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Friday, October 18, 2019

Weekly Post, "Late Fall High in the Sawtooths" by Robert Glenn Ketchum

Late Fall High in the Sawtooths
by Robert Glenn Ketchum



My partner, Vicki Golden, and I, have come to love backpacking in late fall. Although we risk getting snowed upon, most of the bugs, and virtually all of the people are gone. This is our last camping trip together, and the last time I ever camped in the Sawtooths. This is a short blog to say goodbye to both.  
~Robert Glenn Ketchum




Friday, October 18, 2019

High in the Sawtooths, #6:
Sawtooths #6:  Wowser! My partner, Vicki Golden (last post), and I, have established a late fall campsite in the Twin Lakes basin of the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho. After a nice dinner, we are now agog over a late evening light show that has set the steep granite walls and pinnacles around us on fire with golden light. I have taken a walk around the lake, and now that I am back at camp, we are both sitting on a big rock, snacking and cawing. Caw! Caw! Caw! Unfortunately for me (or maybe not), my drive to be the photographer of the moment, finds me hopping up periodically to run somewhere for another shot. This one above, is a 5-Caw! Clearly this is one of the most beautiful lake systems, and evenings we have ever experienced. As it is our last trip before returning to my home/studio in Los Angeles, the gods have smiled upon us for being willing to try a backpack this late in the season. Not only do the colder nights suppress the bug population, but apparently, they have also driven hikers and campers away, as we are the only ones here. Oh yes, my dog, Belle Star, appreciates that, but she (and we) appreciate that it also makes the trout hungrier, so life is good at 8,800ft., and dinner is delicious. What will tomorrow bring? Another day like this, or perhaps, more expectedly, a fall storm. Stay tuned to find out.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Friday, October 11, 2019

High in the Sawtooths, #5:
Sawtooths #5:  My partner, Vicki Golden, and I have decided to do one last late fall backpack into the Baron Lakes basin of the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho. Our day began with overcast skies, but by the time we reach the lakes and set up our camp, the skies begin to clear, and the basin is awash with the golden light of late evening. After dinner, the spectacle is too great to resist, so I grab my cameras, and begin to explore the shoreline, taking advantage of both the light, and the remarkable reflections in the nearly ripple-free water. Vicki stays in camp, ostensibly to go fishing, but the light show and reflections are so compelling, she lays down her rod (lower left), not wanting to disturb the water, and just enjoys the view. Periodically, in my circumnavigation of the lakeshore, I can hear her voice drift across the water through the crystal clear air, uttering exclamations of her amazement. Me, too! It is a fantastic late evening in this basin, made even more so, because another blessing of this late fall trip, is that the increasingly colder nights are really suppressing the insect population, and we are both enjoying not having wear headnets, or seek refuge in our tent. When I finally circle back to camp, this is what greets me. Does she look like she is having fun? AND, although we don’t know this yet,..it is only going to get better.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Friday, October 4, 2019

High in the Sawtooths, #4:
Sawtooths #4:  My partner, Vicki Golden, and I, have just struck gold, visually. Before returning to my home/studio in Los Angeles, after a summer of backpacking in the Wind River Range of Wyoming, we drive to Sun Valley, Idaho, to find good weather and peak fall, so we decide to due one last, short, alpine camp adventure in the Sawtooths. We have chosen to come up into the Twin Lakes basin, because on the topographic maps, it looks like the lakes are in a spectacular setting, surrounded by some significant peaks and granite spires. Our hike in has taken a good part of the day, but once we arrive, we realize it is WAY more than we expected. With camp set up, offering a VERY scenic view out the front of our tent, we munch some snacks, watching the basin light up radiantly, as the sun gets beneath the clouds of the overcast day. The golden glow on the granite terrace gardens and surrounding walls is stunning, and Vicki and I are pretty excited about our good fortune. These are good-sized lakes, encircled by meadow-covered peninsulas, and tonight the waters are mirror-like. I was planning on some fishing, but the late light show is not to be missed, so I grab my gear and take a tour. In virtually any direction I look, it just gets better and better. Vicki has chosen to sit on a rock at the lakeshore near our camp, to just watch the light show, and as I move around taking pictures, I periodically hear her say things like, “Oh my God!”, and “Can you f%*#ing believe this? I do,..and we ARE HERE!

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Friday, September 27, 2019

High in the Sawtooths, #3:
Sawtooths #3:  My longtime partner and backpacking companion, Vicki Golden, and I, are attempting one last late fall hike/camp, and we have decided to do it in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho. Fall colors are at peak, insects have nearly vanished, and there are no other hikers on the trail, or in the Twin Lakes basin, when we arrive. The basin is surrounded by numerous impressive granite spires and summits, all of which are decorated with granite garden terraces, and a profusion of spectacular limber pine. This is one of the most beautiful settings in which we have ever camped. As evening comes on, the late light gets beneath the clouds overhead, and sets our basin aglow. It is also a night without any breeze, so the surface of the lakes are mirror-like. With our tent up, and snacks abounding, my dog, Belle Star, is romping through the meadows, glad to have her pack off, and although I planned to go fishing, the setting is beyond beautiful, so I grab my cameras instead, and go for a very “trippy” walk-about.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Friday, September 20, 2019

High in the Sawtooths, #2:
Sawtooths #2:  My partner and longtime backpacking companion, Vicki Golden, and I have decided to due one last, short, late fall camping trip into the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho. We have decided to start from the campground at Petit Lake, that leads to Alice Lake, and on beyond to the Twin Lakes basin. At the eastern end of Petit, the trail begins to rise more steeply, finally going rather directly up some switchbacks. We are not in any hurry, as there are a number of bridgeless stream crossings, and a lot of fall color, so after 5-1/2 miles, we arrive at Alice, and stop to have lunch. Alice Lake is 8,600+ ft. in elevation, and this late in the fall, with an overcast sky, it is cool but not uncomfortable. The decreasing insect population is also notable. The Twin Lakes basin is only about 300ft. above us, but the trail meanders quite a bit, so it is late afternoon when we finally arrive there. The lakes are in a dramatic basin, surrounded by Sawtooth spires and summits in every direction. The lakes also have large meadows and lots of trees, many of which are wind-sculpted limber pine, decorating granite ledges. After our years of previous backpacks, we know a great thing when we see it, and this is the place. There is no problem finding a scenically situated tent site, and by the time we establish camp, the late light of evening has crept under the cloud cover, and is radiantly illuminating our basin, drenched with fall color. At the moment, it is also dead-calm, and the lake is a PERFECT mirror, so I am having some fun with that.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Friday, September 13, 2019

High in the Sawtooths, #1:
Sawtooths #1:  My longtime backpacking partner, Vicki Golden, and I, have just completed a late fall trip into the Wind River Range of Wyoming, where we were joined by my DFC&FC friend, Gordon Williams, and his friend Polly. This was a 4-day trip, and we were snowed upon twice, but we had a wonderful time. After this adventure, we all return to Ketchum-Sun Valley, Idaho, where Gordon and Polly reside. When we arrive, it is notable that it has not yet snowed on the mountains around us, and that fall is peaking. Gordon and Polly must return to their working week, and Vicki and I are do to return to my studio/home in Los Angeles, BUT the weather is good, the colors are great, so I suggest she and I do one more short trip before we leave. Over several years I have done numerous trips with the DFC&FC into the Boulder and Pioneer Mountains, nearby, but it has been a long time since I was last in the Sawtooths, thus we decide to head there. In case it does snow, I don’t want my car trapped on a bad dirt road in the backcountry, so we go to Petit Lake, a gateway into the Sawtooths, connected directly to the highway. Our DFC&FC friend, Joe Saviers, has a cabin here, we have visited many times, and used as a winter ski-tour base camp - see posts #52-61 of this linked blog. Joe is not around at this point in the season, as Petit is most popular in the summer. In fact, almost no one is around. However, there is a campground at the eastern end of the lake, and from there several trailheads begin, so it is now time to park, and hoist our backpacks. We are going to follow the trail around Petit Lake, towards Alice Lake, and then beyond (and higher), up into the Twin Lakes basin. Our day starts off cloudy, looking like it might rain, but it does not. From Petit, the trail rises gradually from the west end of the lake, into a canyon with some steep walls on the west side, a section of which we have previously skied.Then, we encounter the much steeper switchbacks, taking us up the first tier of our hike, and into the Alice Lake basin above 8,500ft. The walk to Alice is about 5-1/2-miles, with several bridgeless stream crossings along the way, AND a lot of fall color.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

Follow Robert Glenn Ketchum's Photographic Activism Online:
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: @LittleBearProd

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