Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho - Hiking

Jake and I passed through the Sun Valley and Stanley, ID area on the way to Loon Creek two years ago.  We were both surprised how amazingly beautiful the Sawtooth Mountains were, and what a fun town Stanley seemed to be.  Unfortunately, we were short on time and our stay in Stanley was very brief.  Last year, we discovered that Stanley holds an annual music festival and we decided to make it a point to visit the Sawtooths in 2011 for the festival and some backpacking.

We left Salt Lake on Thursday evening for the 6 hour drive up to central Idaho.  Because we'd be arriving late, we made a camping reservation just outside the town of Ketchum at the Easley Campground.  The camping spot was adequate and apparently there were some hot springs at the campground, but we arrived too late and left too early to check them out.

We spent Friday in the town of Ketchun, ID enjoying a great breakfast and coffee, doing some shopping, and picking up some last minute supplies for the music festival.  Ketchum reminds me a lot of Park City, UT and it definitely caters to the Sun Valley crowd.

Jake at the Easley Campground near Ketchum, ID

Ketchum, ID

Art in Ketchum, ID

We drove up to Stanley, ID from Ketchum later in the day of Friday to get our camping spot for the Sawtooth Music Festival.  The festival is held in a large field above the small town of Stanley.  The camping is in pretty close quarters and it's not the nicest place I've ever camped, but the views of Stanley and the Sawtooth Range and phenomenal and it was easy access to the music stage.  Bands played on Friday night and Saturday evening.  We met up with Zach, his sister Emily, and Emily's friends Friday evening and enjoyed a great night of music and tasty beverages.  A horrific lightning storm moved in on Saturday night and unfortunately shut the festival down, but the lightning gave us quite show!

Jake and Emily making bingo cards

Our festival group festivalling

Sawtooth Music Festival

More Than Lights performing at Sawtooth Music Festival

Sawtooth Music Festival

View from the Sawtooth Music Festival

Stormy sunset over the Sawtooths

Due to the thunderstorm on Saturday night and the threat for more stormy weather, Jake and I cancelled our backpacking plans and decided to camp down in the lowers elevations and do day hikes from our camp spot.  We camped at Iron Creek and spent the rest of Monday hiking around Redfish Lake, a popular lake in the Stanley area.  Our hike around Redfish lake was, of course, cut short by another thunderstorm.

On Monday we hiked to Sawtooth Lake, which was one of our destinations on our planned backpacking trip.  This was definitely a highlight of the trip - the views from the trail were beautiful all the way to the lake and Sawtooth Lake was absolutely stunning.

Morning in the Sawtooths

Hiking to Sawtooth Lake

Alpine Lake on the way up to Sawtooth Lake

Hiking to Sawtooth Lake

 Still a lot of snow near Sawtooth Lake

 Sawtooth Lake

 Hanging at Sawtooth Lake

Sawtooth Lake