked very pristine except for the nicely cut stump right on the summit.  At least the stump made for good sittin'!  This peak offered good views of Thorn Creek Butte, a rarity in the lower Boise Mountains.

From this summit I followed the ridge over to Peak 6336'.  This ridge is easy to follow but also features sections of annoying brush and deadfall.  Soon I was atop Peak 6336' which featured similar views to its neighbor but with better visibility to Arrowrock Reservoir.  After a brief summit break I decided to follow the ridge directly down to the trailhead rather than go back to Cottonwood Creek.  Worried about possible brush battles, I headed down anyway.  Initially the the brush was an issue but as I approached Point 5774' I found a very nice trail.  This trail was at least as good as the actual Cottonwood Creek Trail and leads directly to the trailhead!

In short, this was a mostly enjoyable hike that feels very remote despite only being about an hour from Boise.  The direct trail to Peak 6336' is highly recommended - the key is to take the (unmarked, but obvious) trail to the right of the official trailhead which proceeds straight ahead and uphill.  The official trail (which I used to ascend) instead heads left to meet up with Cottonwood Creek.

Peak 6526' and Peak 6336' Hike Pictures!
Trip statistics: 11 miles, 3650' gain, 5.25 hours

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Claire May Day Update

Claire has had a busy April growing, eating more food, and enjoying the nicer weather.  Here are some picture and video evidence of this.  Enjoy!

Claire May Day Pictures!
Claire Eating Banana Video Part 1
Claire Eating Banana Video Part 2
Claire Jumparoo Video