|Peak 8808 to the left of center|
We took off a little after 8:30 for a "mellow" hike to Twenty Mile Lakes east of Upper Payette Lake, but someone forgot to tell Richard this. He was cruising for the first 2-3 miles, no stopping or waiting for the slow poke Fadgen's. This first portion of the trail gained little elevation as we meandered through the thick forest with Bear Grass in bloom.
Soon we reached a junction, where the Twenty Mile Lake trail started up a steep slope with many switchbacks. Here, I passed Richard and took the lead as he started to show his 83 years. Once past the steep slope, the gradually rising trail entered an old burn (1994), but amongst the widow makers the Bear Grass stood proud.
As I turned to take pictures I noticed that I couldn't shake Richard, nor could Tamara or John. Oh, to be 83!
In a few hours, and another steep climb, we had reached the first of the Twenty Mile lakes - North Lake. Here Tamara and Richard decided to take the two dogs (Shadow and Dieken) for a tour of the four lakes while John and I shot up to Peak 8808 for a quick summit bid.
Leaving my wife with the speed demon, John and I crossed the outlet of Long Lake and skirted a steep headwall to gain a little cirque. We scampered up the cirque trying to stay off of the loose rocks as much as possible and quickly gained the ridge. While gasping for air we both commented that we should stop trying to keep up with one another and slow down some. I really think that we were still trying to keep up with Richard.
The ridge provided some great views:
|North and South Loon|
We quickly snapped some photos and started debating heading down the east ridge, though it looked like it could be fun, we had to meet up with Tamara and Richard and this would prolong that event. So, we traversed back the way we had come.
|The tangled mess of the East Ridge|
Once back at the saddle, we received a radio call that the other two were on the main trail and heading back to the vehicles. We quickly down climbed through the cirque and headwall back to North Lake. It had taken us 2.5 hours to summit and return and Richard and Tamara were now 45 minutes ahead of us. John put the afterburners on as I tried to follow in his wake.
We finally caught up with Richard and Tamara as they were resting at the train junction below the first steep section at 4PM. I was pooped, and we still had 3 miles to go. We struggled to keep up with Richard as he set a fast pace back to the car, which we finally reached at 5PM.
Ahh, to be 83! All kidding aside, this young man can really hike!
Distance - 13.5 to 15 miles depending on who's counting
Time: 8.5 hours
Elevation: Tamara and Richard - something like 2600 feet,. John and John - close to 4000 feet.